In brief

  • Justin Sun started exercising control over the Steem blockchain.
  • The Steem community want to rid him of his power—by taking away his coins.
  • They've concocted an elaborate plan to build a new blockchain, one where Sun is not welcome.

What happens when a centralized force hits a decentralized blockchain? Chaos, that’s what.

Tron CEO Justin Sun recently acquired Steemit Inc., the company that developed Reddit-like forum Steemit, on the Steem blockchain. With it, he received a large chunk—an estimated 20%—of the total supply of Steem.

Tron CEO Justin Sun. Image: Tron.

The Steem community—which mostly use Steemit to communicate—wanted none of it. They orchestrated a plan to freeze Sun’s newly acquired coins in order to make sure they were used for the development of the network. Sun got wind of the plan and teamed up with major crypto exchanges, including Binance and Huobi, to take over the network and enforce his will upon the Steem blockchain, keeping his coins. He celebrated a victory over the “hackers.”

A Hive of dissent

The Steem community hopes to have the last laugh, however. A new plan has been concocted, which will essentially move Steem onto a new blockchain—one where Sun’s coins are worthless. A pseudonymous Steem stakeholder and crypto exchange, Blocktrades, has proposed the idea, called the new chain Hive.

“Before long, we will launch a new coin that is essentially a re-branded hardfork of Steem, airdropped on all Steemians, without airdropping to the Steemit stake. This new chain will maintain all our collected posts and our transaction info and will support all the same Dapps we’ve come to know and love,” Blocktrades wrote, on Steemit.

“I believe all the economic value will move to this new chain and the chain with Justin's stake will ultimately just die,” Blocktrades added.

We have reached out to Sun and will update this article if we hear back.

Blocktrades argued that the Steem community has 36 experienced developers, plus marketing people, business people, artists, and idealists—and claimed that several prominent Steem stakeholders have pledged computing resources and significant financial support for the project.

“Even at this early stage, I’m utterly convinced we have sufficient support to launch and develop this new blockchain,” Blocktrades wrote.

Will the Steem hard fork win out?

The big question is: does the Steem community agree?

Matt Rosen, Steem witness (someone who helps run the blockchain) and developer, told Decrypt, “On the one hand I don't think there has ever been a fork that ended up overtaking the original in value, but on the other hand i don't think there's ever been a situation where so much of the community around a blockchain/token has been so opposed to what is going on.”

“If the community is behind it then it has a very good chance. People are what's ultimately important, but it's going to be difficult,” he added.

The Steem community is fighting for its blockchain. Image: Shutterstock.

There have also been 700 comments on the post, with many respondents pledging support for the idea. “I support such a revolution and change. I will give my 100% to support the new chain with infrastructure and experience learned from being a witness and managing servers,” one wrote. Another simply posted an image with the word “FREEDOM.”

Whether it works or not, at least the revolution will be decentralized.