In brief

  • Hive, a hard fork of blockchain social network Steemit, has launched.
  • The community says new owner Justin Sun threatened decentralization.
  • Hive is compiling a blacklist of “tron puppets” barred from an upcoming airdrop.

Tired of slogging it out with the new owner of decentralized social media network Steemit, the community on Friday relaunched the site on its own blockchain network, Hive. 

But there's one key difference—one that could end the month-long war: Steemit's new owner, as well as his supporters, can’t move Steem tokens over to Hive. 

Steemit, essentially a decentralized Reddit, was acquired by blockchain network TRON in February. But many Steemit users didn’t trust their new owner, the flamboyant CEO of the TRON Foundation, Justin Sun.

When Sun bought Steemit, he was entitled to around $12 million worth of pre-mined tokens on the network—an estimated 20% of the total supply of Steem.

On Steem—the blockchain network that houses Steemit—token holders vote on proposals about how to upgrade the network. The richest users have the most influence.

The community was worried Sun would use those tokens to control the network, thereby undermining the platform’s democracy. So, a few weeks ago, they voted in favor of a soft fork that prevented Sun from using the tokens.

Sun was not happy. He called those who voted against him “malicious hackers,” who had violated the “sanctity of private property.”

Sun enlisted the help of crypto exchanges Binance, Huobi, and Poloniex, to take back control over the network. The exchanges are some of the richest (and most powerful) members on the network, since they can use their customers’ funds to vote on the network. With their help, Sun managed to unlock his money. 

Unsurprisingly, the Steemit community didn't like Sun’s decision to take over the network. They convinced Binance and Huobi to stop supporting Sun’s takeover

Since then, both Steemit’s community and Sun have been using their money to wrestle control over the network.

Old Grudges

But instead of fighting an arms race with Sun, who’s incredibly rich, some of Steemit’s members started work on a new platform, Hive. Hive is essentially the same platform, and Steem tokens can be swapped for Hive tokens

Well, not everyone can swap tokens: According to Hive’s blog: "The only accounts who will not be [able to swap their tokens] are those containing the Steemit Inc [pre-mined] stake, and those who actively contributed to (and publicly declared support for) the centralization of the Steem Blockchain.”

These members are listed on the “HIVE AirDrop Exclusion List”, which contains the nicknames of alleged “tron puppets” and “ninja miners.” 

Steemit has also been accused of censoring Hive-related content. Crypto blogger Girl Gone Crypto posted a video where she said that her “neutral explainer video” about the Hive’s launch was deleted from the platform.

“Centralization issues and censorship concerns are exactly why the Steem community is forking the chain and moving to Hive,” she said.