The Steem HardFork 20 launched at 11am EDT today and promptly prevented almost all users from doing any activities that interact with the blockchain. That’s right, you can’t post, comment, vote, power up, or even claim rewards. In the first 9 hours after HF20 was brought online, only 77 posts had been created.* That’s a far cry from the normal number a user might see.
The main problem is in the new resource allocation system that Steemit Inc developed for the new HardFork. In order to better allocate resources and “charge” those back to each account, they developed a new system called “Resource Credits” which is different than their old “Bandwidth” system. It seems that when HF20 launched, there was no code to instruct the system to start everyone off with a specific balance, or even with a zero balance. When the system launched, it assigned RCs used based on activity prior to HF20, but didn’t give credit for RCs earned. This lead to many users having large negative balances of Resource Credits. Some balances were as low as -50 quadrillion credits. No word on how many credits a user earns per day, but that sounds like it could take a while to recover.
Another issue is that some accounts that voted shortly before HF20 was implemented have found themselves with much lower Voting Power than expected. A user is only allocated so much voting power per day and it recharges slowly. For some larger accounts that had been managing their VP to stay higher suddenly find that the potential they had to give rewards has been removed. This can cost a user tens, even hundreds of dollars. Thus far, Steemit’s response has been to say the issue will be resolved within five days. In truth, this doesn’t mean it will be resolved, this means that the VP will have naturally recharged to maximum level at that point. However, it does nothing to correct the numbers in error, leaving some users out the money.
For an event that was supposed to set the groundwork for the next big things at Steem, this HardFork has been a disaster. Also consider that a week ago, the entire Steem blockchain locked up and prevented ALL actions, including viewing of old posts (which don’t require interacting with the blockchain). This foreshadowing should have been a warning for users that things wouldn’t go well, but it’s basically what we’ve come to expect from CEO Ned Scott and his team at Steemit Inc.
A lack of preparedness and testing have contributed greatly in both issues and the team at Steemit doesn’t seem to be learning or expanding fast enough to meet the requirements the project demands. Various improvements to the blockchain have been delayed multiple times, and the price has dropped along with the unmet expectations. While the price earlier this year was holding steadily in the $3.00+ range, it recently hit lows in the mid $0.60s.
Large changes and improvements such as “Hivemind,” a new system that was supposed to allow people within specific communities to find content more easily have been pushed back. The lauded Smart Media Tokens, or SMTs have been touted as the “next big thing” in crypto, but have yet to materialize. At this point, the earliest estimate for SMTs launching is in Q1 or Q2 of 2019. The SMTs which are equivilant to the Ethereum networks, ERC20 tokens could be a boon for Steem as it could encourage more money to pour into the token as people purchase and sell it as a bridge to their SMTs.
In what has been a frustrating day for users and discouraging day for investors, the blockchain is still at a halt. The longer these stoppages last, and the more frequently they occur, the more the users and investors will lose faith in Steem’s ability to deliver a robust system that can safely store users’ data and provide potential for future gains. As of right now… we’re still waiting.
*The figure does not include NSFW posts which are blocked by default
Cover Photo Source: Pexels