This might be a bit of a controversial post and I don't want it to cause people to invest/buy more than they can afford to lose (if it can be lost), etc, so please keep in mind that whatever I may say here is just my own opinion (and not fully technically correct, just from what I understand) that I stand by and work towards, it shouldn't be taken as a signal to do anything you weren't willing to do on your own before reading this, or own your own accord.
Also I usually really don't care about these disclaimers, I think we're past the point of trying to warn people and thinking these disclaimers will somehow hold up in court to not make you liable for having shilled some shit projects/nft's that many on Twitter seem to think. Figured I'd mention it here anyway since this post will be a bit different from my other ones.
Let's look at the basics of Hive and how it's evolved lately.
It's easy and cheap to set up a hive witness to help decentralize the network.
Decentralization comes in many shapes and forms, some Bitcoiners think that it can only work through mining, Ethereans used to think the same until they switched to proof of stake and over time we've seen a lot of mix and matches come up but no one being able to balance out the trifecta of blockchain requirements; scalability, security and decentralization. Some coins focus more on scalability; SOL has one of the fastest blockchains around but from what I've heard most block producers only keep part of the chain at any given time since it's already so big only big datacenters can manage to hold copies of it. This isn't great for security nor decentralization.
Shifting back focus to Hive and its DPOS protocol invented by @dan Larimer through Bitshares, this one had scalability, cheap to no fees but decentralization and security were an issue as we saw what occurred on Steem. That said, and what many think to this day, is that what happened to Steem reflects badly on Hive's security and decentralization today but what many fail to realize is that what occurred on Steem is one of the worst case scenarios that could've happened to DPOS and is something that's bound to occur on similar small/cheap chains where a lot of tokens are held up by a few keyholders (exchanges). If you boil it down, it wasn't just that some rich person bought a lot of coins to overtake the network with, he did so by buying from exchanges (price rose back then from 20c or so up to 80c (if I recall correctly)), by buying from the Steemit stake that most of us old-timers remember had annotations of how it was going to be used and how it definitely was not going to be used but was in this case. Most DPOS coins would here already have faltered and security would've gone bust, but due to the nature of Hive (Steem) and the way distribution of stake works (a majority of inflation goes to authors and curators, rest to block producers/vests(hp inflation)/DHF) the community bonded together to fight against these fake block producers that came from the single rich actor attempting to overtake governance. He was close to do so I admit, the downturn in price and many stakeholders being afk and remaining afk it took a while for the community to get everyone back on their keys to rally towards voting the important real witnesses to counter the fake ones, but that we did. The thing that happened next is so unprecedented that I hope is something to never occur again (but even if it did, we're in a better position to fight against it as mentioned later in this text), that the rich actor tricked 3 other exchanges and their owners to use their customers liquid funds to assist him in overtaking our governance. This is something that neither no one thought was possible, but in a perfect world they would've all been held liable for their actions. The good thing to come off this is that it made the reason and solution even stronger to bridge off the old chain and move over to Hive while unchaining ourselves from the centralized chains of Steemit's stake, bad actor's stake and anyone who also willingly colluded and assisted the bad actor in overthrowing governance. Since then Hive has worked on making this event that occurred, as impossible as it was to have occurred in the first place, even harder to be re-created by placing a month delay on governance votes so similar actions to vote in fake blockproducers, exchanges being in on it (or exchange hacks resulting in similar attempts, etc) or any other attempts that we can see coming through regular analytics by reading the public blockchain.
Ever since those events Hive has focused, with a big thanks to @blocktrades' team and other individuals, on scalability even more. It is now cheaper than ever before to host witness servers, full nodes and all kinds of things revolving Hive. Stake is still being distributed and account sizes are growing from all sizes to maintain governance and keep the chain decentralized. I know many have been questioning the way we distribute stake, i.e. the "mining" of new hive through posts, comments and curation but I personally believe we're still too early in Hive's and Crypto's life to decrease or switch it off so it can continue to strengthen decentralization and stake distribution. I get that many think a lot of stake is just being farmed so people can sell it on exchanges, and looking at the data and how much liquid Hive exists on exchanges I can't argue against that, I also can't argue against the selling itself, whether people need the Hive in their daily lives or think they're being smart by selling it for other coins, the fact remains that Hive is still one of the best distributed currencies out there allowing for easy ways to monetize your content, earn rewards for being social, participating in games, projects, layer 2's, etc. If I had a Bitcoin for every person that's mentioned how they mined bitcoin but sold it quickly after or how they heard about it and bought some but sold the next pump and never looked back, I reckon we'd hear a lot of similar stories of people who got in on Steem/Hive and ignored it or those who have been active all along but never built up any stake thinking they can do that later. That being said, the way stake is being distributed on Hive I believe is still on of it's best usecases that makes Hive unique and I'd reckon many other similar chains or platforms in the future will not do it the same way because they wouldn't want to give away control of power or potential profits the way we do here to maintain our decentralization.
I got a bit off track there but in talks about scalability, I don't think I need to tell you how many transactions are processed on Hive on the daily, on top of that how most of them are completely free, now with RC delegations being easily sent out to users to broadcast their own transactions without even needing any stake I firmly believe that there are no other coins out there that work in the same way while still keeping blockproducers hardware running cheap. Just open up https://hiveblocks.com/ and each time you refresh you're greeted by a new block that was produced (happens each 3 seconds on average) and you can see for yourself how many transactions fit in one and are being sent out and this is hardly at any limits the witnesses have set for blocksizes. (You know, the thing Bitcoiners argued for years, resulted in Bitcoin Cash being created which also has billions in marketcap, resulted in a shitstorm of more copies being created, yes, we can switch that just by having top block producers discuss among themselves if it's needed and time to raise it depending on demand, or if RC costs should go a bit higher first before that decision is made as to not create a blockchain that's too big needlessly, etc)
So there you have it, you have security, scalability and decentralization all in one package working and evolving for over 6 years. So now let's look into how Hive could "die", aside from the scenario mentioned above where a bad actor would attempt to overtake governance again and in the worst of the worst cases that he somehow would against all odds and preventive measures we've put in place do it successfully once again, well guess what, we'd just do the same thing we did on Steem once more. We'd filter out the accounts that caused this to occur, we'd switch over to a different chain ID and we'd thank the bad actor for causing massive volatility in our price, for removing a ton of stake they bought/collected to centralize Hive with from our supply and we'd march on again like we are doing now. At this point I think I'd challenge people to attempt to do this as there's nothing the community can lose that way.
Other factors could include things such as, the blockchain is becoming too big in size, witnesses are running their servers at a loss, investment isn't coming in or there's no interest to continue producing blocks. While I did mention that these things have been focused and worked on in the past couple years, you could theoretically assume that we'd get so much more activity to increase block size but it's quite hard to imagine that the increased activity/users wouldn't result in Hive's evaluation in price going up. I mean, look at where we are, we're quite at the bottom already and have been hovering around rank 200 on coingecko for a while now, the upside to Hive is so much bigger than the downside, an increase in activity could surely not mean that the token would drop so much to make it impossible for block producers to continue keeping the chain decentralized and running. Even in the worst case scenario that they'd drop off, I'm sure there's plenty of back up witnesses that want to "invest" in Hive by running at a loss for a while, you know, the same way most Bitcoin and Ethereum miners buy equipment, pay for electricity and wait for the markets to turn before they even attempt to get their initial deposit back. Compared to them Hive witnesses have had it quite well over the years, even many backups.
Okay then aside from scalability and witnesses getting rekt, what if users just stopped using Hive? Well this is probably the biggest "fear" if you will and what results in not just Hive but most blockchains going down in value and fleeting to irrelevancy. One thing to note is that for most blockchains it is quite hard to just "die", many who barely have any users anymore still exist and operate and most of them don't do what Hive does. The solutions it provides aside from the reward mechanism/stake distribution is still something that's becoming more and more important day to day with tech giants and governments attempting to suppress information or silencing certain voices. On hive, even though it doesn't mean that any and everyone has to be rewarded with stake, one thing they can be sure about is that their voice won't be blocked/shadowbanned/removed because that's something that is literally not possible since no witness would ever agree to remove data from the blockchain itself because they'd quickly be thrown out of the super majority who can make such decisions. In terms of front-ends, some may block certain accounts from being viewed and interacted with on their end, it would depend on why, who's strongarming them to do so, but matter of a fact is that this content could still be shown in other places where the strongarming wouldn't have any jurisdiction in DMCA'ing or forcing the front-end owner to censor such accounts/content. This is real value that exists on Hive for basically free, the cost to create an account is currently set at 3 Hive, many services or users/stakeholders themselves offering accounts for free and witnesses will continue to produce blocks with any and all content in them in the form of text while we're working on layer 2 solutions to make images, gifs, videos, etc immutable as well (look into what @threespeak is working on).
Okay so this got quite longer than I intended it to be, but aside from the "omg I got downvoted" when in reality 99% of them deserved it for one reason or another, or the "I'm not getting any votes" when most of them there also don't really deserve it, which I think as a curator who's around the chain most of my waking hours can say I have a good overview of most curation that occurs here. What fears do you have about Hive that wouldn't make you either wanna focus more on it with your time/sweat equity/effort, your money in terms of investing for long term, or just to share it broad and wide? Because bottom line, what Hive needs and will thrive from is just more users that use it just like they use any #web2 platform these days and we all know that number is in the billions. Users that keep some of the stake they receive in rewards as inflation keeps dwindling down over the years, users that stay active and consume content, maybe POSH a little here and there, use our dapps, games and any and all future projects and services that'll exist on here since startup is so cheap and easy and the instant connection to a community to use your product/invest in you that's quite underrated in my opinion compared to other chains, on top of it all the whole "give and take" nature where it's not just founders and starters getting all the rewards but everyone involved and participating in most things on Hive do.
Trust me, there's so much more to Hive and this tech that I could talk about in this post, things that make me hopeful, things that I have high ambitions about and believe the potential is huge to unlimited and all kinds of things I already see it improve and assist make the world a better place considering how borderless the tech is and connects anyone and everyone without the restrictions in place in centralized platforms, but no one would read that post in one sitting and I'd probably have to be up all night finishing my thoughts onto it and it still wouldn't fit everything onto that post. So I'll just stop here and check what your thoughts are on the question asked. Thanks for reading, those who did. Including more pictures into the text as requested in previous posts. :P
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