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Coin Fugazi Podcast 6: The STEEM Ticking Timebomb Exploded, and We’re All Learning From It
Coin Fugazi Podcast 6 is our chance to talk with Tim Copeland of killer crypto news outlet, Decrypt. In only a couple of years, Decrypt has made a giant splash in the space, snapping up pretty great writers due to in part by embracing long-reads and old school investigative journalism. Beyond that, Decrypt, as part of the Ethereum-based ConsenSys empire, does nearly everything right. Articles are curated well, the page design is reader-friendly and distinguished from its competitors, and it covers all aspects of the ecosystem. They have an app and podcast, and rumor has it they're even looking into tokenization.
“The drama with STEEM,” investor Ari Paul stressed, “is probably the most important thing happening in crypto now. It’s an amazing experiment in crypto M&A, adversarial strategy and the legal/social repercussions of ‘stealing’ via hard fork, forcing tough discussions across many large exchanges.”
Indeed, what happened to the STEEM token (which fuels its blogging platform Steemit) is part saga spanning the globe from China to Mexico and parts in-between, a game, involving $5 million up for grabs of seized funds, misaligned incentives, delegated proof of stake viability, drama, cartels, freezing funds, transparency, lawsuits, and ultimately became a textbook case in governance issues for crypto projects going forward.
Coin Fugazi was lucky enough to track Copeland down late night in the UK, and while helping to run one of the fastest growing crypto news publications in the world we wrestled him into talking about his amazing investigation’s background.
Our conversation weaves in and out of the character-driven piece, trying to place them in their proper context. The major players involved in STEEM are worthy of their own novels. A guy like Dan Larimer, for example, later of EOS fame, goes on to become a notorious serial entrepreneur who is either a genius at value creation and blockchain projects ... or someone who can’t sit still long enough to see one through.
I try to characterize another major player as a bit of villain, Justin Sun of TRON. What I like about Copeland is that he doesn’t take the easy bait. He’s not looking to evangelize here, he’s trying to get the story right. It comes through in the article, but I was sure Copeland would agree with my petty phrasing. I am glad he did not.
It turns out the entire affair is far more nuanced, as STEEM grows and then kind of fades, amassing a dedicated cadre of followers and stakers, and that Sun and his entry into the history of STEEM is, well, complicated.
Sun is either a usurper, looking to take advantage of the STEEM token and its governance system to overtake the coin and its blogging platform, Steemit, or he’s simply doing what keen capitalists do: mergers and acquisitions (which could end up benefitting the coin and platform).
The incestuous nature and growing power of cryptocurrency exchanges comes up throughout the article, from Huobi to the goliath that is Binance and its CEO’s involvement in brokering a kind of peace between STEEM and Sun under a delegated proof of stake sandbox.
What follows is a mix of politics, social media marketing, saving face, community outrage, and a popular decentralized application on the network moving its wares completely (to Hive). The story isn’t over by a long shot, and there are zillions of lessons to learn about what the STEEM versus TRON and Justin Sun tussle reveals.
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