What is DPOS?
Delegated Proof of Stake Mining was one of the earliest mechanisms of validating and confirming transactions and generating blocks. In this process, a fixed set of Witnesses who are voted by the stakeholders are given the authority to confirm transactions and create blocks for the blockchain in exchange for a small reward. In the case of the Steemit platform 30 witnesses, who were voted on by the Steemit community i.e., all those Steemit users who had Steem Power in their wallets. These 20 witnesses were the all-in-all decision makers for the platform, and it was assumed that these 30 witnesses could theoretically decide on which transactions were valid, which protocol enhancement features could be implemented and rolled out in the blockchain, etc. As per the original design there was a likelihood that at anytime any of the users could vote up or vote down a Witness. This delegated proof of stake is similar to today’s democratic systems of governance adopted worldwide where the population of citizens vote up their representatives; and if any individual manages to wratch up enough support to control the votes they would then control the entire ecosystem and government.
Here’s a quote from a steemit post on the importance of witnesses.
“Witnesses are responsible for finding blocks, seeding the blockchain and setting pricing feeds and interest rates. They are for the most part silent and you never really hear much about them. But they represent a major investment in the steem economy in terms of money and manpower. With steem, the witnesses take turns finding blocks. But your priority as a witness is determined by how many votes as witness you get and the relative stake power behind those votes.You as an end user can vote for up to 30 witnesses and you can change your witness vote at any time for any reason.
Voting for a witness is a way of saying “I support your work. I like what you’re doing and I want you to continue doing it.”
Conversely, removing your vote from a witness is a good way to let them know that you no longer agree with them or their policies.”
Hijacking the Steemit Blockchain –
The past week saw a tremendous new kind of attack in which wallet addresses of large centralized exchanges such as Huobi, Poloniex and Binance were used in an attack by Justin Sun’s Tron foundation to in one stroke replace the entire set of 30 witnesses with their own proxies. The sad part of this is that these exchange based accounts that were used for voting were all owned by exchanges which accepted deposits from 1000’s of users around the world. So if one were to keep their private keys in the hands of exchanges this would likely be the case. The Exchanges could take control and could be co-erced or bribed to do actions such as this to take control of the entire blockchain.
Here is a larger Youtube Video post of the same.
Everyone is waiting to see how this plan plays out and it is interesting to see how and when these changes would echo in other systems that are Proof of Stake based.