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Steem Hardfork Gets Binance Support — But with Reservations

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The ongoing Steem saga continues to take twists and turns that are aggravating parts of the Steem community as well as highlighting other issues in the cryptocurrency space in general. The issues at play are the ever-present decentralization and centralization battle with a new chain already having spawn off called Hive. 

The latest issue came about as a result of a dispute in the Steem community over the acquisition of SteemIt – the blockchain ecosystem’s biggest and more powerful application – by Tron and Justin Sun, the hard fork was used as a tool to strip 64 dissenters of their token holdings.

This hard fork caused concerns not only for those 64 but all Steem holders as it forced the hands of some of the exchanges that listed the token as to which chain they would support. However, in the end, most exchanges went with the hard fork despite the power play because they had the best interest of the remaining Steem users at heart. 

Binance CEO Changpeng Zhao said that, while the exchange is “very much against zeroing other people’s assets on the blockchain,” to not support it would mean that Binance users would not be able to withdraw their Steem tokens.

A tricky situation

The hard fork left exchanges in a tricky spot as the move was clearly intended to punish a select number of users, but to not support the fork would have been detrimental to many many more users. 

Clearing out people’s token holdings “goes against the very ethos of blockchain and decentralization,” said the CEO. “The fact that this can happen on a blockchain means it is overly centralized.”

The fork put Binance in a tricky situation. While the exchange would not otherwise support the fork, “if we don’t support it (technically), no users can withdraw any STEEM coins.”

Zhao explained that Binance had waited to see how other exchanges reacted to the fork, saying that soon some had enabled the upgrade. He added that users had been demanding support for the fork too.

Ongoing battle between centralized and decentralized

This latest hard fork came about seemingly as a direct purpose of confiscating the holdings of key community members who were unhappy with Justin Sun’s power in the ecosystem and how he was using it.

In fact, the creation of HIVE, a previous fork from Steem users, was exactly intended to help them remove themselves from Sun and his centralized ideas.

Darryn Pollock
Darryn has been interested in the blockchain and cryptocurrency space since he heard about Bitcoin in 2015. He then decided to use his journalism degree to report on this fascinating fintech space in 2016, and has not looked back since.

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