The HBD Peg Conundrum

in #hive3 years ago

Today I would like to touch on the state of the current proposals. This tool has allowed us to fund many of the things we enjoy on the blockchain, without having the devs/admins make spam posts to fund it. It provides infrastructure to allow new creators to create the next generation of dapps, and documentation to lower the barrier to entry. Even with all of its faults, I am a huge fan of the system overall. But lately things are changing...

Source: @whatsup

The HBD Peg is Broken

This isn't news to anyone. It's been broken for a long time. There's countermeasures when it goes below $1 USD, but relies on holders to sell when it's above. Now we have huge volume on upbit driving the price up, and despite @smooth's best efforts with @hbdstabilizer, it's still well above $1.

If you don't know about the @hbdstabilizer project, it's actually pretty cool. Its goal is to bring back the dollar peg while also driving up demand on the price of HIVE, so a win/win for HIVE users. But it's proving no match for the Koreans who either don't care about the peg, or even know about it. Maybe if we can dump on their buy walls for long enough, they'll eventually acquiesce and move on, but we have to know the cost.

To get a proposal funded is no easy feat. For the most part, you have to be in good standing with the community, have to have a great idea, and be able to convince others that you can pull the idea off. Not only that, but you also have to compete over a fixed amount of proposal funding that is available to all the proposals that meet the above criteria. So you can imagine how frustrating it would be, how daunting it is to those who are building the tools we all enjoy, when you meet all the above criteria, and still get bumped from funding because HBD is too high? Even tho, as far as I can tell, nearly all proposals that have been paying out have been selling their HBD. It's not 100%, but it's damn close.

So if nearly all funding is getting dumped on the market, what's the difference between projects that are adding features to the ecosystem and @hbdstabilizer? The answer comes down to short term and long term thinking. Stabilizing the peg is important, and driving the price of HIVE up is really nice, but it's a short term plan. It doesn't solve the underlying problems of the peg, it doesn't keep the price of HIVE up forever, it doesn't convince anyone that the peg isn't broken, and it doesn't add any long term value to the platform.

The tools and resources that are being built now are what's going to drive the price of HIVE in the future. Real growth comes from demand, not artificial scarcity. We can fiddle with the system to make us feel good today, or we can work to build the things that will make our wallets feel good tomorrow.

If I haven't been clear enough to this point, I think that the HBD Stabilizer project has a place in the DHF, but I feel compelled to speak up when it's nearing 100% of the DHF. This isn't marketable, this isn't sustainable, and it's holding up long term progress we can make for this amazing platform for some short term gains.

What Can be Done about the Peg?

This has been the subject of debate for as long as I've been a member of this blockchain. There are no easy answers. Most fixes are short term fixes, which is maybe all we need, but I do have a suggestion:

Instead of draining the DHF and reward pool, spend that energy on telling the users about the price of HBD, and encourage them to sell. Get the front ends to push a pop-up, quoting the current price of HBD, and instilling a sense of impending losses if they don't sell. Once that train starts rolling, the game theory kicks in and assuming the people actually using the platform have enough HBD, things could very well stabilize. Or, we try patience and let it run its course, and as soon as things calm down in Korea, it will reach the peg yet again as it always does. Or maybe a combination of both.

Got a better idea? Am I way off base? I'm not privy to all the intimate details about the inner workings, and I've probably skimmed over some important details, but if I did I'm sure you guys will let me know. Thanks for reading.


Nobody is draining the DHF. All of the funding to the stabilizer is being sent back to DHF (generally within an hour) along with something like $20K USD per day in added profit. The funding inside the DHF is increasing every day at a furious rate. That's hardly "draining".

Similarly, post rewards get sent back and serve as more future funding in the DHF.

That also answers this question by the way:

So if nearly all funding is getting dumped on the market, what's the difference between projects that are adding features to the ecosystem and @hbdstabilizer?

The other proposals don't return all their funding with an enormous profit to the DHF. They may do some good for Hive, in fact I'd say most if not all do, but it isn't a 40000% (approximately) ROI.

The reason these proposals get funded so easily and consistently is that they have large negative cost (i.e. profit) and Hive stakeholders, on the whole, aren't dumb.

So "draining" was a bad choice of words, because my intent wasn't focused on the funding. I understand the purpose of @hbdstabilizer and it isn't draining money from the DHF, my intent was more about draining the potential of the DHF, the opportunity cost. The argument could be made that having more money in the DHF would raise the potential, but we can't assume these Korean pumps will last forever, they never do. And a retrace can eat away all the potential gains made by selling HBD for HIVE, leaving us right where we started without the added benefit of many of the things that could have been.

I understand the potential for upside on this, but you can't deny any risk as well. If HIVE retraces back, then we'll be looking at trying to get the HBD peg back up, and worse off than when we started.

I don't agree it leaves anything where it started, because even if the prices go right back down to where they were, there is less HIVE in circulation. That makes it more viable long term, because it leaves the market in a state where, all else being equal, it is more able to absorb future selling (and there is simply less HIVE out there to sell).

Of course, price and demand for HIVE may crash at some point in the future, making things challenging, but they may anyway. Having less HIVE in circulation if and when that does happen only makes matters better, not worse.

even if the prices go right back down to where they were, there is less HIVE in circulation

This right here is what I'm talking about. I understand supply/demand. I get that restricting supply causes price increases. But it's not a long term solution. The DHF is there to build the things that bring in sustainable demand for the token, and those being removed are what I'm taking issue with.

It's not a problem today, and it won't be a problem if this lasts a week. But sooner or later, this will have unforeseen consequences in the long term, something that merely restricting supply can't fix.

Also I would like to add I'm not taking issue with you. You see a problem, and you're taking the initiative to tackle that problem. I'm merely preaching to the stakeholders, hoping to either provide some perspective, or learn something myself.

I'm the primary stakeholder involved in the loss of funding for proposals right now. And I do place a high value on developers, as should be obvious from how many proposals I'm normally voting for. You're not telling me anything I don't already know about the importance of development to the long term future of the chain (and I'm not even mostly talking about price, since I'm more interested in improving what is, than what it's worth).

Right, I can propose all i want and if other stakeholders don't vote for it, nothing happens.

I agree on that point. It's a trade off. It depends on the relative merits, and that's both a question of judgement and numbers. At some level of financial ROI and supply reduction it probably doesn't make sense to interrupt projects at all. At some level it does. Those levels are subjective.

FWIW, I haven't unvoted anything (but I considered it). I was actually against interruption at lower HBD price levels (which mean lower immediate ROI) and thought the stabilizer should just use left over budget. At the higher levels, I'm more open to it, but not out there pushing it either.

I understand the potential for upside on this, but you can't deny any risk as well. If HIVE retraces back, then we'll be looking at trying to get the HBD peg back up, and worse off than when we started.

The network already provides a mechanism for this, and while the haircut rule puts a wrench in that if HIVE goes too low, a revision to that is hopefully coming too.

The network provides a mechanism for HBD conversions, but the DHF could be underfunded (relative to now) if HIVE reaches its 8 cent lows again. It's a worst case scenario, I know, but that's the risk I'm referring to.

All the economics argue against that scenario. The stabilizer actually acts to increase the price of Hive, via it's buying activity. Even in the worse case, where every proposal that was paying out and is now not, decided to stop working until they got funded again (an unreasonable position to take, IMO, since they've been benefiting from the 1.3 to 1.5 price advantage of HBD for a while now), I just don't see that the value they provide can match that of the hdbstablizer. If that were true, then we should never have put any daily budget limit on the DHF, and we should be spending 10x or more than we're spending now. Because the ROI for the DHF is truly insane at the moment. Personally, I think it would even make sense for my team to stop development temporarily, despite it being the core, if that would have focused more money to the stabilizer. This isn't an issue, since we're not drawing any funds from the DHF now, but that's just to indicate how huge the value to the chain that's being delivered by the stabilizer right now.

My main issue is this isn't marketable. I care about the price of HIVE, but what I care more about is getting people here using the chain. I think having that as the main focus will make the price rise regardless. Raising the price of HIVE without getting more people on the network will always be temporary. Even attracting more users by raising the price of HIVE would only be marginally effective if our past retention rates are anything to go by. We have an underlying problem that can only be fixed with more diversity of features and opportunity i.e. documentation, public infrastructure, and dev work.

The DHF isn't perfect, and even with careful review and intelligent management, they're not all going to be winners. The way I see it, it's more of a shotgun approach; targeting a certain area with enough bullets to hopefully get a hit. Following that analogy, right now we've stopped taking shots, and are filling the ammo box hoping it doesn't go foul before we can use it.

There's nothing terribly wrong in theory with what you said, other than missing the sheer magnitude of the return ratio associated with the stabilizer right now. The returns from the stabilizer will let us do far more later and a short term suspension of funding for proposals won't do much harm, by my calculations. I've weighed out the alternatives, and I'm quite certain this is the correct course of action as a temporary measure.

Of course, others can disagree and vote as they will. You'll note that several proposals are still voted in by other people, even though I think it's a mistake to have them voted in right now. I have a lot of influence due to my stake, but it's not overwhelming by any means, clearly.

As a side note, I'm wary of using analogies too freely, because they often lead to mistakes in thinking when the two systems are not completely analogous. Developers and software development for the most part function quite differently from an ammo box and a gun. In other words, I see no likelihood of the fouling you reference.

Analogies can have their uses when first communicating the functioning of a new system to people unfamiliar with the system, but continued use after that just leads to improper conclusions due to the increasing chance of model mismatches, IMO. For example, whenever I hear a business guy start using sports analogies to promote his ideas instead of presenting a business-based analysis, I start to question how well he knows how businesses function.

When I look at the entire picture, and see what's really happening; or unweave it, then weave it all back together... I spontaneously start laughing like a mad scientist.

Now. Is that a good thing, or a bad thing? You can decide.

We could always use more mad scientists here.

Yeah. Way too many happy ones.

Seems like a logical and sane position, to me...

Then we agree.

...i'm trying this echo chamber thing...

You only live once, man.

I'm seeing two flaws in your argumentation:
a) The way you're arguing makes it seem that the hbdstabelizer funding is sucking up funding that could else benefit new projects.

  • Which it isn't true, I don't see any "upcoming" project that is currently missing out. Else, stakeholders can obviously easily push such noteworthy projects above the hbdfunding to make sure they get funded.
  • This way we're basically killing two flies with one hit a) short term benefit + b) long term benefit with the leftover.

b) It also makes it seem that it might even be sucking up $ existing projects need.

  • But those project have actually been getting much more than what they were needing for a while so they were overfunded (you can argue that they are paid in hbd, but as a fact all proposals are calculated in USD prices by the authors, because that's what pays devs and infra).

The remaining stakeholders could easily push the proposals that had their funding temporarily paused above the limits of the hbdfunding again if they think that those apps needs the extra money.
If you ask me
a) Dapps should be self-sustainable
b) A lot of projects are getting first class salaries for what they're doing from a community fund with very little to show as actual benefit for the ecosystem itself where I take the hbdfunding short term benefit 10x.

You made some very good points that were brought up elsewhere in reply to this post. So instead of repeating or copy/pasting them in response, I would suggest reading the top comment by smooth and the reply chain that follows and reply there if I'm off somewhere.

In regards to:

a) Dapps should be self-sustainable

I agree. And I see the DHF as a way to incubate worthy projects until they self-sustainable, and not a long term solution. But that's not all the DHF is accomplishing. Core dev, public infrastructure, and documentation are things that benefit us all, without a clear non-altruistic way to get funding.

b) A lot of projects are getting first class salaries for what they're doing from a community fund with very little to show as actual benefit for the ecosystem itself where I take the hbdfunding short term benefit 10x.

This is where it gets really tricky. Controlling variables is nearly impossible in these circumstances, so getting the data about impact of a particular project is usually circumstantial and tangential. Which is why allowing stakeholders to vote their confidence and letting it play out is the only reasonable solution. And the benefits of hbdstabilizer can be directly measured, but only assuming variables stay constant. If BTC tanks, then HIVE tanks, and it would produce a net negative while also losing all the things that could be created with the fund. What I'm getting at is don't put all your eggs in one basket.

Should be not use the HBD pump to supercharge the fund in the bull years and we can drain the extra funds we have saved in the bear years to keep development going.

Ah, interesting question. I would say that comes with a lot of assumptions though, and possibly a misunderstanding of the history of HBD (and formerly SBD).

First, HBD has pretty good mechanisms to get $1 of value out of 1 token. So when the peg is broken the opposite way, it's usually brought back to $1 fairly quickly. With this knowledge, we can probably assume that proposal funding will always pay out at least what they're asking for to fund it.

Second, in a bear market, the price of HIVE can get pretty low. I haven't done the calculations, but we know it's gotten about 10X less than the current price right now, and if we factor in worst case scenarios, then in a bear market we'll need to not only have over 10x the HIVE in the DHF to make up for it, but we also need to factor in the opportunity cost that was lost in the dapps that never were because they were pushed out.

I'm not saying this is a likely scenario, as there are a lot of factors, I'm just saying it's not as cut and dry as it's being laid out.

Personally I don't like HBD and think it should go. The inflation hangover from HBD printing during bull years and the conversion mechanism on a collapsing price is savage. SBD conversions created 2.5x the nominal steem inflation at the peak of the last collapse, which IMO pushed steem much further down then it would otherwise have gone. It's a vicious cycle as the lower it falls the more of the primary token has to be created for conversion, and gets dumped on the market.

( ).

I see. I gotta say that having it as a "stable" way for funding proposals, and also having the exchange listings that give us these pumps sure is a great thing, this is definitely something to consider.

I think a layer 2 peg would be much more manageable, and prob better suited for any business that wanted to use the HIVE blockchain, but it's a tough call for me to say it should stay or go. Thanks for the insight.

As a content producer (and investor) I love the pumps HBD brings about; but hard to know if its in the long term interest. Also hard to know if it really made any difference to the price (cant isolate all other variables). Watching the next few days with interest to see if the stabilizer fund can kill the HBD pump (and kick off a Hive pump). Volumes don't seem enough but you never know.

We could just rename it HPC (Hive Pump Coin) and be done with it

I've said it before and I say it again, as long as HBD is traded on the exchanges, it's unrealistic to try to peg it. The market forces are much stronger than any of the tools we have or tried for the last 4 years.

I don't think it's unrealistic, as long as the expectation are right. It's never going to be a tether, but if people have a good understanding of the history, the currency can still be used as intended, just on a longer time frame than what you would expect from a rigid peg.

Please enlighten over the many things that have been tried over the last 4 years. Because I don't remember many at all. I'm pretty sure you can count them all on one hand. But let's see your list. From my perspective, it was mostly just ignored during Steem days, which is most of that 4 years you're talking about.

SBD went up to like 8 USD recently. Is there stopping that from happening to HBD? Realistically if it is tradable on other markets, and those other markets have more trade volume than the internal market, then what is the point of stabilizing the internal market mechanics if external is more of a driving force?

Genuinely curious, I have no idea what the point of HBD is for tbh. Seems like there is no actual need for it. Does it do something very important? We have plenty of decentralized exchanges, why even have an internal market at all?

The hdbstalizer is doing exactly that (stopping that from happening to HBD). I just published a post that goes into that in more depth.

As for the internal market issue, there are traders who arbitrage between all the markets for HBD, so the increased supply pushes down HBD price. @smooth has explained elsewhere that he keeps the bot trading on the internal exchange because this maintains transparency. Seemed sensible to me.

As noted in the other reply here, there is plenty of arbitrage between the internal and external markets. I have counted at least 10 or so bots doing it, and I may have missed some (although I can't tell for sure if some of them have the same owner).

Observationally, the price on the internal and external markets is almost always much the same (as a consequence, in part, of all that arbitrage). So stabilizing on the internal market must stabilize on external markets too, as long as this relationship holds up (which it has so far, and likely always will).

Is there a way to take it off external exchanges?

Often the exchanges will delist coin if it has very low volumes or there are legal problems around it (like XRP had). Or we can just ask to delisted it I guess.

Who exactly is privy to the inner details? It seems a lot of who we think are in are not, it's a very mysterious thing. The whole thing seems like making sausage where you don't wanna know how the thing is made you just want the result. nice post

I've already voiced my opinion on this matter in a few other places. I agree with you it's very short term thinking if not even a little grey area thinking in terms of integrity. I understand that HBD is suppose to be a stable coin. However we all know it's clearly not nor has it ever been.

So what is it going to take to truly make it a stable coin and is it even possible? I'm almost thinking it's not possible since payouts are 7 days. You'd have to almost predict what the markets will be 7 days from now or am I wrong in that thinking? If not possible then why do we even have HBD and instead just pay out in HIVE and make more of it liquid and change that structure around.

In any case it's been broken since the start of HIve so instead of some crazy manipulative plan IMO devs sit down and figure out the long term solution. It's what they get paid for right? If you can show me a solution you have my vote. You do not have my vote to simply sell off a bunch of HBD to fund the dev pool which lets be honest can be abused and most people on this platform don't use it, understand it or maybe even know it exist. The UI for proposals should be clean cut and easy to understand for every hive user be it they have 100 powered up hive or 1,000,000 it should be easy to follow and see what's currently going out and being worked on, what's being proposed etc. Those are the areas that we should be working on, spending our time on and investing into.

To be fair, the experiment that @smooth is currently conducting could possibly provide some tangible data to help devs create the framework for the peg, or decide if it's even possible. With things like this, you need to do it manually for a while to even get a grasp on how to make it happen programatically.

Can't wait for the HIVE --> HBD conversion being put into place in the next HF.

Make those stable coin pumpers regret their actions.

That should make things easier, I agree.

@enforcer48 @r0nd0n What does that do? I'm still catching up to speed. And what is the best thing a regular user can do- take all their rewards in HIVE or Powerup? Is it bad or good to sell our SBD on external exchanges? Is it better to sell it internally for HIVE? What can a normal user do?

You can sell your HBD wherever you feel like..

The regular users can't do much until after HF25 when they can convert their own HIVE into HBD to take advantage whenever HBD is over $1.

Well, We've thrown the entire "community development fund at it"... And some post rewards also.

I can't wait for the Gofundme.. and a Jerry Lewis Style Telethon!


Putting the buckets out while it's raining.

Look I realize it has nothing to do with the peg and everything to do with buying back inflation, but no one is doing themselves any credibility favors with this.

First two proposals, Okay fine. At first, maybe slightly annoying when it got to the posts, nothing to get worked up about. But de-funding other projects and saying they were OVER funded is hilarious.

It's DPOS.. I get it. They can do what they want. I get the system and support it.

I just think it is a disingenuous way to go about using the fund to try to buy back inflation, and it is going to continue to look as if it is failing.. Because the stated goal is not the actual intent. Which either makes one look like they are incapable or dishonest.

Why not just call it... Use the unpegged HBD funds to buy back liquid Hive because we don't like the price.. Or something sexy like that. :)

I don't personally believe any project was overfunded, they were receiving the HBD that they asked for. HBD is meant to be at least $1 by network rules right now, but those taking funding from the DHF also take the downside, below-$1 risk of it too. Anyway, I didn't unvote anything but the return proposal lately. I think the DHF can afford the few HBD for those <10 HBD/day projects that pay for hosting costs, at the very least, and I hope to see them get voted back in even in a frenzied HBD market.

They can still pay hosting costs getting overvalued HBD for one month (which would be more than needed for hosting, unless hosting is priced in HBD, which I doubt) and then getting cut off for a while. That said, I mostly agree with you about the small projects. Not worth the trouble. I haven't unvoted anything.

To a hammer..err...developer....

I exchange my HBD for hive usually as soon as I get it. I'm powering up most of my rewards, and I need hive for that.
BTW, have you seen the price of steem based dollars lately? That peg is so thoroughly broken that it probably will never be fixable...on the good side, you can get a lot of steem for you SBD right now...
I swap my steem for hive and power it up. 😊

Get the front ends to push a pop-up, quoting the current price of HBD, and instilling a sense of impending losses if they don't sell.

this is what i was thinking when i sold some today at 1.5. As there is a proposal to pull HBD to 1 so how far could it go up. Koreans don't care, Koreans strong.

We then got an endless DAO fund source then :P

perpetuum DAO mobile 😂

So you can imagine how frustrating it would be, how daunting it is to those who are building the tools we all enjoy, when you meet all the above criteria, and still get bumped from funding because HBD is too high?

i don't get this thing. what does the price of HBD has with west voting for proposals?

See for yourself:

Currently the stakeholders have decided to prioritize pegging HBD to a dollar instead of funding many of the future projects on this chain. Is it a smart move? Maybe, I'm not one to say, but I do want people to consider the choices and think long term.

The long term aspect is mostly economic. More funding for DHF, less HIVE in circulation.

If you can temporarily suspend funding on worthy projects for a while and then have a LOT more funding for worthy projects at some point in the future, that seems to me to be thinking long term.

if it is for few days, it will probably be fine. and could be beneficial if we get a bit of the hive up price action. If it goes for weeks and still not close to 1$ then there is no point.

I expect it will be for a few days to a week or so. But if it goes too long, I can make temporary payouts, then create a proposal later to be reimbursed.

had no idea what was going on, a lot of people probably did not so it is nice to get some information.

learned some things from this situation.

The pump is nice, it's just on the wrong coin :)

I think taking the up to 49.999% tax on accounts with less than ~400k hp off of the authors and curators would help circulate some hbd, too.

Add on the 10% we lost in that hardfork, and we might actually attract some daily users.

It's not like the dao doesn't have sources of funding now, in fact, record funding sources currently exist.

Always set to 50%-50% reward. It's better when HBD>USD. The higher the price of HBD the better the benefit of getting paid in dollars by the blockchain.

Could we not just fix the cost on the internal market, allowing it to be only sold or bought for 1 doll hairy. I am pretty sure this would bring the exchanges under control.
Maybe this is a simplistic view but on this April 1st many a true word may be spoken in jest.

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I've just voted you as a witness and, hopefully, the clown website took my vote.
I'll be following you...your account.