Reducing Power Down Period. Analyzing the Options.

in #powerdown3 years ago (edited)

I've seen today a Steem proposal which acts as a poll, because it returns the funds to Steem DAO, if it receives any. Interesting way to use the Steem Proposal System, because that's a voting mechanism embedded in the blockchain code itself.

The proposal poll created by top witness @thecryptodrive refers to reducing the power down period to 4 weeks from 13 weeks currently. Read comments as they are very interesting, if the topic interests you.

The theme of reducing the power down period does appear more often lately, with the imminent HF for SMTs, which will follow the same power down rule as STEEM, at on the first version of SMT, according to one announcement of Steemit, Inc:

While most of the features of STEEM that have been included within SMTs have customizable parameters, one that does not is the Power Down.

The proponents of reducing the power down period, see the SMT hardfork as a great timing to do both with direct effect both for STEEM and for SMTs.

I'd like to go over the options I've seen or heard of so far, with the pros and cons I can think of, for each of them.

1. Keeping Everything Related to Power Downs As They Are Today


  • code doesn't need to change
  • same security measures as today remain in place


  • discourages large investors to buy STEEM and power up
  • doesn't stop anyone who wants to leave Steem from doing it, it will only take longer

2. Reduce the Power Down Period to 4 Weeks, instead of 13 Weeks.

This is a trade off between the current situation and more aggresive proposals.


  • some of the security provided by the gradual power downs are still in place (4 weekly payments instead of 13, that's 25% withdrawn weekly instead of 1/13); there are voices who believe this security measure should be completely removed and others be thought in their place; a workaround that works well as an added security measure but has other drawbacks when it comes to using and moving your stake, is having an account with the stake and delegating it to the main account, as I do. That would work even if there would be an immediate "power down" possible, because one would still need to wait for the delegation to return before powering down immediately, so add 5 days to that.
  • more incentive to larger investors to buy STEEM than in the current situation
  • only parameters need to be changed, no new code needs to be written as far as I know


  • less security than current option from the gradual power downs, but more than other alternatives

3. Keep, Reduce (or Extend) the Power Down Period, but Allow Immediate "Power Down" For a Fee


  • encourages large investors to buy STEEM and power up, knowing they can liquidate the asset immediately
  • STEEM will be more liquid
  • less likely to have pump and dump scenarios


  • security measure is non-existent (a hacked account can be emptied immediately of the entire SP, without additional security measures)
  • code needs to be changed

3.1. Variant: Same as above, except instead of immediate "power downs", it will be reduced to 1 week, in one payment.

Pretty much the same pros and cons as above, with these differences I can think of:
Difference on the Pros side: more of the speculators will remain liquid instead of powering up / powering down, compared to the immediate "power down" scenario.
Difference on the Cons side: the security provided by the one week full power down will still allow many hackers to succeed in their attempts to fully clear hacked accounts of SP, unless additional or alternate security measures are or can be taken.

4. Have Two Staking Pools: One Providing RCs and VP, the Other Additionally Providing Witness and SPS Voting Capabilities (by @fsm-liquid)

You can read the whole alternative proposal here.


  • better flexibility to cater for both short term and long term investors and develop (change) them independently in the future.


  • The most difficult to code of all options presented so far.
  • Adds complexity to the end user, if not properly explained on the user interfaces.

5. Have Stake Term Benefits, Much Like Term Deposits (by @therealwolf)

Currently 15% of inflation goes to SP holders. Indiscriminately, regardless if it's continuously powered down or if it's held for years.

Going forward we have two options: do we drop this reward completely to reduce the ongoing inflation? From what I've seen in tribes I don't think it'll work. Some tribes which initially began without interest on staked tokens, now started to add this interest.

So, we have the other option: use the 15% (or a different percent) better.


  • doesn't affect security measures
  • encourages longer terms hodling and powering up
  • discourages continuous power downs
  • offers an alternative to the ever expanding offers to hodl top cryptos on various exchanges to receive interest
  • can be used in conjunction with another option proposed above (it's not either - or)


  • will probably lower STEEM liquidity
  • quite extensive code changes will be necessary

Have I missed any type of proposal? I know I oversimplified things, often in a sentence or less, but maybe this way more people will have an idea what's on the table.


13 weeks is way too long, imo. I never powered down, nor had the intention to do so, but I would consider it to be an annoying hassle to wait for 13 weeks.
Then again...
About 18 months ago, my account was hacked. Not too much damage was done, and I was lucky enough to get my account back in a little less than a week. Those were pretty terrifying days, though, not knowing whether I would get back in control in only 7 days. If it wouldn't have worked, and if there would have only been a 4-week power down in place, I would have lost a significant amount...

You are in the position of living through a hack experience, but also say 13 weeks for power down is too long. What would you choose among the options above? Or something different?

Posted using Partiko Android

You forgot to mention that a long Power Down time frame like 13 weeks prevents exchanges from voting for Witnesses and SPS Proposals.

Posted using Partiko Android

And that's a Pro for a longer power down period, and a Con for shorter or immediate power downs. Otherwise exchanges would use the liquid STEEM of their clients to vote in or out witnesses and Steem proposals, while being briefly vested to be able to do that.

And I think this is the most important reason for keeping the Power Down 13 weeks.

@thecryptodrive must have missed this and if his proposal ever got approved, it could dramatically increase the centralization of Steem and could even ruin what we currently have.

I'm not in favour of instant powerdowns or very short periods like one week, I think 4 weeks is nicely balanced, we can also look at adding a blacklist oracle for known exchange accounts, preventing them from voting regardless of powerdown length.

@chrisrice see above

Great summary of the proposal and discussions in comments, really honoured you took the time to create this post.

Thank you! Not everyone reads comments, even if sometimes they really add great value to a post, plus there were a few options I heard in the past that weren't mentioned, so I thought a brief listing of them and their pros and cons as I see them would help more people see the options available.

I like the four week drawdown best.

Thanks for the analysis.

Yep, that's the middle ground, and I believe it was proposed like that to gather as much support as possible.

We need to change this parameter for the better of the platform.

Yes, maybe we should. The problem is still having in place a strong mechanism to protect the average user while providing more flexibility to advanced investors. That is if we still want to brand ourselves as a gateway to crypto for mainstream users.

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