This has been a question I've seen and I certainly had at first. The answer in short is "You do." It comes to a shock to people when they learn that Bitshares is completely decentralized. In layman's terms that means it has no one person who is governing it. This is one reason why some people love it and many reasons people hate it. Where there is money to be made, people like to shut the free things down. Throughout this article we will be looking into the ways that Bitshares is able to fund itself, broadcast messages to its members, and the benefits and drawbacks of being a self-governing exchange.
Bitshares uses worker proposals to get work done. But how these worker proposals are distributed to the public is important to understand. If no one knows what a worker proposal is about or who is running it, it is hard for people to vote on something that may change the value of the Bitshares network. People who are investing in Bitshares and users alike both like to see its success through work being done on the site. This section we will go over the ways Bitshares is able to communicate with the users and investors.
A Steemit.com member "Steempower" posts weekly State of the Network posts to Steemit under the tag Bitshares. For those who don't know what Steemit.com is, I highly suggest looking closer into it. It was created by the same creator of Bitshares, Dan Larimer. It is a blockchain based social media network that pays out its users for bringing traffic to the site. Just as YouTube pays people for allowing advertisements, Steemit is able to take the money and redistribute it to the users. We will look at Steemit in the future posts. This state of the network is designed to connect those who are interested in learning more about Bitshares and the weekly progress that goes on. The post usually contains statistics of Smartcoin issuance, Operations per day, and the Profit/Expenses reserve pool. If that doesn't interest you, they have many sections regarding the news of Bitshares being talked about and utilized by the public.
Telegram chat is an app that is available that acts a huge group chat. There are many apps like this available for people to discuss coins, but Bitshares users frequent this app. Here there are a lot of people voicing their questions they have or news they have about the Bitshares platform. You will see common usability issues addressed, worker proposals addressed, and important developers discussing what they are doing to the website. It's very exciting to watch conversation even if you don't take part in them. I recommend people check that out if you have any Bitshares and would like to track the progress of the site's advancements.
Bitshares Hangout is a user-held group discussion that is recorded and posted on Steemit by the user "OfficialFuzzy." This discussion is held on the Discord App. Like Telegram, Discord is a popular app to communicate in group chats about coins and other topics. This chat is unique in that instead of a one directional message like the State of the Network, this allows different people to take the mic and discuss what they think should happen to Bitshares worker proposals and other coin topics.
One thing that everyone in the cryptospace loved was the mining. Free money? Who could say no to that. However, the man in charge of Bitshares foresaw a lot of the issues that we're seeing today with mining. Mining is not eco-friendly. In fact, there are many articles that are addressing this very problem with Bitcoin. The problems are becoming harder and harder to solve for Bitcoin's mining computers and they're taking more and more energy to power. Dan saw this as an unsustainable way to pay people. So Bitshares is able to pay people through the network without getting large mining rigs.
Worker proposals are submitted when people recognize an issue with the site. The worker then submits the proposal and the proposal is voted upon. As mentioned before, proposals are usually distributed through the different means of communication. The work that is submitted should be clear and thorough. It can be posted wherever though typically it is found either on Steemit or on Bitsharestalk.org. There is a running list on the Bitshares explorer of worker proposals. There it costs only fractions of a Bitshare to vote for your favorites. It will also display the past worker proposals as well. The end date marks when the project will conclude.
For users that may feel overwhelmed by the amount of changes that are being proposed on Bitshares are able to elect a proxy that they believe can represent them in their voting. Proxies have a lot of voting power and constantly are involved in the community in order to see what people's opinions are regarding the proposed work. They are able to be effective diplomats between the community and the workers. If you hang around the community, you will will begin to see the usernames pop up in forums and in chats.
Proof-of-stake is for witnesses. People can register to become a witness. These witnesses are voted upon as well. They serve the purpose of approving transactions and signing blocks. This Delegated Proof-of-Stake model is pretty complex, so I highly recommend checking out this video by one of my favorite youtubers, Chronos Crpyto. He discusses it in more detail and goes over the benefits of DPoS.
As we wonder into my opinion section of this article, feel free to take it with a grain of salt. None of my opinions expressed indicate that I feel like it is a good or bad investment to make. I can only express my opinions on the functionality of a decentralized system. I don't want to make it seem like these are by any means everyone's opinions on the subject.
The positives for me are pretty obvious. I don't want other people handling my money, especially not online. With the digital currency age, it is scary to give up your money to be traded. I have had negative experiences with centralized exchanges locking me out of my account and hackers getting in. With a completely decentralized system, it is harder for anyone to be accountable for my money except me. A lot of people love Bitcoin for the same reason I think they will love Bitcoin. No one is looking after their things. We are able to get one step closer to banks interfering with our transactions and making money off of us. It is a huge win for humanity when we are able to go from person to person. To trade a decentralized coin through a centralized exchange seems like you're missing the point.
While I would love to be a hard advocate for the Bitshares model, there are many issues that arise that have not been entirely addressed with the decentralized governance. Seeing worker proposals take a very long time to be voted on and then complete shows that without a full team being paid to do something, it may take longer than normal. Without someone making the calls, there is a slower pace of movement. Getting consensus on anything proves to be difficult and timing is everything in the cryptoworld and technology. There also appears from the outside to be a lack of representation when there is no clear leader. There is not one person to advocate for the product to big companies. This can cause the media to avoid covering it and marketing to become a slow painful process. Though it boasts amazing technology, it has yet to be truly advocated for. Without a clear way of issuing news, the community relies on users to issue news which can lead to misinformation or information that looks like rumors rather than a verified report. People love to see a clear separation of employee vs. user and with this model, there is an inability to really divide the users based on their level of involvement.
We look forward to new ways that will exploit the good in this self government while also addressing the negatives. There has been talks about making worker proposals that elect officials to represent the network and also market the network. I think the users see the struggle and want to see some ways the coin can compete with the other big players in the game. As for now, the coin is looking like it is having the steady comeback it deserves. We'll see where it will be as the holidays approach. I'm hoping for a Bitcoin credit card in my stocking.
June 15, 2019
@fraywire works on Blox as the website admin. He sees the potential cryptography technology has for future businesses.