Steem Hard Forks Today Over Fears of Justin Sun Power Grab

The Hive hard fork is expected to go live at 14:00 UTC with the support of major exchanges Huobi and Binance.

AccessTimeIconMar 20, 2020 at 12:01 p.m. UTC
Updated Apr 10, 2024 at 2:42 a.m. UTC
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Major crypto exchanges Binance and Huobi have aligned behind a controversial hard fork of the Steem blockchain scheduled for Friday.

An initiative developed by a Steem community group called Hive, the fork is set to go live at around 14:00 UTC.

The blockchain split is the latest development in the ongoing dispute between Tron founder Justin Sun and the Steem community, who have been in a fight for control over who controls the social media and content-focused blockchain.

On Feb. 14, Sun's Tron foundation acquired Steemit, Steem's leading social media dapp and, it's thought, its large hoard of steem tokens, which bring with them great voting power in the blockchain's governance. With the community seeing this as a potential takeover by the crypto entrepreneur, they moved to limit his power with a soft fork in late February that was ultimately unsuccessful.

Sun claimed the move was brought by "hackers" at the time.

While Huobi and Binance previously supported Sun's move to acquire Steem and used their token supply to back his moves, it would appear the exchanges have changed their stance. The firms now back the hard fork, which will port over steem tokens to the new chain, all but Sun's sizable stash, that is. The move would exempt him from holding any of the new hive tokens and, thus, voting power on the new chain.

"We will take a snapshot of all STEEM tokens held by Binance users at the time of the final Steem block prior to 2020/03/20 2:00 p.m. (UTC) and will distribute HIVE tokens at a ratio of 1 STEEM = 1 HIVE," Binance said in an announcement on Friday. Huobi made a similar statement Wednesday.

The new hive tokens will deny Sun control of the original development fund through his major share in Steem's "ninja-mined stake" tokens – perhaps 20 percent of the total supply. As such, fork backers hope to completely remove Sun from the picture when the hard fork goes live in a couple of hours.

"The intention of this community-driven fork is to support and build on the strong Steem community values that have made our ecosystem so diverse and exciting," said Hive. "This new direction steps away from the burden of the Steemit Inc. ninja-mined stake, which has impacted the long term ability to work towards further development and decentralization for years."

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