Hardfork 20

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The 3 priorities for Steemit 2017 Roadmap announced in January 17th, 2017, were: Communities, Effortless Onboarding and a Mobile Application.

In June 22nd, 2017, the @steemitblog official acount posted the proposal of Steem Velocity 0.20.0 as the Next Fork. The attempt was going to be key to bringing millions of users to the Steem Ecosystem. Communities and the mobile application are on their way. They told development is proceeding well and 0.20.0 will be paramount to getting prepared for those launches and opening the floodgates for the millions of new users that will get to experience Steem in the next year.

They reinforced: “The focus of this hardfork is on improving the process of account creation and reducing the friction involved in onboarding millions of new users”. The proposal addresses some on-chain issues to support signup improvements with a complete rework of how account creation currently works on Steem, designed to help streamline the onboarding process for all Steem developers and improve the scalability of the Steem Ecosystem.[1]

Burning STEEM for Account Creation to Prevent Abuse

Until the Hardfork 20 being active each new account is required to be funded by the account creator with initial Steem Power. The original reason for this was to give each account the requisite minimum Steem Power needed to transact on the blockchain. The current system also incentivizes attackers creating multiple accounts in order to acquire free STEEM, which again increases the overall cost of maintaining the protocol. To solve this problem, the developers proposed a new method of burning STEEM (i.e. destroying the tokens and removing them from the token supply) on each account creation and crediting the account with permanent minimum bandwidth instead of providing Steem Power to the new account.

Discounted Account Creation

One of the key areas limiting growth of Steem is the cost of creating accounts. With the stake that Steemit had, it would take nearly 12 years to reach half of the size of Reddit number of accounts (234 million unique users a month) and undelegate Steem Power continuously to reach those numbers. Simply put, it did not scale and if they want to grow to become the disruptive technology it is needed to remove this barrier.

With Hardfork 20 they want to add a daily quota of discounted accounts. These accounts can be paid for with a combination of STEEM, Bandwidth, and mining. They believe that the ability to mine an account into creation was a fantastic feature of our hybrid proof of work system that was lost when we removed proof of work in Hardfork 17. They explained: “Mining will use Litecoin's scrypt algorithm as it is battle tested. This will only be used for creating accounts through the discount system and not for block production”.

The level of discount will be dynamic based on current demand to prevent all of the accounts from being created instantly. Witnesses will vote on the daily quota so that we can scale this system alongside our growth. This system will run in parallel to existing account creation.


Hardfork 20 proposed to remove account creation with Steem Power Delegation. The original intent of this feature was to allow bulk account creation without account creators spending a lot of STEEM. Discounted account creation solves this in other ways and does it better, it makes sense to remove this feature. Accounts will still be able to delegate Steem Power to others, just not as an integrated part of account creation.

They also proposed to remove Vote Dust Threshold. This feature was added as a countermeasure to automated spam of extremely small votes. While it served an important purpose at the time, the feature interferes with the ability for new Steem users to participate in the community and build a following. The dust votes did not impact rewards significantly, but were taking up valuable space in the blockchain. Saying that the true issue was in the bandwidth algorithm, which has been updated to prevent this attack, they defended: “Because accounts will now be created with 0 SP, their initial votes will not be worth anything. Removing this threshold will allow those accounts to interact with others on the blockchain while they establish themselves in our community”.

End User Impact

The developers understood that this change is nuanced and has many moving parts, but they believe the end implementation will be simple to use. They showed an example of what creating an account would look like under this system.

It is expected that the majority of accounts to be created by Steemit and our partners cheaply using stake. The account creation process will appear similar to what it is today with a fee and proof of work field. To create an account via stake, all the creator needs to do is not include a fee or a proof of work. If the creating account does not have enough stake they will need to include an adequate proof of work or STEEM fee to cover the difference. They will provide APIs and tools to calculate how much of a fee is necessary. To create an account without a creator, no creator will be specified in the operation and will include a proof of work adequate to cover the entire fee. If the dynamic cost is too high, regular account creation will be an option. To end users, this will appear identical to what it is today and only affects developers wishing to sign up new users.


  1. Proposing Hardfork 0.20.0 “Velocity” Published by @steemitblog in Steemit in June 22nd, 2017


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