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Vitalik Buterin and Justin Sun Clash Over STEEM Account Freezes

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Vitalik Buterin, the co-founder of Ethereum, took to Twitter earlier today to slam the upcoming STEEM hard fork over issues with customer funds. The Canadian programmer, however, got a reaction from TRON Foundation founder Justin Sun, who wasn’t having any of his innuendos. 

Buterin Mocks STEEM’s Handling of Its Hard Fork

Buterin vs. Sun began with the highly publicized hard fork of the STEEM blockchain from Hive. The former, which Sun now owns, has been working on completing its hard fork for some time now. However, new details have many industry insiders worried about the upcoming event.

Particularly troubling is the fact that STEEM wants to seize customer funds. STEEM conducted a soft fork last month – a move that ended with the platform seizing up to 20 accounts that initially operated on the HIVE blockchain. The seizure effectively means that STEEM froze the accounts, which held 17.6 million STEEM tokens. Those tokens were worth about $3.2 million at the time, and they equaled about 5 percent of the total STEEM tokens in circulation.

Explaining the move, STEEM explained that the accounts it froze met the following criteria: 

“Accounts that ran the version 0.23 during the Hardfork on Steem and were still in the Top 20 rank, shortly before the Hardfork. Accounts that proxied or directly voted to more than 10 witnesses running the version 0.23 on the Steem Blockchain during the hardfork with high influence. Accounts directly associated with operating these accounts.”

While the soft fork happened seamlessly, STEEM announced that it would go through another round of account seizures again this week. Network validators affiliated with Sun sanctioned the seizure of another 23.6 million STEEM tokens (worth about $5.5 million).

Like in the soft fork, they accused the account holders of posing an existential threat to the network.

The reactions immediately spiraled, with many on Twitter calling out Sun and his validators of taking money from people. Buterin eventually joined in with his jab, tweeting that every STEEM user should just go back to HIVE at this point.

Sun clapped back, asking why all Ethereum blockchain users shouldn’t move to TRON.

Real Consequences of the Account Seizures

Despite the fun banter between Sun and Buterin, what STEEM is doing isn’t so funny. Several of the witnesses that the platform accused of threatening its network have spoken up, explaining that STEEM has yet to present any proof of their claims.

‘pharesim2,’ a soon-to-be sanctioned user, lamented the development on Twitter. “My stake is currently worth >80,000€. I bought 500,000 last year,” he said. Another user tweeted that the upgrade will cost him $600,000.

In response to the development, several targeted users have sent a letter to major exchanges, begging them not to list the proposed hard fork. They further threatened that exchanges that comply with STEEM will be charged with criminal offenses – including securities fraud and grand larceny – and could face civil liability. 

For now, everyone can only watch to see how this will play out.

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