Yesterday, the Steem blockchain went through the controversial hard fork 0.23 that seized the tokens of former Steem “witnesses” — blockchain validators that created another blockchain called HIVE.
The hard fork – codenamed “New Steem” – seized 23.6 million STEEM tokens from 64 witnesses.
A letter was also sent on Tuesday by a legal firm representing the affected members, urging cryptocurrency exchanges not to support the hard fork.
But Bittrex would be doing no such thing because the exchange co-founder Richie Lai said, “my own personal feelings do not matter.”
Yesterday, when $5 million worth of tokens were meant to be seized, they were moved to the main wallet of the Bittrex exchange in an attempt to move them to their original owners.
But it was for nothing.
In an official announcement, the exchange said they wouldn't be returning the funds.
“The fact is, we only interpret the data on the blockchain, and in this case, the consensus of the blockchain – regardless of how it was reached – agreed that the funds from those 64 accounts be moved to the ‘community321' account.”
Bittrex’s stance is clear, the witnesses are in control of the blockchain, and they get to decide what happens with these tokens. And now, unless Bittrex changes its decision, those Steem owners won’t be getting their funds back.
Back in December 2019, Tron founder and CEO Justin Sun bought the Steemit blogging platform. In February, this year, he made a hostile takeover of the platform which led the Steem community to build its own blockchain, Hive.
At that time he worked with Huobi, Binance, and Poloniex, which he acquired in November, last year. The crypto exchanges have a lot of power given that they used the voting power gained through customer’s funds. However, Binance and Huobi later withdrew their support and Sun has been since battling with the community.
About the latest hard fork, Sun denied his or Steemit Inc.’s involvement but said: “the hive witnesses did this to them first and took all their assets.”
He is also working with law enforcement to fight against the Hive witnesses.
“As for Steemit Inc., many millions of dollars were stolen by Hive witnesses. We are working w/ law enforcement & will take actions to get our funds back! We have lots of sympathy for all Steem witnesses who have suffered the same at the hands of the Hive witnesses,” wrote Sun.