There are some posts making the rounds regarding burning rewards, or setting up null as a beneficiary for posts at payout. After thinking about it for a while, I've decided that I like the idea over reducing the reward pool percentage or the overall inflation rate.
Why I Prefer It
First and foremost, it's voluntary. If people feel like they can do it or want to do it, no problem. They do it. As long as everyone else who doesn't choose to or don't feel they should aren't guilt tripped into doing it, I'd say we have a place to start.
It doesn't require a hardfork. Code doesn't need to be changed, and whatever downtime or bugs or whatever else might come can just be avoided.
It's proactive. It's something the community can do on its own, without Witnesses or a Dev Team to get behind it. Those of us who want to, can do it. To me, that might make a bigger statement than anything else we can do.
This Post Has Null As A Beneficiary
I'm not the first to suggest or to do this, so no credit being taken at all. I've only set it at 10% for now but I will probably look at adjusting it up depending on how things go.
Now What About Downvotes?
I knew this couldn't be an original idea, and sure enough, I ran across this post from not quite two years ago talking about burning downvotes instead of sending them back to the reward pool.
I'm not a fan of downvotes. I understand the reasoning. I get that people think they're essential. I'm not convinced they actually do what they're intended to do, which is incentivize quality content. In this current climate with some free downvotes, what seems to be happening far more is incentivizing honest content producers to give up.
I can't deny that downvotes exist. They do. I can't deny they could have a place if they were used judiciously. I don't think they can be, not when there's no set rules for using them and everyone is left to interpret what they think is best use. Or not. People can use them even if they think what they're doing is not helping at all.
What I've never liked is the idea that the rewards go back to the reward pool, supposedly, so they can be reallocated to posts that are more deserving. Based on what? Higher upvotes. Received how, and by whom? Supposedly through organic, manual curation, but I'd be hard pressed to believe, let alone have evidence, that such is the case. Not with self-voting and circle voting still prevalent.
Basically, it's one individual or group saying that the other individual or group shouldn't have it, that someone else should, without really knowing if it's going to get there, or for that matter, where it will end up. Who knows, it could just make the rounds back to where it was originally intended.
So, what if downvotes went to null. All of them. Or, downvotes could be set to a certain percentage of null, if we want to follow the model of post payout beneficiaries being voluntary, hardforkless and proactive.
If inflation is scaring off investors, if it's actually contributing to downward pressure on the value and price of STEEM, then instead of the rewards going to the highest earners, or going who knows where, the STEEM gets burned, and the supply continues to go down.
In My Opinion
I like the idea of burning STEEM. I know some have been doing it for some time on an experimental basis. I'm not here to say it's for everyone, except potentially when downvoting, but I am here to say that I prefer it to reducing the already reduced reward pool, or drastically cutting the overall inflation rate. From what I understand, the inflation rate is going down overtime, anyway.
We need to grow our way out of the lower STEEM price. We need more people powering up STEEM, however they decide to do that. We need less of it just floating around. We need to find ways to use it, through commerce, investing, what have you.
There will always be a good portion of us who don't like downvotes, even if we understand why they exist. Having them go to higher earning posts, however that is determined, only leads to resentment in my mind. Knowing that the downvotes are going to null, which helps everyone, not just those with higher earning posts, won't take the negative feelings away, but at least, to my way of thinking, they won't be compounded by a perception that the rich are essentially stealing from the poor, or however whatever is happening can be described.
It's something to try, that doesn't require a mountain of code, testing, or a hardfork, at least as far as setting null as some percentage of beneficiary goes. The downvotes going to null will require code of some kind.
Maybe the downvotes set to null can be something done with a SMT? Maybe it can be incubated among the Communities? It seems to me the code required to implement doesn't require a hardfork, but as part of a front end, like Steemit, SteemPeak or Busy. Maybe one of them is already doing it, or PALnet or some other tribe. Regardless, the more universally it can be done, along with some percentage of post rewards going to null, the more I think it helps STEEM.