On the 31st March 2016 an account with the name @freedom was set up on steemit. This account is the second largest account on Steemit behind @steemit, which is Steemit Incs official account.
Who is this Freedom Character? This has remained an unanswered question on Steemit for a long time now. In fact not long after I joined Steemit @aggroed covered the same topic with the post ‘The twelve million dollar miner: who is @freedom?’
I would really suggest that you read this post, as it made a starting point for me and the analysis I carried out to try and answer this question. Who is Freedom?
The Basics and Background
@freedom has never made a post, however this account has voted and has also set a proxy for witness voting. Although not currently voting, @freedom is now leasing out its Steem Power and is earning benefactor rewards. @freedom is very much active on Steemit.
@Freedom was set up in the first week as a mining account. Here are some very interesting facts
Taken from https://steemworld.org/@freedom
I recently looked at some data on Recovery accounts and found that 155 accounts were mined at the start that contained a recover account other than @steemit. However there are only 9 distinct recover accounts for these 155 accounts..
One of these is @paladin.
@freedom is a witness, so is @paladin. @paladin is account 519. It was set up after @freedom and also have a witness proxy set to @pumpkin. I find it interesting that @paladin has @steem as a recovery account
@pumpkin is also a witness, and like @paladin it has a recovery account of @steem. An official Steem Inc. account
My First three suspects, @paladin, @pumpkin or Steem Inc.(@steemit @steem @steemitadmin)
Steemit Inc. is a suspect, but when looking into all of this it was pointed out to me by @teamsteem
“One other interesting fact is that @misterdelegation has almost the same amount of SP than Freedom. Misterdelegation is from Steemit Inc.”
Does this mean that Steemit Inc. respected the fact that Freedom needed to be the largest SP holders and so not be Steemit Inc. but an investor?
Delving into the Data
Using steemsql which is held by @acrange and using my favorite tool, Power BI, I have set up a number of queries to look deeper into the data.
My first query was to look at the Account Updates for @freedom . This is because @paladin was set up after @freedom, yet @paladin is the recover account for freedom. I can also see from steemworld.com that @freedom had an account update. However this gave me very little detail.
The next point of call was to try and establish relationships between @freedom and other steemit accounts. Without reinventing the wheel, I have taken the following list from @aggroed posts. These accounts have been connected to @freedom as miner accounts that powered down directly to @freedom. @paladin appears again!
@testdrive, @skywalker, @simpson, @paladin, @moment, @microsoft, @klm, @galaxy, @firstclass, @fantasy, @excalibur, @eternity, @disney, @diaphanous, @butterfly, @books, @commedy, @bmw, @blackjack, @apple, @alphabet @bitcoin2016
By Observation of the Accounts table in the database I have also taken the following accounts
@freedom-1, @freedom-2, @freedom-3 , @freedom-4, @freedom-5 ,@freedom-6 ,@freedom-7 ,@freedom-8 , @freedom-9, @paladin-1, @paladin-2, @paladin-3, @paladin-4, @paladin-5,
First Looking at the Votes table together these accounts case 4297 votes to 175 distinct authors. If I filter this down to 2016 there are 157 unique authors and 3819 votes. The table below on the left shows the number of votes case by each of the accounts and the average weight in 2016 and on the right we can see the authors sorted by the number of votes received
We can clearly see from this that @dantheman received the most votes from this bunch in 2016. However I am excluding @dan from this analysis because it has already been looked at in detail if @freedom is @dan
If we drill down a little further to see the votes cast from March – 31 May 16
And filtering this further to see just the votes from @freedom
We now have two further name we can add to our list of possible suspect’s @xeroc and @testz
@xeroc has their account details set up and can be traced back to a person. Looking at recent activity shows votes on posts relating to bitshares.
@testz maybe another official steemit account?. Looking at recent activity on steemd.com/@testz, this account is in receipt of benefactor rewards just like @freedom. Other important things to note about activity on this accounts
There has been recent votes to @dan eos & bitshares
It also looks like this person speaks or is from Russia and supports a lot of ‘project’ based posts with upvotes.
“Dear utopians and steemians!
I was the guy who shows Crowdin for DTube team, help them start using it and make Russian translation. 😉 Looking forward then @steeminator3000will give me proofreader permissions for this project.” 😉
By looking at the voting history, it appears this account support projects, giving votes to posts on and from busy and utopian-io and Zappl
In the word cloud below, we can see the key words in the permlink for the first posts voted on by @freedom. I see bitshares in here. This is not the first time bitshares has come up in this investigation. It was mentioned in previous posts that it could be someone from Bitshares, a friend of @dan maybe?
I also see the word ‘bot’ which is rather interesting, but I will get to that later on.
While looking at the data, I also looked at the transfers table to see how STEEM and SBD is moving between these account. There were no transfers that raised any suspicion between these accounts. There was however 2 small transfers made by @freedom to @bittrex. Using the memo as a reference, I also searched the entire transfers memos to see if I could find similar memos, or other account transferring out to the same wallet. I didn’t find anything with this either.
My next point of call in the data were details of delegations made. As of lately @freedom has been delegating steem power.
A quick look at @freedom wallet and it is clear to see many people want delegation and are prepared to pay for it
Here is the current list of account in receipt of delegation from @freedom as at 12:00 GMT 14/11.
However other people have also received delegation
Upvote bots such as @bellyrub, @minnowbooster and @buildawhale were also in receipt of delegation. This is very interesting as the use of these bots has been questioned by the community a lot in recent times. Bot also appeared in the word cloud above on very early steemit posts. This lead me to looking at other accounts that gave delegation to these upvote bots
Heres what I found
@itchykitten, @storcogato and @sunshine all delegated power to @bellyrub and @minnowbooster.
@minnowbooster delegated power to @buildawhale
@smooth also delegated power to @bellyrub and @buildawhale
@smooth was set up in March 16, account number 234. Could this be another possible suspect?
@sunshine was also a very early adaptor and both @smooth and @sunshine still delegate but don’t share any other delegate in common.
@utopian-io has delegation from both @ned and @freedom
Text and other data sources
While speaking with @teamsteem on discord, he pointed out to me that there was an article in the Guardian last year where ned said he had an angle investor
Scott said the company had a “superangel” investor that helped it get off the ground last February. It will use this momentum to raise funds from institutional investors.
From what I know, @ned and @dan were partners. So this had to be someone that either @ned or @dan brought to the table. @dan has since departed and has been powering down. Although we may note above that bitshares has been mentioned
A Clue ?
At this stage I was tending towards someone that @dan brought to the table. But then I get this from @teamsteem
This is a witness update, from one of the linked accounts. Look at the url. So I went straight back to the database and pulled all the witness updates that contained the url https://steem.io
Check out the list below. All of these account posted a witness update with the url https://steem.io on the same day.in September 17
What I also found from the 13th May 16 was an account called @fox also had a witness update that linked to the same site, without the secure part http://steem.io. @fox seems to be someone that came from bitshares but may be part of the staff
Does that mean that all of these accounts are ‘steemit Inc.’ accounts? Is Steemit Inc. @Freedom or is Steemit Inc. protecting the identity of @freedom?
The projects @freedom is supporting now with delegation are more community and steemit based then personal profit based projects by the delegatee. Is @freedom listening to the community? Or just listening to @ned as @ned stalks us all?
Have I come any closer to identifying @freedom, I don’t think so , but I do think @ned and @dan know the answer.
I would like to thank @teamsteem for suggesting I do this analysis and post, and also giving me some awesome tips to follow. In addition I would like to thank everyone that makes Steemit data easily accessible. In this analysis I used, steemsql, steemd, and steemworld
I am part of a Steemit Business Intelligence community. We all post under the tag #BIsteemit. If you have an analysis you would like carried out on Steemit data, please do contact me or any of the #bisteemit team and we will do our best to help you…