Being an early adopter has its advantages. At the same time, it carries as assortment of risks.
Today, it is easy to see how nice it would have been to acquire Bitcoin in 2011 or 2012. The same is true for Amazon in 1998 or Microsoft in the late 1980s. We can see how the potential payoff can be incredible.
Of course, when it comes to technology, there is a lot of uncertainty. The risk associated with early adoption is greater. Imagine being an early adopter of Beta. Those who jumped on that bandwagon ended up with nothing.
We also see, as users, a lot of glitches. Often there are not a lot of program that go with the technology (think 8K TV or VR right now), something that may not appear.
On Steem, being here from the start would have provided tremendous opportunity. One of the biggest was to buy STEEM at 7 cents. Those of us who came after that time thought those days were gone forever. Incredibly, with the crypto-Winter freezing us out, we are close to those levels.
We also saw a time when the payouts were enormous. There were few people posting, hence the reward pool was spread out among fewer people. Those who had a lot of SP in the early days could make a post worth a ton with a single upvote. Posts on the trending page were worth many thousands instead of a the hundreds we saw for the past couple years. This filled up some wallets rather quickly.
It was not all sunshine and roses though. In March of 2017, from what I heard, there was great uncertainty. Many were legitimately questioning whether Steem would survive. It was not yet a year old, I guess there was some major in-fighting, and the market was turning very sour on STEEM.
In other words, it took some fortitude to buy large amounts of STEEM at that time.
With the run up towards the end of 2017, we know that move paid off. The question is will we see other opportunities like this?
What is incredible is we witnessed this situation repeat itself the last few months. This opportunity not only exists today but it will be repeating itself over and over. For the next few years, everyone is going to have the opportunity to be an early adopter.
Obviously, this is not the case with STEEM. The payout at the base layer are diminished compared to where they were the first year. This is something I expect to continue in the future as more people join Steem. The Steem ship will sail at some point yet that does not mean the opportunity is gone.
Over the past 4 months, a lot of Steem-Engine projects popped up. Most of them have a token tied to them. The ones that were tribes, ended up replicating the Steem model. This means that once again, early users were offered an opportunity.
In watching a few of the tribes, I noticed a number of different things. Like Steem in general, as more people starting using a particular tribe, the payouts for the top posts started to decrease. In fact, on one, I saw a poster comment how her payouts were going down. She did not realize what was happening, thinking that her followers were abandoning her. The truth is she was receiving a similar number of votes. What changed was the value of the votes were diminishing as more of the token was staked.
We also see the opportunity for individuals to amass a nice stake early on. This puts one in a good position to be one of the leading accounts in that tribe. Just like the Steem Whales, those who bought some of the token were suddenly cast into a Whale status. Naturally, at this time, it is worth a lot less but, depending upon what the tribe does, that could change.
These tribes are only a few months old. As time goes by, more tokens are issued. If the community is growing, that is spread out among a lot more accounts. If this translates into people posting, the reward pool is diluted for each person. Hence, rewards become harder to come by.
Those who do amass a following early on will be in better position than someone who joined today. This is only natural. Of course, this is easier to accomplish when there is less traffic on a site. Take D.Tube as an example: it has roughly 20 videos posted every minute. Life will be much different if that numbers jumps to 200 or 2,000.
What is completely mind boggling is this process is not going to stop. Going forward, every tribe created on Steem-Engine will offer the exact same opportunity. Anyone who gets in early will be able to follow the same pattern.
In the Spring, when SMTs are released, we will see another avenue where this is duplicated. Remember, SMTs create "mini-Steems". Thus, anything developed using that protocol offers the pathway for those who get in early.
This will continue with every new SMT and tribe created in the future. Even when Steem is 10 years old, a token created using the SMT protocol, presuming the system is not radically changed by then, will offer out "early adopter" status to those who jump on board.
Of course, this does not mean all projects will pan out. Again, we need to make sure we are early adopters in more projects that end up like VHS and minimize the ones that turn out to be like Betamax. This is a challenge all will face but that is part of the fun.
Ultimately, Steem is going to keep providing opportunities to individuals. If one ship sails, we only need to wait a little while for another project to show up. Being involved in Steem now enables all of us to position ourselves so that we can take advantage of newer opportunities as they unfold. The rewards generated from a few projects today can be used for many others down the road.
The formula for success is already written. It is uplifting to see so many following it. While the Whale status on Steem is out of reach for most of us, we are able to replicate this in other way. Many are positioning themselves in different communities at that level. What do you think happens if one or two of those communities gets 10K-15K users over the next few years? The value of that tribe goes up considerably. Thus, we will see those Whales looked upon the same as we do those holding 500K SP or more today.
Another interesting thing is a handful of tokens in some project that is nothing today could have some value in the future. We have no idea what tribes will truly break out down the road. The development taken with this is hard to follow in many instances and is very disjointed. While many will fail, there could be a few that turn into major success stories. One day, we might wake up to realize those 500 tokens in some project we wrote off is listed near the top of our Steem-Engine wallet.
Early adoption can create tremendous wealth. Steem is going to keep providing opportunities to people to become just that. This means it will never be "too late" for someone to get involved.
This is going to be an amazing opportunity over the next decade. Incredible things are going to happen as all of this unfolds.
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