As the focus of STEEM's direction sharpens on SMTs (and Communities), I'm hoping it's time that we also ramp up the idea of more commerce or businesses on STEEM.
Not just digital products or services, but all kinds of products and services. Everything we can buy with fiat, we should be able to (sooner or later) buy with STEEM. In other words, getting to the point where we have a thriving global digital economy.
We need to get out of the mindset that STEEM is principally a Social Media platform. That should certainly be a component of it, but not the ongoing focus. Neither should it be principally an investment platform, though STEEM certainly needs more folks powering up more STEEM with the intent of staying for the long haul.
Aside from various dApps or STEEM front ends, games, gambling sites, etc., STEEM is yet to have a major breakthrough in commerce. Some have tried, but to date, those have not gotten off the ground. I'm sure they all have their reasons, but at least indirectly among them are the simple fact that those of us on STEEM and involved in different cryptocurrency are stuck between what we hope to be the future and the present.
In order to get there, though, there needs to be a mindset change. Many of us, if not the vast majority, aren't looking at STEEM in terms of STEEM itself, but how it compares to the fiat we all still mostly transact in. We need to pay mortgages or rent, utilities, food, transportation expenses, etc., with fiat. So, we keep an eye on the STEEM relative to the dollar, or whatever other currency we may use.
During the days where Bitcoin was on the rise and more and more businesses were jumping on the bandwagon, the ability to pay in Bitcoin for different things was on the rise, too. Some alt coins benefited, as well. Now, I'm not even sure where all that is, though I imagine there are still at least some places Bitcoin and other currencies can be spent.
There is a page, called THE STEEM ECONOMY with a listing of dozens of businesses that are supposed to accept STEEM. Some of them, like Splinterlands (aka STEEM Monsters), are pretty well known. Most of them are not, and while I haven't checked out every one of them, I would imagine that many are small businesses or essentially one-person operations.
As the saying goes, we need to start somewhere, and even having that many businesses accepting STEEM for products and services is awesome. STEEM needs dozens, hundreds, thousands more, and I feel it needs to happen soon.
At present, I'm sure that the value of STEEM to fiat isn't helping businesses to jump on board with STEEM. This could very well be an ongoing obstacle, at least into the foreseeable future. The cost of delivering goods and services in the so-called first world countries is pretty expensive, and without STEEM being at around at least $1.00 USD, purchasing things in STEEM can be tricky. Rather than something for $20 USD, a customer would pay the equivalent of whatever STEEM market value is, currently around $0.15 USD.
That would make that $20 USD item 133.33 STEEM.
Since most of us are earning our STEEM via the social media, gaming and gambling sides of STEEM, and the amounts are, by and large, not anywhere near minimum wage for most locales (let alone a living wage), that puts a lot of us in a bad place, even for a $20 USD item. What happens when we're talking about $1000-plus USD, like a lot of rent or mortgages will be?
I have a roughly small monthly mortgage payment of $349.50 USD. Even so, if I had all of the STEEM I have powered up liquid, I would last maybe four months, depending on what STEEM did in that period.
That's of course without paying anything else with STEEM.
So, living with, say, the mind in the crypto world and the rest of the body in the fiat world stinks.
However, there are places around the world where the cost of living is not nearly as high as it is here, where products and services relative to the STEEM price now is actually doable, if not more profitable.
The trick would be getting something started there with the limited resources available, since inevitably where cost of living is lower, so is the ability to make money. Wages generally don't keep up with the cost of living, so having extra to put into some kind of business to get it up and running, while feasible, is still a chore, and why I imagine we don't have many more businesses listed on The Steem Economy website.
However, believe it or not, I think it would be possible for a business to get up and running in places like the U.S., or Europe, too, even with STEEM value where it is. It would take more doing—a lot more people would have to be willing to take STEEM right off the bat, a pretty major miracle unto itself—but there are two major factors, with at least three subfactors that could get this going.
The major factors are the lack of government and central bank involvement as far as STEEM is concerned, which means STEEM isn't burdened with the subfactors of taxes, debt or inflation brought on by the practices of these colluding entities.
I intended to get into this idea earlier in this post, but instead, it has become more of an introduction to the concept or idea. Which means I will need to write a follow up post to explain where I'm headed with this.
While I'm doing that, I'll leave you to contemplate what I've written here (no new concepts really, just trying to push the ball down the field a little more, with hopes others will pick it up and run with it as others already have), and I will work on the next one. If you have thoughts or ideas about any of this, yay, nay, or in between, feel free to express yourself.