There are three things coming out over the next 3 weeks that I think are going to be super important for Steem.
One could be a maker or a breaker. Another will be fantastically useful. The third could move us up a league.
1. MIRA & RocksDB
As Steem has grown, one of the big technical issues has been the ever expanding memory requirements for full API nodes and standard witness nodes.
To solve this problem Steemit Inc has been working on a new architecture involving RocksDB and MIRA (Multi Index RocksDB Adapter).
This will result in a 95%+ memory consumption reduction by moving our storage from memory to disk. Ultimately our target is to have Economic nodes (Full Nodes by a Bitcoin standard) running on commodity hardware with 4GB of RAM and a standard SSD.
In that same post Ned included a screencapture of a progress spreadsheet that showed the last RocksDB entry as 25 January mentioning internal testing. Then the spreadsheet moved on to SMTs.
I am possibly clutching at straws but I am hoping that the MIRA work will have reached some state of fruition by the end of January. Or at least some really definite announcement of a completion date by Steemit Inc.
Getting the memory requirements, and thus the very high costs, down will be so important to allow many more full API nodes particularly to come online. This will lessen reliance on Steemit Inc and further decentralise the network.
Steem really isn't the easiest platform for newcomers to get to grips with.
The standard signup procedure is slow and off-putting.
Once signed up, it can be rather a bedazzling maze of rather obscure terminology and less than intuitive interfaces.
Unless you are lucky enough to bump into a friendly mentor of some description early on, there is a high chance of drop-out.
Retention on Steem is very, very low.
Now we have a new project called @steemonboarding led by @anomadsoul and @coruscate. This looks very professional, will be available in multiple languages and shows great promise for significantly improving the onboarding experience for newcomers to Steem.
It is understood that @steemonboarding will be launching in the next couple of weeks.
3. Steem Business Alliance
Steem lacks a well-honed, well informed and well appointed front organisation to present the benefits of the Steem blockchain to businesses and investors.
Modelled at least in part on the Enterprise Ethereum Alliance the Steem Business Alliance will be launching very shortly to start presenting Steem to the outside business world.
I am hopeful that the Steem Business Alliance will really be able to move Steem's image up a gear or two.
It is believed that several of the major Steem DApps and Apps will form the initial member base, before it is opened up to a wider audience.
Matt has suggested that the launch is imminent so I am taking a punt and including it in my three week window.
These are exciting times ahead for Steem in the next three weeks, and indeed the next three months.
Which way the Steem blows may be significantly influenced by what happens in 2019Q1...
[ graphic by @pennsif ]