Steem is a high-performance blockchain with very fast, feeless transactions utilizing Delegated Proof of Stake (DPOS.).
DPOS + social networking is an excellent fit because the witnesses tend to voluntarily contribute to beneficial projects for said blockchain & can easily communicate with the community who vote for them.
Terms you need to understand before reading:
Steem, Steem Power & Steem Backed Dollar
Steem had no ICO, and have been around since mid-2016 reaching top 1,000 in website rankings on Alexa and has had over 1,000,000 accounts created (each account costing valuable resources). The Steem blockchain rewards the liquid decentralized cryptocurrency Steem, to its users through a method called Proof of Brain (PoB), and has given out over $70,000,000 to date.
Here are some reasons why I am bullish on the future Steem with links to content I find useful. All quotes are sourced from the header link for each section. (My Content Is Not Financial Advice, Crypto is a highly risky asset)
Communities will leverage Steem to deliver the ability for Community leaders to own the communities that they buidl. Communities add a governance layer which allows users to organize around a set of values. It introduces a new system of moderation, which is not dependent on users' Steem Power.
Many people want to see long-form, original content, while many others just want to share links and snippets. The goal of the community feature is to empower users to create tighter groups and focus on what's important to them. Use cases for communities may include: microblogging, curated journals, local meetups, link sharing, etc.
Like Subreddits on Reddit, a Steem Community can form a group around a niche, IE: Tag: Cars - Community: Bob's Lambo Club. Steem Communities allow you to take ownership over your group, being able to set the parameters you want; IE: Owner, Admin, Mod, Member, Guest. All of these roles can be given to people and will have different levels of control within said community.
The biggest companies in the world, from Facebook groups to Quora's Spaces, all proving market validation. The problem with how Facebook, Quora, and the rest are doing it is there is no openness, no decentralization, no censorship-resistance, no OWNERSHIP. Or, in other words, no STEEM.
New efforts to make non-blockchain "decentralized" platforms have to lead to headache after headache. From relying on 3rd party payment processors and being shut down, to being censored on 3rd party platforms while being overly reliant on them. The issue with what I call fake censorship-resistant websites, or unscalable ones (if a project can't scale, might as well be fake, 99% of people won't run a node, that is why we have DPOS blockchains) while some actually mean well, they are just missing the boat entirely and doing more harm than good.
Communities built on Steem are powerful, but when you combine them with Smart Media Tokens (SMTs.) You have something very special.
For more detailed info: Community Design Github
With Smart Media Tokens, Steem can give community leaders (whether they are app developers, businesses, or non-technical users) the financial tools they need to ensure that they, their community managers, and their community members are all incentivized to grow a community and buidl its value.
I believe reward tokens will have a significant role in how the internet works in the future. Smart Media Tokens will provide anyone the ability to create rewards tokens for their websites that is backed up by the Steem blockchain. No need to buidl your own blockchain or use a centralized database, Steem handles everything for you. Steem was the first mover for PoB and PoB token creation (Steem-Engine - Scot) - however, SMTs are built into the core Steem protocol, like erc20s are for Ethereum. Steem-Engine is a sidechain, which I'll get into next.
Influencers will be able to increase their brand awareness, raise capital with ease, and create an entire economy out of their business, product, and or talent. Being able to tokenize your skills and leverage that for capital now all while creating a speculative secondary market to drive future liquid demand to your token and business.
Steem-Engine.com is the first sidechain on Steem. This sidechain enabled smart contracts to be able to be built on Steem. This made it possible for Nonfungible Tokens (NFTs) and games like Steem Monsters to be built.
Steem-Engine scans all blocks added to the Steem blockchain for transfers, custom_json, or even comment operations that contain a certain sidechain ID. It then executes the smart contract function specified in the operation data and packages it into a block which is added to the sidechain. It also maintains the current state of the sidechain and all smart contracts running on it which can be queried using a familiar RPC API.
Steem-Engine will have all transactions posted to the Steem blockchain. However, the validation of the transactions will be done by a separate piece of software called The Steem Smart Contracts software (SSC).
The SSC software is free and open-source, and anyone may run their own SSC node and independently verify the transactions and query the current state of the system.
Scots purpose is making it possible to publish custom smart contracts to the platform. Scot allows token and dApp creators to buidl things that will not be possible with SMTs.
With Tribes, someone right now can go spin up their own Steemit.com IE: PALnet or Splinter Talk - these are Steem clones, with a niche-specific audience incorporating Scot rewards powered by Steem-Engine. Tribes also allow anyone to make what is called a Scottube.
Scottube allows anyone to spin up their own version of a YouTube (using D.Tube backend). In a few clicks, someone can make their own video site and easily incorporate Scot rewards, all using Steem-Engine. Tribes is an all in one inclusive place to have any social outreach methods you choose; video + blogging, all with a custom native niche-specific cryptocurrency of your choosing. Tribes are sort of a glimpse into SMTs/Communities, but with the added features like the power of Scottube capabilities.
HF21 - Steem DAO + The Economic Improvement Proposal:
One of the biggest improvements that can be done to the Steem economy is countering the reward pool abuse and leakage of Steem off the platform through abusive behavior. The Economic Improvement Proposal (EIP) aims to improve the economy Steem. The linked post above breaks it down, but here is a TLDR.
Author reward and curator reward split 50/50
Splitting rewards between authors and curators when upvotes are given evens the playing field vs. abusive behavior; the goal is to make curating as/more profitable as abusive behavior.
Convergent Linear Rewards Curve
This curve makes self-upvoting less profitable due to a slight non-linear curve at the start. Instead of one self-vote needed to hit linear for an average user, a post will need several stake based upvotes before it hits linear rewards. Thus, a single self upvote is less profitable then timely curating a post that gains lots of staked based upvotes. Even if a whale can get self-vote past the threshold from non-linear to linear, if that is the only vote the post receives, the whale is better off finding content that garners more upvotes and compounding that with their massive upvote that draws even more awareness to the post they are curating. Conveyor-belt to success.
Separate Downvote Mana Pool
Right now, it cost voting mana to downvote, meaning you must sacrifice an upvote to downvote. Thus, very few downvotes because it is seen as an opportunity cost. With the new system, everyone will get 2.5 free downvotes a day, after that it starts to cost voting mana again. The aim here is if people see spam on the trending page, they will use their free downvotes on the spam posts. The way Steem works, we have a shared reward pool distributed via upvotes, so when you downvote a post, that Steem goes back into the reward pool for everyone else to share. When people fail to downvote and let spam reach trending, it hurts everyone else’s rewards. Free downvotes, when used correctly, can be looked at as free upvotes in a way.
These three fundamental changes coming up in hard fork twenty-one (HF21) are significant and should fight reward pool abuse and make upvoting others genuine content the go-to way to make money on Steem as a curator. The economy on Steem has been broken for a long time in heavy favor of vote-selling and excessive self-voting. It reminds me of an old quote from the Gold Rush: "The struggle between right and 6$ a month and wrong and 75$ a day is a rather severe one." - A soldier said when fleeing his post to California to find gold. Without checks and balances, there is no working system. The EIP is the most significant effort to date to improve the economics of Steem.
The Steem Decentralized Autonomous Organization (DAO):
Ten percent of the reward pool will be going to a DAO (also known as Steem Proposal System, aka SPS). The funds will be used to support development on the Steem blockchain. Similar to Dash's Budget Proposal System. Right now, Steemit INC. has been doing a lot of the heavy nonprofit blockchain work (scaling, etc.). The DAO helps the Steem blockchain to become more decentralized by having a way to fund future work. The funding at today's prices would be around one million a year, and Steemit INC is going to be donating to help jump-start the fund.
So, why am I bullish? What is the catch?
Steem is an efficient database due to the upgrade called MIRA - (Multi-Index RocksDB Adapter) - MIRA lets data on Steem to be stored on a regular commodity hard drives, not in RAM. The scaling solution EOS struggles with until this day, Steem has quietly solved. With the upgrades to Steem recently, the cost of running a full node has been reduced by over eighty percent. Moreover, optimizations are being done daily.
Right now, if someone wanted to make a censorship-resistant website with crypto rewards using PoB, (and did not use Steem), one would need to use EOS or Tron (DPOS blockchain or one with high TPS). From there they would need to buy a bunch of costly ram (IE: Block Ones 25 million dollar ram purchase for Voice). From there the project would need to fork Steem 😂 because there is not a better PoB setup anywhere else (which many have done). From there create their own PoB token on high TPS blockchain, then find a community. Sounds unreasonable.
On Steem, there are Resource Credits (RCs) that are generated over time based on the amount of Steem Power (SP) you hodl. Meaning the more SP you have, the more actions you can perform on the blockchain. RCs will be able to be delegated when SMTs come.
So, I could buy SP, delegate my RCs to new users, and use the SP to upvote the users. I do not need to worry about making my own token as it takes a few clicks with Steem-Engine. I do not need to find a community because Steem has several already. As an example, the Tribe "SteemLeo," an investing community, was created recently on Steem and had instant traction. Other Tribes like Sports Talk Social and STEMgeeks are emerging with great success.
The future will be tokenized tags. Each tag with several different front ends and a variety of different tokens. IE: Car tag may have Lambo = Lambo token, Prius = Prius token, etc. Each with their own front end and communities, both public and private. From there, sub-communities will form like: Car - Racing - Lambo - Bob's Lambo Club, etc. However, to use/buidl any of these things on the robust immutable public Steem blockchain, you will need valuable resource credits. 🚀
Steem is censorship-resistant digital real estate that gives you regenerative resources 🌱 (use it or lose it) in an age where centralized social media is doing the greatest content creator purge, we have ever seen. Any public business that hodls users data must use industries best practices. Robust, immutable, censorship-resistant public blockchains are the industries best standard when it comes to data protection (Bitcoin, Steem have never been hacked on the blockchain level). There are only a few public blockchains built for web 3.0, and among those, there is a tiny fraction that you can buidl web 3.0 apps today. Steem is on the top of my list when it comes to undervalued projects with a great use case, now, not tomorrow, now. Skate to where the puck is heading, and that puck is heading straight for immutable public blockchains.
Some good reads from top witnesses: 🧠
Why you should consider Steem as a blockchain/cryptocurrency for your project/startup/business - The Real Wolf
It is time to start paying attention to Steem - Tim Cliff
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The great potential of STEEM can be capitalized on today, one simply needs to reach out and grab it!