Crypto, Commerce, and the Future of Steem
There's a lot of talk about how to get more people onto the blockchain, especially the Steem blockchain. It's easy to get some people on to Steem - just tell them they get paid for blogs and voting and commenting on other blogs, or add some gambling games and yeah there will be people come on board for sure.
But those people don't really stay or engage for long and pretty soon we're right back to the abysmally low numbers of active users. Why is this? What can we do to improve those numbers and actually get a good cross section of people to come, engage and stay on the blockchain?
First, we have to get the point across that cryptocurrency isn't the blockchain. That the blockchain is a whole lot more than the latest ICO being spammed across the universe, or the latest Bitcoin ticker price, or the latest token airdrop that might someday if the stars align be worth more than a few pennies.
The blockchain is potentially the most exciting development we've seen yet. It has the opportunity to change the lives of everyone on the planet. By enabling things like safe, immutable storage of documents - real estate records, citizenship records, wills, and almost any "official" record you can think of. By allowing power companies with an excess stock of "green power" t send that power to the homes that need it, regardless of who their coal fired power company may show up on their bill. By allowing farmers to directly sell their crops to the buyers who need them with no middle man taking a cut in between or storing the food until they can squeeze more profit for themselves from it.
And yes, allowing the transfer of "money" instantly from any point on the globe to any point on the globe without any government or traditional bank standing in the way of that process.
So we need to become evangelists for the blockchain - to overcome the idea that the blockchain exists merely for the transfer of crypto from one person to another. The blockchain is not merely a haven for dark money, or sketchy ICOs or FOMO churns of airdrops. The blockchain opens opportunity to everyone, in every corner of the globe, no matter what their station in life or their economic level may be.
The second thing we must do to attract new blood to Steem is to actually make it fulfill it's promise of disruption. I want to SEE that disruption in action! I don't give a flip about games on the blockchain. I can gamble in many places unrelated to the blockchain. I play WoW and no - so far nothing on the blockchain comes close to that immersive experience and probably won't for a long time. It takes time and money and skilled manpower to develop a game that holds audience interest for more than a few weeks and can successfully compete with the Play Store or the App Store.
Steem is not going to disrupt the game world anytime soon.
Steemit is good. It's a great idea, and only really has Medium as a competitor. Although Medium has a bazillion more users and readers than Steemit, it could have some advantages over other platforms. It has a whale and bot problem to resolve to make it truly peer driven, disruptive and decentralized.
What I would love to see is Steem disrupting online commerce. I want to see Steem being a choice to giant Amazon for writers, and artists and crafters. We need a platform on the blockchain that accepts Steem tokens, maybe some major crypto, PayPal and perhaps even a small handful of fiat moneys like USD and Euro. The Homesteaders group has begun a very promising "storefront" that does some of this and I am carefully watching their progress, holding my breath in hope that they gain a solid foothold.
Opening a world wide peer-to-peer network of buyers and sellers using the blockchain and crypto for transacting business would be HUGE. Offering a viable alternative to Amazon, Etsy, even eBay would be a world changer. No more regulations that stifle business coming down on a whim from the high halls of a giant corp. No more onerous fees and lack of access to customers. And no more wondering if the sales figures given to you from Amazon are really true! Now THAT would have buyers and sellers beating a path to the Steem door!
Another major player I'd like to see the blockchain tackle is YouTube. Yes, I know there is Dlive and Dtube and Dsound. But running a major video site takes a lot of money and storage and computing power. I don't know from a tech standpoint if the Steem blockchain is up to that task, but I sure would like to see it happen. The way creators are treated and taken advantage of on YouTube is beyond disgusting.
In short, bring commerce to Steem. Bring true transparency to the transactions. Bring true peer to peer interaction for buyer and seller. The sellers are the ones who bring value to the existing platforms. Products and marketing from Amazon sellers bring more visitors to Amazon, feeding their bottom line. Creators put videos on YouTube, market those videos and bring in ad money and visitors that YouTube uses to build their bottom line. The people actually doing the work for both Amazon and YouTube get a tiny fraction (if anything) of the monetization they bring to these giants.
Isn't this something the blockchain can disrupt? And in that disruption, wouldn't it help Steem build a solid base of enthusiastic users? Taking Steem beyond the navel gazing, closed whale and vote bot driven community it currently occupies and bringing it's potential to the far larger world outside would be something that would help the blockchain fulfill it's promise of a new transparent technology capable of disrupting and changing almost every aspect of the world we are saddled with today.
So here's to the thinkers, the doers, the dreamers - let's change the world through Steem and the blockchain.