The Future of Steem is in ASIA! Intro+Ep1 : STEEM.CHINA ! Censorship and Scalability

in cn •  3 years ago  (edited)


In this first episode, we will attempt to prove why Steem needs Asian countries to scale and which strategy to adopt in each country, specifically China with their 721 434 547 Internet users, which is the biggest population of Netizens, Internet users in the whole world.

However, China is also known to be harsh and expert in Censorship. Did you know Chinese netizens can not access Facebook, Google, Twitter or even Instagram because of the GFW/GFC (Great FireWall of China) ? Blockchain and cryptocurrency allow many possibilities which make our project very sensitive. Since Steem will be used more and more as censorship circumvention tool and potentially free market, it is crucial that we consider the best strategy to avoid being flagged and prevent blocking from the Chinese government and avoid trouble with/to Chinese users.

S01.E01.The.Future.of.Steem.is.in.ASIA!-Ekitcho

Episode 1 : How STEEM can scale in China

Introduction

I've been spending the last few days working on this new idea : Steem can bring a new revolution in Asia, and needs those countries to be able to scale. I plan to go Japan and China in September to build a team and start working on the Asian Steem to reach one of, if not the biggest internet users population in the world that does not read, speak or understand English.

My first target was initially Japan: With their 115,111,595 internet users (#5 World ranking) and 91% penetration, Japanese mentality /mindset is quite ready for the cryptocurrency, micropayment, and new technology like Blockchain.

My Japanese friend from big VCs and startup world can introduce me to famous businessman and influent content authors from MATOME.
http://matome.naver.jp/

Naver Matome is a very simple curation platform that launched back in July of 2009. To date, it has accumulated more than 60 million users and billions of page views per month.

But what is the motivation for MATOME users to create content ? Many users do it to earn money. In November of 2010, Naver Matome began an incentive program, where some popular Matome users could receive payments as high as a few hundred thousand dollars. This program is now more and more famous as Matome rewards curation and content with money, from shared advertising revenue.

Which better niche could we expect for STEEM ? Those users will be glad to be able to win even more money on the Japanese-Steem than in the Matome system. That could revolutionize the Online advertising model and content rewarding in Japan !

Then I realized that I also have friends, investors in China since i had a company few years ago in Shenzhen and Hong-Kong.
Numbers are even bigger For China... :

  • WeChat has 1.1 billion accounts created, and almost 500 million daily active users ; That's Twice the USA / EU total internet users count !
  • QQ has more than 700 million active users !
  • Chinese internet user count is higher than the USA and all European countries combined

This is why we must have China on our blockchain.

Steemit has Chinese members in the community and we are really motivated by the same goal : help Steem to scale in China. I start to group up with the Chinese steemers and we are brainstorming on the best strategy to adopt almost every day, @abit @laonie @somebody @boombastic @xiaohui and a few more.

I've taken my decision. We will start by China, then Japan, India, etc. Feel free to contact me contact on steemit.chat to join the team if you can help in any of these countries : China, Japan, India, Indonesia, Viet Nam, Philippines, Thailand, South Korea.

Why Asia is the best target for Steem ?

In the TOP 20 Country Internet users, there are 9 countries from Asia. It is 1.7 billion users, which is 50% of the world internet users.
China, with almost one billion internet users, represents more than 20% of World internet users.

We can't expect to scale Worldwide if we do not consider Asian countries.

#CountryInternet Users (2016)Penetration (%pop)% of World Total
1China721,434,54752.2 %21.1 %
2India462,124,98934.8 %13.5 %
3U.S.286,942,36288.5 %8.4 %
4Brazil139,111,18566.4 %4.1 %
5Japan115,111,59591.1 %3.4 %

Check the Full list

What about Steem scalability ?

It's a matter of "Transactions per second" and transaction fee (Steem has no transaction fee) :

VISA handles on average 2 to 4000 transactions per second (tps) and has a peak capacity of 56000 tps.
Bitcoin is for instance restricted to a sustained rate of 7 tps due to its protocol restricting block size to 1MB.

Paypal has an average of 115 tps.

If Reddit were operating on a blockchain it would require an average of 250 transactions per second.

Steem is capable of at least 1000's of transactions per second and is built on the same blockchain technology as BitShares which has publicly demonstrated to be designed from the ground up to process more transactions every second than VISA and MasterCard combined.
To achieve this industry-leading performance, Steem has borrowed lessons learned from the LMAX Exchange, which is able to process 6 million transactions per second. Read more

Steem uses a Delegated Proof of Stake consensus mechanism and is built on the Graphene toolkit which is capable of 100,000 tps...


Credit image : @steempower

Steem is totally ready to scale in Asia and welcome all Asian internet users ! Our first goal is China. But The Golden shield and GFW will be a problem for Steem...

What is Golden Shield Project, and The Great Firewall of China

The Golden Shield Project (internet usage policy in China) prohibits internet users from using the internet to harm National security, damage interests of society, or reveal country secrets. It also states that users cannot create, duplicate, or access any information that provokes resistance against the government and/or government officials, promotes the overthrow of the government or destroys the social order in China.
The Golden Shield Project, a major part of which is the Great Firewall of China, is a censorship and surveillance project that blocks potentially unfavorable incoming data from foreign countries, is operated by the Ministry of Public Security (MPS) of the government of China. It is now used to attack international web sites using Man-on-the-side DDoS, for example to attack GitHub. (Read Wiki)

I suggest you to watch this old funny video from Michael Anti (aka Jing Zhao) :

The Chinese government created a network firewall, nicknamed the Great Firewall of China, that has the ability to filter content by preventing access to specified IP addresses. This allows the government to hide any existing web pages or web content that it does not want to be found.

Blocking methods :

  • IP Blocking
  • DNS filtering and redirection
  • URL filtering
  • Packet filtering, based on controversial keywords
  • etc.


More info on GreatFire.org

Why STEEM in its actual form may disturb to China GOV ?

@ned explains it clearly :

“Because it’s based entirely on a blockchain, Steemit shows what a social media can look like without censorship. Everything we see on Steemit.com comes from the open source Steem blockchain, so the entire network is replicable on any front-end application. Attempts at censorship can be proven by anyone with a blockchain explorer or another front-end application built on the Steem, so users can feel free to post how they really feel. This freedom is what empowers the Steemit community, and it’s one of the major ways we’re different from centralized, controlling and manipulative social media networks,”

This is exactly why the Chinese will not let Steem and Steemit.com passing through the Great FireWall. China can not let a website like steemit.com where any content can be posted without their filters, and never be censored or deleted. This is clearly impossible. And i can say that we share the same point of view with @abit, @laonie and @boombastic

But I read that the Blockchain cannot be stopped and cannot be suppressed, how will they do ?

Yes, you are right. It's not possible to delete a content in the blockchain but it's in fact very easy for China to block Steem and Steemit for Chinese users.
They can block all websites, DNS, IP, it could be a cat and mouse game by changing IP but at some point, they could just filter out steem packages, they certainly have the infrastructure set up already. GFW can even attack our blockchain nodes.

Internet censorship in China is not just limited to the web: the Great Firewall of China even prevents thousands of potential Tor users from accessing the network. You can read the report here How the Great Firewall of China is Blocking (Tor Philipp Winter and Stefan Lindskog)

Chinese people will still be able to use a VPN to connect, or deploy other packages or nodes that connect to the blockchain but it will be like doing illegal activities... Nobody will take that risk.

I see chinese content in #cn, still able to connect to Steemit.com ?

@abit

from my pov, steemit.com (the website) will be blocked with no doubt by China gov in the future, when politics topics about China arisen.

I share the same point of view. He is right. Steem is still small in China but when more people will come to post the forbidden topics or keywords, our blockchain will be flagged and they will start the process for the Golden Shield to block Steem.

So Is it over for Steem in China ? Which solutions ? Which strategy ?

Steem can disrupt China gov habits... Not only for the censorship matter but for several other determining criteria. They like to have everything under control so disrupting Chinese online advertising, micropayments or any of their everyday services will result in a Ban / Block / or maybe Attack.

We need to act carefully. But we are all confident and working on solutions. Our best bet is to follow the Chinese law and to be accepted by the government. It will require a lot of work.

@boombastic

the bad thing about the censorship in China is you don't know what's sensitive what's not, there is no list, at least there is no public list and censorship is not based on law, you just don't know why sometimes a word becomes sensitive
you need to have a contact person stand by 24/7 to handle censorship requests

The solution is to accept to filter the unwanted content. And Set up a censorship-friendly infrastructure. And manage the get all autorizations.

@laonie

Yes, it's worth to try, if we follow the rules, the worst thing is close the website, nobody go to the jail.
We can use robots to do the filtering.

What's the next steps ?

  • Continue building the team behind this project. It will start with China but I will try to manage the whole Asia extension and recruit members in each country (Japan, India, Thailand, etc.)
  • Brainstorm, brainstorm, decide the best strategy and plan for China then Japan in september
  • Go in China in September to prepare the company, handle the gov contact to submit the project (this is the process, in case we want to follow the law)
  • Finish building the website /package based on steemit, for Chinese including the filter system
  • You can join us in #china channel on Steemit.chat or even Weibo, Wechat group.

What is the future of STEEM in China in Mid-Long term ?

Honestly i can see Steem growing very fast if we do the job in China with all local requirement. It can scale to a critical-mass very quick and every be bigger than the actual steem community.
This may hold for a few years, but for how long ?

China does not like non-Chinese services. So when a big service arises, most of the time China tries to build his own copycat.

  • You have Facebook, we have renren,
  • You have twitter, we have weibo,
  • You have ebay, we have taobao
  • ... everything is copycat !
  • But how will they copycat @dan ?

    Credit image

If we follow this logic, China will likely copycat STEEM Blockchain if they feel like it's getting out of control...


China first, then Japan because of Matome and high tech lovers, but what about India ?

We should not forget India ! The potential is even bigger than expected...

Where are the indians ? Join us and contact me to help you coordinate the project, it will be a pleasure.


That's all for EPISODE 1 !
Feel free to contribute or ask any question. Sorry my english is not perfect it's not my native language i put a lot of work on this article.


Hope you enjoy until the next Episode (China Trip)

Image Credit : Internet Live stats

Bonus video

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A Chinese Steem front end would be amazing! So far some of our Chinese Steemians have been some of the best. Best of luck.

It would be great to enter the Chinese market, obviously. However, self-censorship for the sake of compliance with national policies is a very though and delicate choice, but on the other hand, the possibility of setting up a compliant steemit for China is also part of the beauty of working with open source software. ..

  ·  3 years ago (edited)

I weigh up the pros and cons and consider whether the risks are possibly greater than the chances of success... I think we still need to discuss it with the community and decide what is the best solution for China.
This post is also there to gather every point of view about this self-censorship. It really bothers me for the steem philosophy but do we have any other solution ?

  ·  3 years ago (edited)

first of all, what an ambitious plan! bravo for that! I have some feedback for you that I can think of now:

  • Taiwan is missing from the above list which might be a pity as it has high internet penetration rate as well as a significant enough population (at least 15 milions internet users I guess). besides the island is famous for its craziness in adopting new stuffs and its content business is most influential in the global Chinese population. It could have a positive role in your China approach (in this sense only as we all know the political relationship could be negative here) although I don't know how yet and it also depends on your current strategy.
  • Clarify the above a bit into 2 queries: 1) should target Taiwan market or not? (even not it will develop somehow as anyone can join); 2) in terms of developing China market, how should your team view the first point. No answers from me. Just for you to think about.
  • BTW, a question: why the Chinese government won't want to copycat this time if such a huge potential/business? They can limit the use of Steem in mainland China when you gain significant success, can't they?

A note. seriously I am quite reluctant to bring this up but feel obligated to as I am among the very few active Taiwanese here. I get along well with my dear cn fellow friends and wish them/you all the best in conquering this huge market. My dream would be to subdue all governments in the world and people happily connecting over steemit, especially with mainland China fellow friends.

@deanliu you should join us in the #steemdrive channel on steemit.chat

We discuss steemit.com promotion and expansion there. Let me know and we can get you an invite.

@instructor2121 thank you. I just join steemit.chat (same name). not familiar with it though. sending me invite is of course welcome. not sure how I can contribute but will be happy to give advices. cheers.

@deanliu glad to see we have taiwanese here ! I did not mention Taiwan because to me it's included into the Chinese internet Users mostly because of the Language. 15 millions is small compared to other asian countries and i feel like anything we will do for China will benefit to Taiwan too :)

So of course, we will target the Taiwan market. Thank you for your contribution it's helpful since i did even forget Taiwan existence for a second :D

About the copycat i believe it's very hard to build any Big service in China, that is not 100% under the Chinese hands (not only Control). So i expect them to answer by a copycat, but When ? It should let us enough time to get a huge impact on the chinese society, and bring our part of the revolution, even we may be stopped one day.
Everyone has a part to play.

thank you for the response. definitely the stats doesn't include Taiwan but I understand it is fractional in comparison. In addition, I wish to draw your attention to the issue of 'fonds and layout' for the Chinese languages (as I put it here). It is easy to solve I believe but definitely important. That's why now I am quite reluctant to write Chinese post as it does look awful. Cheers.

saw this post too ! Very nice contribution
thanks @deanliu

True Asia got the population to move steemit to the next level

Great article! Problems like this need to be spoken about and recognised so a solution can be developed. All the Chinese markets in social media that are being missed out on is like isolating a third of the worlds population! Good luck.

That's right @rea, you got me..
English speaking internet users is less than a billion
while non-english speaking users is more than 2.5 billion .. In these 2.5 billion, 30% are chinese !

China+India is already more than a third of the worlds internet pop :)

Can not speak about China. But, being from India, I can tell u Steem is creating euphoria among Indian bloggers.

Thats is such a nice information !!!
Lets start to group indian people who re motivated to build something big together in india
Welcome mate

Somehow Litecoin has become a massive success in China. I'm sure Steemit can too.

The best way is to get lots and lots of Steem seeds in China, maybe with anonymous providers. Hong Kong servers are also good, since they're often not blocked by the GFW.

Chinese users would need to run Steemit locally, but there's also the ability for some crazy people to play the same game that ThePirateBay and other sites have done for years. That is, jumping domains, hiding behind DDoS providers such as Cloudflare, setting up onion's for easy access via TOR, etc.

It's definitely important to try to get China in on this.

  ·  3 years ago (edited)

I did mention different techniques to pass the wall. But most of them requires some I.T knowledge which is not ordinary for common chinese internet user.
Also you must consider that this would put you in an illegal situation, i don't think chinese users want that.
I think if we do not filter and play the gov game, we will likely have only few chinese on Steem.. But thats my pov.

About Litecoin, i agree but it's not a social media ;)

  ·  3 years ago (edited)

Make it mainstream following the law ... and when it is non stoppable anymore ... well... be the law(?) :)

  ·  3 years ago (edited)

Thank for your point of view. I think it's the best choice for now, otherwise we will bring problems for Steem and chinese users.
Once the gov notice it and start to block, it will probably bring bad impact to other blockchains, even the whole blockchain industry in China. Sure the blockchains can fight back, but it would be a pain and probably low priority for the devs so we should of course be Cautious and be aware of our disruptive effect and its consequences for any protagonist

Excellent article. I don't think you ahould try to get the government's authorization, they will maybe not give it.

Find technical solution to censorship resistant software.

  ·  3 years ago (edited)

The problem of the technical solution to avoid their Firewall, is that it will make illegal the use of any service connected to Steem blockchain. That mean chinese internet users will not even dare to use Steem. I doubt Steem will scale if it's not easy to connect or even illegal.
Technical solution can protect the blockchain so the blockchain can't be oppressed, but it cannot free people for oppression...

please consider upvote a japanese friend, new on Steemit ! JAPAN is coming !!!
https://steemit.com/steemit/@jumpeiyamane/i-will-explain-what-is-steem-in-japanese-steem-14

Japan is coming ! That mean we will have our EPISODE 2 : JAPAN very soon !

keep connected ;)