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.
Episode 1 : How STEEM can scale in China
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.
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.
|#||Country||Internet Users (2016)||Penetration (%pop)||% of World Total|
|1||China||721,434,547||52.2 %||21.1 %|
|2||India||462,124,989||34.8 %||13.5 %|
|3||U.S.||286,942,362||88.5 %||8.4 %|
|4||Brazil||139,111,185||66.4 %||4.1 %|
|5||Japan||115,111,595||91.1 %||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
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 ?
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.
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.
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 ?
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