Have you wondered who is holding the majority of circulating tokens or cryptocurrency for a blockchain social platform or how they’re distributed? Today we are going to dive into each major platform and do a comprehensive breakdown with the information we have available to us.
I also want to point out this has nothing to do with wanting to correct wealth inequality, but rather to point out which platforms have the least/most centralized distribution and or holding of wealth and which platforms have the most equal opportunity to earn. This is absolutely not about supporting equal outcome, but rather to inform, share, and summarize the information publicly available to us all aside from the few inquiries I made to confirm various things. What’s actually more important on social applications is social inequality. Where you can assert your power over someone else to influence them in some way.
This is meant to expand upon my previous post on this that goes into lesser detail on the wealth inequality on a few platforms which you can check out below:
I’d like to cover more platforms and be more in-depth with this breakdown given the response to the previous article and video. You will see some information repeated and I will dive in further to some of it. Also, note that I do a lot of calculations here so if something is slightly off, feel free to correct it, but in the grand scheme, it’s likely to be negligible.
The reason I wanted to do this is that it’s important to understand how the token economies of each platform work to make a more informed decision about where you will invest your time and effort. There are many platforms that fully control the sale of their token which means it’s highly centralized and they also control the price. Do keep in mind that with some of these breakdowns, there are large accounts used for token withdrawals, rewards, and airdrops that are controlled by the platforms. I don’t think it’s the most ideal to have all the cryptocurrency already mined and held by one entity, but I recognize that it’s not the same as where only a few entities hold the majority of a token. Also, I’d like to state that wealth inequality is a natural consequence of Zipf’s law because that’s generally how economics works. Though Steem does a good job of fixing this and Publish0x completely solved it with crypto-agnosticism.
We are taking a hard look at every platform and be very critical and unrelenting. I still use these platforms and appreciate them and their staff, but we are going to dive deep and bring everything to the surface.
My previous deep dive into Steem was pretty spot on, so I’m going to reiterate most of it here. To summarize Steem has the lowest wealth inequality of any platform compared, but it doesn’t do so well in terms of how centralized control has become for the blockchain by the witnesses in way of ridiculous amounts of staked Steem power and the influence and vests that allows for.
For Steem at https://steem.com/ you can see on CoinMarketCap that the current circulating supply is 351,084,363 as of writing this here: https://coinmarketcap.com/currencies/steem/. We can see on https://steemdb.com/accounts/steem that the top 10 accounts for holding Steem hold 89,281,022 Steem and 26,465,182 worth of Steem in SBD. That’s close to 1/3 of all Steem in circulation which actually isn’t too bad compared to other platforms. The top accounts from 11-20 only hold 4,517,568 and from then on out it’s much less. Given there are 131,618 it makes sense that it is much more dispersed, and they’ve clearly got the best model for spreading and distributing the wealth.
The thing is though when you consider vested power you can see that centralized control can then take place if the top accounts work together. This is as of 1 year ago which is a bit outdated since most websites stopped updating us on this, but it still paints the picture for you: https://steemdb.com/accounts/vest. The top 10 accounts have 195.27 GV which means Gigavests. Vests are how much influence they have on the network.
When we look at the witnesses who are voted in based on vesting here: https://steemdb.com/witnesses. You can see the number 1 witness only has 446.780 MV. 1 GV is equal to 1000 MV. That means when you look at the top 10 accounts, 1 single account has more vesting power than all the vests and votes given to witnesses. Witnesses determine the rules and policies and when to hardfork the Steem blockchain which is supposed to be decentralized and yet one single account can change all the top witnesses with ease.
The point here is that unless you dig deep, you won’t realize that it’s essentially just as centralized as any other centralized platform with the guise of decentralization masked behind a lot of highly technical infrastructure. At least though in terms of wealth inequality, Steem seems to be the lowest compared to the rest of the platforms that wealth inequality is possible on, the control over the blockchain and its policies is completely centralized, but the moderation and many other aspects are in fact centralized. It’s sad though that because someone joined up early or bought a lot of Steem that they can ruin someone else’s reputation with ease. I still love Steem and this isn’t a jab at them. It’s purely to share this knowledge.
Publish0x completely solves the issue of wealth distribution by removing itself from the equation and introducing the concept of crypto agnosticism. They don’t have their own cryptocurrency thus there can be no wealth inequality but there is also no way to stake and thus no way to exponentially gain more wealth and widen the wealth gap. Instead, everyone gets tips given freely by sponsors and the users decide how much they receive and how much is given out.
I’m not bashing the idea of staking as it’s great for increasing the value of a platform, but with crypto-agnosticism, we avoid issues like if the token value goes down, people stop using the platform as we saw with half of Steemians leaving Steem after the 2017 crash. It also avoids issues like when platforms sell tokens and aren’t listed on exchanges and then change the price like DLive or Minds or when the price does hit exchanges it’s worth much less like with Uptrennd.
You can see statistics on the amount given out under the “Earnings Chart” listed here: https://www.publish0x.com/stats. The only ways to earn are from tipping whether you are the tipper or the one being tipped. The minimum tip is 20% and the maximum is 100% while the rest of the allocation is received by the tipper for their time spent consuming the content and rewarding them for participating in the ecosystem. It’s simple, but very effective.
According to https://coinmarketcap.com/currencies/basic-attention-token/, the circulating supply is 1,345,449,189 BAT and the total supply is 1,500,000,000 BAT. You can check out https://etherscan.io/token/0x0d8775f648430679a709e98d2b0cb6250d2887ef for more information on the 213,351 BAT addresses and https://batgrowth.com/ for statistics on creators involved in their creator program. In the top 20 accounts, Binance, Bittrex, and Uphold about 16.59% of the total BAT totaling 249,044,128 BAT. There is also a UGP reserve of BAT with 141,300,811 representing 9.42% of the total BAT. The top 25 accounts hold 57.60% of the total BAT and while that is a high number, it’s largely made up of exchanges and it’s not because anyone earned unfairly, it’s mainly based on buying and selling or donations.
Everyone has a totally equal opportunity to earn because all the BAT is earned from allowing your attention to be monetized with ads and then from there, people donate to their favorite creators through the creator program. There is no staking feature or ability to exponentially earn.
This rewards everyone equally regardless of demographic, or any other variables.
Only 5 accounts hold more than 60% of all the existing LBC on the platform LBRY at https://lbry.com/. You can see that the top 5 accounts hold 226,470,607 LBC. That is 63.71% of all the LBC in existence today. The top ten hold 406,055,153 which is 69.91% and beyond that, it starts to be much less. You can find all this here: https://explorer.lbry.com/stats. Note that the first 3 accounts as well as the 10th, 13th, 50th, and 51st top accounts are all held by LBRY. I couldn’t find the overall number of accounts holding LBC.
You can see that according to https://coinmarketcap.com/currencies/library-credit/ that the circulating supply is 284,003,226. When we consider all of this it seems that LBRY is holding onto a massive stockpile of the currency and judging by the account transaction of the LBRY owned top accounts, they don’t seem to be used for rewards or anything similar to that.
There will eventually be 1,083,202,000 LBC, but how much of it will be distributed amongst creators and how much will be kept by LBRY accounts? Their coin and their platform have been doing increasingly well but always consider the token economics. The only exchange trading LBC is Bittrex with a little over 2 million LBC being sold. That is only about 0.08% of the total supply that is accessible for purchase. While there is LBC to be earned, most tips come from users who have accumulated a lot or purchased a lot. The point is that like most other platforms there is a huge gap between how much LBRY is holding and how much is distributed out.
Again, it’s not necessarily malicious to have a model like this, but it is set up in a way that is mainly meant to benefit LBRY much more than the users where they will be able to cash in on the users’ hard work and intent to buy that would raise the value of LBC over time. I don’t condemn them for it, but many platforms offer much more equally shared token economies without amassed wealth kept by the platform. Again, part of the motivations for leaving legacy platforms was because it was all about benefiting them and not the users. Simply put, this model is geared more towards the platform than its users. Now if on the other hand, the LBC in these LBRY owned accounts was used for some community rewards then that would be awesome, but as it stands I’m pretty sure that’s not the case.
According to https://etherscan.io/token/0x07597255910a51509ca469568b048f2597e72504#balances there are only 668 addresses holding 1UP. It started off with 10 billion 1UP tokens which are now at 999,018,340.7. Currently, the Uptrennd withdrawal supply account holds 980,073,122 which is 98.1% of the tokens. Originally, they were sold by Uptrennd for $0.05 each and now they are only sold by 2 exchanges. Altilly has 1,340,800 1UP and Idex has 372,461 1UP. Withdrawals only became possible earlier this year and I was testing it immediately. That was in May. Given the account with 980 million is used only for withdrawals now, I would assume that a massive portion of tokens were sold at a very high price while they now go for about $0.0023. In fact, looking at the leaderboard for earners this month, the top earner has earned approximately 85,000 1UP points.
When using the table on https://docs.google.com/spreadsheets/d/12KJDx33PbtviMD6cvORVHjRPKzaEmTNqbJjY6t2h15A/edit?usp=sharing we can see that at level 21, about 34,293 were locked in. Locked in points are still points and not tokens and can never be retrieved, meaning that Uptrennd instead of paying out from their 980 million account gets to keep it as long as they keep reinvesting their points into leveling up. Now this person kept more than half of their points but sadly they are only now worth $116.61. If they had bought that value worth of tokens originally, they would have only received 2,332 which is a tiny fraction of what it is now. The promise was that your vote was worth $0.05, but that’s not the case at all. In August they burned 9 billion coins to help with the price value being so low.
In this post: https://www.uptrennd.com/post-detail/ann-uptrennd-updated-tokenomics~ODQ1NTQ= they announced they would be burning 30% of the locked-in points that they get back and dedicating another 20% to their community growth fund. This means that 50% of what was leftover goes back to them.
Using their stats at https://www.uptrennd.com/stats, I will share exactly how many were issued and locked in which will show us approximately how much was sold based on what’s unaccounted for. We’re looking at from January up until the end of October of 2019. I’m not sure why they share everything except overall point issuance. To understand the calculation, for example, take January 2019. There were 46,731 points locked in it was 39% of what was issued meaning that there were 119,823 points issued. I will continue doing this to get the total.
After doing the math I landed on an issuance of 10,443,991 and of that 4,863,268 were locked in. This means that there are about 5,580,723 potentially withdrawn from earnings. Given half of the 4,863,268 was kept by them, that means they got back 2,431,634 tokens. Now, we know there was a burn of at least 9,000,808,804.5 which leaves us with roughly 999,191,195.5 though given the total supply is 999,018,340, it isn’t totally accurate, and some were burned elsewhere, but it’s close enough. This is assuming that they only started burning after the August announcement. Now that leaves us with an account of 980,073,122. We know that only 10,443,991 were issued. That means close to 9 million are unaccounted for. The founder shared with me that they sold 44,947 points at 0.05 for a total of $2,247.35. Presumably, the other rest of that 9 million were paid to staff or potentially used for community rewards on the leaderboard given those weren’t counted in the issued points.
Now it makes sense that they wanted to sell the tokens originally to earn money to support the project since they had no ICO. It’s good they discontinued it though as anyone who bought in early saw their investment drop down by approximately 95.4%. Also, note that a large portion of the highest rated content on the platform is sponsored content aka advertisements which of course bring in money as well. Also, they announced token buy-backs 5 months ago here: https://www.uptrennd.com/post-detail/ann-1up-listing-the-reason-we-exist~MTYyNTM=. The problem is that they are buying back tokens on exchanges currently at 95.4% less than what people bought it for if they did buy it. They originally boasted that every vote was worth $0.05.
Points were sold for several months at $0.05 by Uptrennd directly. They only sold points that weren’t actual tokens on the Ethereum blockchain and just points accounted for on Uptrennd until they enabled withdrawals allowing you to convert them into actual tokens. An issue I see with this system is that there could technically be more points issued than tokens available. It makes sense given its deflationary but imagine a point where there are more points than tokens and everyone wanted to withdraw. It’s a big if, but it defeats the purpose of claiming it’s deflationary when you can make loopholes around that.
Now if after all that you are thinking well let’s not include what Uptrennd owns to determine wealth inequality, the difference between the 2nd top account and the 50th is 2,777,777 down to 7,920. The wealth difference is completely insane and I’m willing to bet the only accounts in the millions or hundreds of thousands are the staff accounts.
On a slightly lighter note, the website appears to be running much faster and I still support the project and would like to see them expand out and allow for communities outside of just crypto and blockchain.
For https://trybe.one/ I managed to find a block explorer and statistics on https://eospark.com/token/trybe/trybenetwork. There are some other block explorers with the same statistics to corroborate this information at https://eosflare.io/token/trybenetwork/TRYBE.
There are 30,379 Trybe holders, a current supply of 1 billion, and a max supply of 2 billion. 6 of the top 10 accounts are owned by Trybe, part of which are used for rewards. Trybe owns 489,344,407 or a little less than half of the current Trybe supply. The top 10 accounts do hold about 95% of the current supply. This is excluding staked amounts which we will cover next. Apparently though, 668,188,869 is 95% of the liquid supply because the 1 billion current supply includes staked tokens. Excluding what Trybe owns, the total balance of the top 10 is 178,844,462. The accounts 11-30 have 45,946,729 Trybe and the accounts 31-100 have 18,568,022 Trybe. Beyond that, there is much less. This means that for liquid tokens excluding what Trybe owns, there are 243,359,213 tokens held by the top 100 accounts which is 100%+ which doesn’t technically make sense since apparently accounts 501+ hold a negative value.
The top 10 staked Trybe according to https://trybe.one/wallet/airdrops hold 77 million Trybe. Accounts 11-25 hold 43 million Trybe staked. Some of these statistics don’t fully add up but given that past the 50th stakeholder it’s below 743,000 staked, you can see there is a pretty big gap between the top 100 liquid Trybe account and staked Trybe holders and the rest of the users on Trybe. Trybe has the largest wealth gap out of any major platform in existence.
Regarding this information, the core Trybe team gave a statement saying “So, we still own most of the tokens in various different accounts. Those tokens have been issued but they haven't been distributed yet. We will be using them for content rewards and staking rewards over the next few years. The roadmap changed a bit from the initial intent of having a token sale whereby we decided to reward active members of the community.
The reason they are spread across various accounts is primarily for security. In addition, unlike most platforms where all the tokens have already been distributed, we are keeping most of ours in reserve to use as the platform grows.”
While that is fair, it’s always slightly concerning to me when entities hold a reserve of the majority of a cryptocurrency which they aren’t beholden to actually use in any which way. I have much more faith in systems where the tokens are automatically distributed as they are created like Steem and not held in a stockpile controlled by one entity. Mind you, I’ve stated many times in the past that I’ve never been a fan of EOS dapps given how the many flaws in the network. Currently, I can’t even make transactions due to a crazy high CPU usage on the network.
There are 9,707 Narrative members and 1,073 active niches (topics) on the platform. Point earnings from April to October 2019 including referral totaled 9,300,807. You can see this on other statistics listed here: https://www.narrative.org/hq/reporting/network-stats.
You can refer to Coinmarket or https://www.cryptocurrencychart.io/currencies/NRVE/narrative/ to see that the max supply will be 179,428,004, the current total supply is 82,428,004, and the current circulating supply is 44,210,970 NRVE. It’s hard to tell how the inequality is fairing given there are no statistics I could find on token holders. Their current volume is extremely low today being 270.96 with an all-time high of about 98,000. The point being that not many people are buying NRVE and I recall recently someone pointing out that you’re more likely to lose money acquiring a niche because the amount you earn will be less than you spend on it and you must renew it yearly. Their currency can be acquired on Switcheo, Bilaxy, and LAToken.
Given that 11.3% or so of the current total supply has been given out in the form of rewards and you cannot stake your NRVE, the wealth equality seems pretty fair on here. However, I will point out that it seems pretty foolish to have a reputation system where you must pay via a centralized payment processor (Paypal) to certify and that it makes up 30% of your reputation score. You must also give a government ID to certify. I understand why they might have this for verification processes as most platforms would but making it a requirement to avoid having a “low reputation” seems deceptive.
Under reputation, they write “Reputation determines the impact of all actions. The actions taken by someone with a higher reputation will be more influential than someone with a lower reputation.” Under their specifications for reputation found here https://spec.narrative.org/docs/reputation they write “Through this system, ratings and votes are always weighted by the reputation of each participant.” This means that by not certifying you will always be earning less which is fine, but I think it’s unfair to require people to utilize Paypal and provide government documentation to earn the full share of what they would have otherwise earned from their content. This isn’t so much about wealth inequality as much as it is about their token economics favoring centralized processes. I’d like to see them allow you to certify with NRVE at the very least so users could earn NRVE and then eventually reinvest in themselves. Nonetheless, assuming there isn’t a huge stockpile of NRVE held by the staff, it seems fair overall.
According to https://coinmarketcap.com/currencies/sapien/ the circulating supply of SPN is 227,117,524 and the current total supply is 500,000,000 SPN. According to https://etherscan.io/token/0x20f7a3ddf244dc9299975b4da1c39f8d5d75f05a there are 11,055 SPN holders. The top 10 accounts hold 345,687,452 SPN which makes up 69% of the total supply. Accounts 11-50 hold 51,995,000 which accounts for 10.39% of the total SPN. So that means accounts 1-50 hold nearly 80% of all the SPN.
Idex is where you can trade SPN with over 3 million in sell orders there except there’s essentially no trading happening. You can also trade on Kyber Network except again the volume over the past 24 hours was only $0.1597. Essentially no one is buying or trading this token.
I couldn’t find any other statistics and it’s fair to say that while there is wealth inequality here, it’s not of much consequence to anyone given no one is trading it and the community is lacking. I think they’ve had great strides in improving their UI and updating the platform, but they don’t seem to make any progress with users and activity. Also, their publishing format has been so terrible for so long, seriously they need to update it.
BitTube has recently undergone a lot of changes and improved their platform moving it over to https://bittubers.com/. I will say though, they don’t make it particularly easy to get started. As a Canadian I had to be manually verified as their phone number verification didn’t work and is required to earn anything. That being said, their current circulating supply is 214,795,858 TUBE with a max supply of 1 billion. It’s being traded on Bittrex, TradeOgre, Livecoin, and Crex24.
I couldn’t find any information on cryptocurrency holdings and the distribution nor could I find any statistics or data on this from BitTube or anywhere else. They do have statistics on adoption with users, content, etc. found here https://bittubestats.com/dashboard/user/bittubers/adoption. Currently, there are 21,832 users and 90,546 videos on the platform. You can also find their block explorer here https://explorer.bit.tube/.
I cannot give the benefit of the doubt given that most platforms aren’t made equally and with no information, I will simply say it’s not worth the trouble.
According to https://etherscan.io/token/0xb26631c6dda06ad89b93c71400d25692de89c068#balances there is a total supply of 8,002,000 Minds token held by 3,136 addresses. Now you have to consider that Minds is a utility token and isn’t meant to be traded or sold outside of acquiring it from Minds. Presumably, the majority of the tokens are held by Minds given that when you spend Minds tokens to boost content, they go back to Minds and are continually recycled by this process. The top 2 accounts hold 6,051,304 Minds tokens representing 75.62% of the tokens. The top ten hold 90.72% of the token.
To be fair, most of these statistics don’t matter because you can only sell Minds tokens directly to other users or on the unlisted exchange URL on ForkDelta https://forkdelta.app/#!/trade/0xb26631c6dda06ad89b93c71400d25692de89c068-ETH where only a tiny amount is being sold. Minds tokens are centrally controlled and sold by Minds who have changed the price from $0.15 to $1.25 previously. Today 1 Minds tokens costs about $0.96 from Minds which is equal to 1,000 impressions worth of advertising via their boost system. There is no profitability in buying or acquiring Minds tokens, thus no wealth inequality for the platform, but one can definitely point out that this is definitely a way to take a lot of your money if you do purchase tokens for boosting, Minds Plus, or Minds Pro.
Now mind you, with Minds Pro they are now introducing rewarding you with USD for the traffic you can bring to the site. You receive $1 per 1,000 page views (which are very different from impressions) and can withdraw once you reach $100 worth. Also note, the process is regulated by Stripe which is a centralized payment processor. To put it in perspective, in the last 30 days I earned 78,295 impressions and 1,673 page views which garnered me $0.90 USD noting that earnings only started to be accounted for as of November 4th.
DLive is like Minds except even worse. They claim to be independent of the Lino network and yet they rely on each other for buying, earning, and withdrawing. The worst part is that you can buy Lino with ease, but you cannot withdraw it without government ID and being at least 16 years old. This is under the guise of you cannot earn money legally being under 16 and to comply with anti-money laundering laws require your ID, and yet you are freely able to purchase Lino and give them your money with no restriction. This restriction would only make some sense if it was applicable to earned Lino points, not purchased points. You cannot even get a refund due to this if you bought Lino and are under the age of 16. Another issue is that they have a minimum withdrawal of 4,250 Lino points so if you bought say 2,000 points and then wanted to get your money back, you’d have to actually buy more points before being able to withdraw after giving them your ID.
Assuming this is the correct Lino token https://etherscan.io/token/0xba51ff3802aa3170ce7ac7ac001831ca3eb6eeea#balances you can see that 99.9483% are held by Lino. This was unsurprising given that they require you to have 4,250 points to be able to withdraw them. This is simply put, the most egregious example of wealth inequality and deceptive vulture capitalism. People invest in some Lino to stake as originally you needed 2,000 to qualify to become a verified streamer (this may have changed since as I don’t see that currently), but you needed more than double that to withdraw your points. Naturally, I expected creators who wanted to get verified would do this and then not earn enough to withdraw, sinking money into the platform they could never get back.
What is even more unfortunate is that PewDiePie exclusively streams there likely to be unaware of how bad they really are believing he is promoting the use of blockchain technology when the Lino network is hardly a blockchain.
You can find their April Lino point purchase fee update here: https://community.dlive.tv/2019/04/03/lino-points-purchase-fee-update/
You can also find my blog on the issues with DLive here https://www.minds.com/scottcbusiness/blog/dlive-is-overly-centralized-and-misleading-1031011272918052864 and the YouTube video here
This was the original video I made covering DLive:
I forgot to cover https://beta.cent.co/ originally in my video and original write-up, but I’m adding a brief note here. Similarly, to Publish0x this platform is crypto-agnostic however it relies purely on donations and seeding. Essentially, if someone thinks your post is good and pays some ETH to seed it, they could make money if other people do the same whereas if others don’t then they’ve more or less just donated to you. It’s an interesting concept, but any platform that requires you to pay for an upvote doesn’t seem entirely viable to me. However, I’m still using Cent and thinks it’s worth checking out.
I hope this more comprehensive look at the token supply, holders, activity, and equality of wealth gives you more insight into where you want to prioritize your time and what platform might be best suitable for you. Let me know what your thoughts on all of this information are and if you think I got anything wrong in the comments below and don’t forget to subscribe!
Let me know what you think about this in the comments below and don’t forget to subscribe!
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