Over the past couple weeks, I had the opportunity to talk with a few different people who are involved in the industry. They are part of a few blockchain projects and have a bit of "experience" behind them.
What I learned told a great deal.
Basically, the reputation of Steem is not very good within the industry. This is the point that each person conveyed. Their view of Steem is such that it is not even a part of their thought process. In fact, one person is part of a group that is even powering down their SP.
This is what the industry "experts" are saying. One of the individual told me that a number of consultants told her to stay away from Steem. They guided her in another direction.
To me, this is the telling of the story. While we focus upon a bunch of trivial stuff, this is the real deal. Reputation means a great deal and Steem is in the toilet.
How did this happen?
I would say there are a variety of reasons. At the top of the list has to be the fact that most cannot distinguish between Steem and Steemit. That confusion continues to plague this ecosystem. Steemit Inc is certainly responsible for a large part of what took place. For the better part of two years, there were a lot of promises with little delivery.
Another factor has to be the fact that there were a number of people promoting Steem as a get rich quick scheme. While the posts espousing the idea of "post on Steem and make thousands of dollars instantly" died down, it is still a part of many people's memory. They tried Steem and found it to be misleading.
At times we, of course, are our worst enemy. Our dirty laundry is not aired in private meetings. We take it all public. People simply cannot resist bashing what is taking place on here. Even people with a rather large stake opt to shoot themselves in the foot by publicly promoting all that is wrong. The public loves to hone in on negativity and we provide a great deal of it.
There is also the reputation of this being a "ponzi scheme". This is something that they are putting upon Steem without realizing that the accusations fall to most economic systems. Steem is no different than anything else out there. Early adopters do tend to profit more. The risk is greater along with the fact that getting in early puts time in one's favor.
Whatever the reasoning, at the end of the day it does not really matter. What is important is what can be done about it?
To start, this is not as bad as it seems since there is a fact that is working to Steem's benefit. The world of cryptocurrency and blockchain is still very small. When we look at how many people are seriously involved, we see it is a very small number. There might be 20M-30M globally who have ever transacted using cryptocurrency. This means the total market potential is largely untapped.
This is no different than the early days of the Internet. How many people has sent an email by 1994? The total number was small compared to the potential reach. A decade later, the number exploded.
Typically, when companies are in this type of situation, they often change the brand name and promote the hell out of it. This helps to eliminate the association with the previous name since most people do not pay a great deal of attention. In this instance, it is not realistic.
What is an alternative is to start touting our successes. This is something that can be done on a daily basis. Unfortunately, on one level, we are still under the thumb of Steemit Inc awaiting the arrival of SMTs. In my opinion, the non-delivery of this was a big part of the way we are viewed. Hopefully, we will be able to tell a different story in October with the released of the SMT testnet. Even getting things to that point will radically change the talking points.
The development of tribes is a wonderful opportunity to talk about Steem without talking about it. We can discuss the idea of @stemgeeks, sportstalk, and splinterlands without even broaching the subject of Steem. Since that is a foundation piece, newer people could be drawn in by the application as opposed to the base layer. This is akin to a name change without providing a name change.
What took place?
- Steem now has smart contract ability and is a token factory where anyone can create a token.
- There are communities forming called "tribes" each with a specific focus and token distribution.
- We have a DEX to exchange all the different tokens.
- Steemit Inc provided a road map along with time estimations for SMTs.
- Applications are bringing out updates that are now bridging the gap between the traditional ones and those on blockchain.
- Every week, a couple hundred more accounts get their first SP. This is something that is consistent for the entire year.
- NFTs are on their way and will hopefully be here in the fall.
- 3Speak is proving a legitimate platform for censored content creators to get their message out there.
- DTube now has payments that can take place forever, eliminating the 7 day window (in their native token).
While this might not seem like that much progress, in the blockchain world is a quite an achievement. We are still dealing with a very young industry. The entirety of Steem is only 3 years old.
When we look out at other blockchains, what is taking place on them? What are their lists of achievements? Ethereum has a lot of development but few users. Tron is questioned on many different levels. EOS received a lot of attention with Voice but how many are using it. Bitcoin and Litecoin are transaction tokens mostly. Cardano full of promise but not delivered yet.
When I step back, I see Steem has a lot going for it. This is something that will be leveraged over the next year or two. Other blockchains are encountering similar problems as Steem from a user perspective. It is across the board.
At the end of the day, few are aware of the developments taking place. It is hard to get excited about incremental progress but that is where we are at. There is no magical application that will pull in millions of users instantly. Instead, we are seeing regular improvements being made at every level. It is up to the 20,000 people who are active on here to help tell the story.
There is great debate about who is credited for this quote but, whomever said it, it was spot on:
Steem's time to win is coming. There is a lot that is taking place beneath the surface. In spite of many failures over the past few years, the ecosystem is strong. The team of developers might not match Ethereum or EOS in quantity but they rival them with ability. Our progress is consistent which is the usual path leading up to exponential explosions.
I firmly believe those ignoring Steem right now are doing so at their own peril. This will end up being one of the bigger stories in the world of decentalized blockchain systems. We are seeing some significant pieces put in place. This will only help the entire ecosystem going forward. I think it important to remember that there was no token creation on this blockchain 9 months ago. This is a very new concept for Steem.
What I can state is that, as one who follows what is taking place on here, the pace of things is picking up. It is getting harder to follow all that is happening. More project announcements are appearing each week. At the same time, old ones are being revived. There are a number of applications that have decent upgrades every couple of weeks. This is all showing remarkable progress.
Time, dedication, and a lot of hard work is what is going to change the perception of Steem. It will take time but it can be done.
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