I recently did an interview with @terrybrock where I talked about my experience since I first joined Steemit, and my advise for new users on how to be successful. I talked about what it was like starting out as a new user with no followers (earning practically no rewards), and how I went from a 'nobody' on the platform, to one of the more well known users.
If you haven't watched the video yet, I highly recommend you check it out:
Steemit Success Series- @timcliff on Who To Target With Your Content
There have been a lot of thoughts spinning around in my head since the interview, and the recent spike in SBD prices to over $10 has reminded me of something that I should have talked more about in the interview. To me, this is really key for every user to keep in mind - and probably one of the most important things that we can teach new users to improve their experience.
Most users are looking at their rewards in the wrong way
The tokens that we earn today (through our blogging, commenting, and curating) have real value. That is part of what makes the Steem platform so amazing. Anybody can join, post content (about whatever they want) and earn rewards for the value they produce. Where else on the internet is this possible?
There is a lot of discussion about the rewards on the platform, and how we should not make rewards the main focus. While I totally agree that the Steem platform is SO MUCH MORE than just earning rewards, let's face it - most of us that are here do want to earn some money.
The three biggest complaints that I hear from new users are:
- The platform is unfair (other users are earning more, and they clearly don't deserve it).
- It is way to difficult to get noticed and earn significant rewards without putting in a ton of effort.
- My upvotes are worth practically nothing. After I upvote something, it only rewards the user a penny.
When users are so focused on rewards, it is easy to look at the small amount that they are earning and think it is not worth it.
Everyone seems to be focused on how much their rewards are worth today though. A 0.02 may not seem like a lot today (and it is not), but that 0.02 upvote may actually be worth a lot of money some day. (Seriously.)
The average user needs to be more informed about the investment side of Steem.
Any user can take 50% of their earnings and cash them out after 7 days. The other 50% can be left in the platform, or cashed out over a period of 13 weeks. When they cash out their rewards, where does that money come from though? It comes from an investor. Someone on the other side of the exchange (wherever the tokens are being sold) is buying those tokens. They are giving the user "real money" in exchange for the tokens. But why? Because they are expecting them to go up in value. Think about that. They aren't giving users free money out of the goodness of their hearts. They are paying for these tokens at the value they are being sold at, because they think/hope/expect that some day - they will be worth more.
I just went around to all of my friends accounts today and collected up all of the "loose change" SBD rewards that had collected in their accounts. Most of the accounts had around $0.10-$2.00 worth of SBD. While that may not seem like a lot - SBD is currently trading for over $10. It made for some very interesting conversations. Hey, remember that small amount of SBD that you left sitting in your account? It had actually gone way up in value. I just cashed it out for you. It was worth 19 bucks. It's really too bad you hadn't been more active on Steemit recently.. If you had just earned a few more dollars, you might have had over a hundred bucks.
Lots of little rewards can add up, and if those little rewards each go up in value - they can be worth a lot!
While SBD going from $1 to $10 was a pretty big surprise, STEEM going from $1 to $10 is something we should all start to consider a possibility. @steemitblog recently wrote an article comparing STEEM to Ethereum and it is pretty clear that the Steem blockchain blows Ethereum out of the water in many ways. ETH is currently sitting at $455.02 a token with a marketcap of $43,780,733,655. STEEM is sitting at $1.81 per token, with a marketcap of $445,703,080. Why couldn't STEEM be worth more? Why couldn't STEEM be worth a lot more?
With the plan to launch SMTs in early 2018, STEEM is going to be getting a lot more media exposure. It is not outside the realm of possibility that we could become one of the top 5 tokens. If that happens, STEEM tokens are going to be worth a lot more.
Users should really be asking themselves the question - do you want to be cashing out your rewards today, or would it be better to invest the money back into the platform? One of the easiest things to do with SBD rewards is to go to the internal market and use the SBD to buy STEEM. If the STEEM goes up in value, the same rewards will be worth more.
This info is not intended to be a price prediction, and it does not constitute investment advise. What it is intended to do is to point out that the rewards we earn today can be viewed in a much different light if we take a step back and look at what they could be worth several years down the line. Those few pennies that you earn today, really could be worth a lot.
Back in 2010, some guy bought two Papa John’s pizzas for 10,000 BTC. Assuming the pizza was about $20 USD, that puts the price of one BTC at $0.002 USD at the time. Today, BTC is sitting at around $15,000, and those same 10,000 BTC are worth about $150,000,000 USD. One penny worth of BTC from 2010 is now worth $150. Think about that for a second..
While it is fun to think of STEEM tokens one day being worth $15,000 or more (and of course it is certainly possible), we do still have a ways to go. There are a lot of big improvements that need to be made, and our platform and community need to scale. My personal hope is that we can make 2018 the year that we get to $10 STEEM though, and I do think we can make that happen.
One thing that is important to keep in mind, is the token is not going to get to $10 (or $15,000) on its own. It is important that as members of the community, we take an active role in getting it there.
As yourself the question - what can you do to help increase the value of STEEM? Can you encourage local merchants to start accepting STEEM as a form of payment? Can you convince someone who will add a lot of value to join? Can you create an article that will start getting picked up by Google, and bring a lot more eye-balls to the site?
There are lots of ways to make the platform more valuable, and everybody has different talents and skills to offer. You might even have some way of adding value to the platform that nobody else can. I'm pretty confident that if we all work together to make this place as amazing as it can be - we really will reach the moon.