The relationship between Steem network and Steemit, and others
I've seen people criticizing (tweeter link) that Steemit is not decentralized on twitter suggesting Steem network is not decentralized as well. I think it's time to explain the relationship between steemit.com and Steem blockchain network. Many users are from outside crypto world, they deserve to know.
Decentralized Blockchain vs Centralized Service Provider
Steem is a decentralized blockchain network, it's a platform, every user/account can interact with the network in a decentralized way no matter steemit.com exists or be taken down. The network is a crown with many precious gems on it.
Steemit.com the first application built on it by Steem dev team (thanks to @dantheman, @ned and others), the first big shining gem on the crown. It provides a faucet service to help user get registered on the network, pre-fill some steem to get user started. This greatly reduces the user adoption friction. Also steemit.com provides a website, a friendly user interface to view data stored on Steem blockchain. And there're many other gems already built. Steemd.com (thanks to @roadscape), steemple.com (thanks to @jabbasteem), steemian.com (thanks to @xeroc), steemstream.com (thanks to @roelandp) and many other great sites also provide different/unique view of the data publicly stored on the blockchain. And I believe we will expect more to come. Only imagination is the limit.
Even one day steemit.com is taken down for some reason, some other sites can be built and provide the exact service steemit.com is providing today. So you probably understands now that Steem is a powerful plateform, services/tools can be built upon it to form and add values to the eco-system.
At this moment, steemit.com is suspending user registration from facebook/reddit. People interpret it as a hunger-marketing techniques or due to post-hack account recovery process. I don't know which is correct, but it doesn't matter. Because user account can still be registered, just through any other existed account who is willing to pre-fill some steem for your account.
ICOCountdown twitter account's accusation is essentially criticizing Bitcoin is not decentralized because for example Coinbase or Circle is doing KYC (Know Your Customer program, aka. ID verification). That statement is not correct. Steem is an public decentralized blockchain network, everyone can build business on it to provide service to user. We've seen many and we are expecting to see much more to come.
Disclaimer: English isn't my first language and I don't write articles much, hope I can make myself understood.