Steemit Interviews SteemMonsters

in steem •  8 months ago

SM thumb.jpg

SteemMonsters is one of the first, and most successful, collectible card games on a blockchain. Only 2 months old, it has already raked in over $200,000 in revenue. Steemit's Content Director (@andrarchy) recently sat down with the co-founders of SteemMonsters and had a wide-ranging discussion during which they explore why they built the DApp, and how they leveraged Steem’s unique value propositions to take their application from concept to revenue generation in such a short time. The full interview is featured at the end of this post in both video and audio formats, but we’ve also broken the interview up into a series of short clips which are interspersed within the text of this post and highlight particularly valuable portions of the interview.

Entrepreneurship on Steem

SteemMonsters is now officially a hit which makes the SteemMonsters (SM) team a pair of bona fide entrepreneurs though, as they explain, the process evolved in a very organic way on Steem. While both founders have experience in the business world, neither have ever started or run a company. But, the existing tools and community enabled them to launch without spending a huge amount of time or money, making the risk very low while the rewards were potentially massive.

As SteemMonsters’ Lead Developer @yabapmatt explains, the upside potential is especially high for web developers because the platform is still so young which means that many ideas have yet to be done. Because Steem is also a social platform, entrepreneurs like the SM team can directly engage with their customers so as to gain a deeper understanding of what will delight them, while at the same time providing those customers with an ever growing range of outlets for expressing their delight, contributing to the project, and spreading the message.

Ownership of Digital Assets

But why build the application on a blockchain at all? Games like Magic the Gathering and Hearthstone have been tremendous successes and even have online variants, so why reinvent the wheel? The first part of their answer comes down to ownership. Part of what made MtG so fun was that you owned the cards and could trade them. But when MtG moved online, and similar games like Hearthstone became popular, players lost the ability to have exclusive ownership of their cards.

Instead, Blizzard (the company behind Hearthstone) has total control over the game and the digital assets used by the players. Blockchain integration creates the opportunity to combine the best of both worlds. Like Hearthstone, SteemMonsters is a digital game that people can play online against anyone, but you can also own the digital assets and then trade or sell them freely without having to trust in a large corporation like Blizzard that has total control over the digital assets used in Hearthstone.

The Benefit of Decentralization

Another major benefit of having SteemMonsters on a blockchain is that it enables the game to be decentralized. Since all of the information is public (on the blockchain) anyone can create their own version of the game. That means that anyone is free to make their own user interfaces for the game. If the SM team were to do something that the players didn’t like, anyone would be free to create their own version of the game.

Turnkey Blockchain & Turnkey Userbase

By leveraging the Steem blockchain the SM team saved themselves the time, energy, and expense of having to develop their own blockchain. By building on Steem, they were able to bootstrap a user base off of Steem’s pre-existing user base, possibly the largest in the space.

Why Not Ethereum?

@yabapmatt had originally considered building a card game on a blockchain. First, he considered Ethereum but decided against it due to its fees and long block times. He didn’t want to build a game that cost someone money every time they wanted to make a move, or wait some indeterminate amount of time for the game to progress, assuming the transaction wasn’t rejected entirely. For these reasons, he began looking into building his own blockchain, but soon realized this was unrealistic.

Steem a Compromise?

At first, @yabapmatt felt that leveraging Steem was a compromise due to its lack of smart contracts. However, as he began working on the application, he realized that by leveraging “soft consensus” mechanisms, they could actually build a fully decentralized application on Steem that achieved all of their goals. He also has high hopes for the Hivemind project (being developed by @roadscape) which will deliver the tooling that will make implementing such features far easier. @yabapmatt explores these concepts in his “Tech Talk” series (Tech Talk Part 1, Tech Talk Part 2).

Soft Consensus v. Hard Consensus

The key distinction is that between “hard” and “soft” consensus. SteemMonsters leverages soft consensus whereas a DApp like Cryptokitties leverages hard consensus. If someone attempts to submit an invalid Cryptokitties transaction to Ethereum, the blockchain will reject it. But this comes with a cost, which is that it takes time and expensive energy for the entire Ethereum network to come to a consensus about whether or not the transaction is valid. This doesn’t just create a bad user experience, it also limits the growth potential of the application. Soft consensus is when any transaction can be submitted to the blockchain, but the DApp only recognizes valid transactions.

According to @yabapmatt, the outcome is effectively the same with the only difference being whether the verification is happening at the blockchain level or on a meta-layer. Technically, all that’s needed is a public, immutable ledger, but Steem has the added benefits of high speed fee-less transactions and an existing community that provides both users and talented contributors. The SteemMonsters team is confident their application will have all the capabilities and decentralization of an Ethereum DApp, while offering the speed and free transactions unique to Steem applications.

How Successful is SteemMonsters?

Both @yabapmatt and @aggroed were surprised by the level, and type, of success that SteemMonsters has had. Not only was it rapidly adopted thanks to Steem’s turnkey user base and the high overlap between the Steem demographic and those who play collectible card games, but it has also benefited in some surprising ways from pre-existing enterprises on the Steem blockchain, like steembay. Steembay enabled players to begin selling and trading cards before even supported the feature.

Each steembay post also functioned as an advertisement for SteemMonsters, contributing to its viral growth. Thanks to these feedback loops, SteemMonsters has earned over $200,000 since they launched just over 2 months ago on May 26! It’s important to note that this is not money they have raised, it’s money they’ve earned by selling over 1,500 starter packs and almost 100,000 booster packs! Unlike most projects in the space which are raising capital based on unsubstantiated claims, SteemMonsters is an actual product with paying customers and the team is eager to reinvest those earnings into making the game even better.

Open Sourcing SteemMonsters

Success is about much more than revenue for the SteemMonsters team. They want to open source the development of the game itself and, to that end, have launched the largest writing competition on Steem with a $1500 SBD reward that will be distributed among the top 6 teams. While these are opportunities for all Steemians to earn more STEEM, it also feeds back into SteemMonsters by providing storylines and acting as a decentralized viral marketing campaign!

Feedback Loops

Once again, this highlights the benefits of leveraging a pre-existing blockchain ecosystem. Because there are DApps that already leverage Steem as a platform for hosting and engaging with content, the moment a new application goes live, it creates new opportunities for every Steem user regardless of their preferred application. One especially illustrative example of this synergy is the user who earns revenue by opening their pack on a livestream and then uses that revenue to buy more packs.

Advice for Developers

As the lead developer of SteemMonsters, @yabapmatt expressed his belief that blockchain, as an industry, is still rife with opportunity and if a developer is overwhelmed by the prospect of having to learn the entirely new set of coding skills needed to build smart contracts, Steem is an especially promising option. Steem enables developers to leverage their pre-existing web development skills and add in very simple APIs thereby gaining all the advantages of blockchain integration without having to learn Solidity or C++.

Because Steem is built from the ground up to power web applications, the SteemMonsters team was able to take their business from concept to revenue generation in a few months, but only by integrating the assets and skills they’ve spent their lives building.

More Than Technology

For @yabapmatt, Steem integration gave SteemMonsters more than just a technical advantage. Because every Steem holder benefits from improvements to the ecosystem, Steemians are eager to give their support to promising projects like SteemMonsters. This shifted how even @yabapmatt and @aggroed view their earnings. They want to give as much of it back to the Steem community because, “we’re all going to the same moon.”

This highlights the effectiveness of STEEM’s Proof-of-Brain algorithm in autonomously distributing stake so as to properly align the incentives of all the necessary parties. While the engagement, excitement, and investment the Steem community is making into SteemMonsters is due in large part to the compelling universe that the SM team is creating, it is a testament to Steem’s economic technology that so many people continue to feel rewarded for doing so which only makes them, as well as @yabapmatt and @aggroed, even more committed to investing their time and energy in SteemMonsters.

Thank You SteemMonsters

We want to thank the SteemMonsters team for working with us to generate our first official Steemit podcast! If you’d like to view the entire video you will find a copy below along with an audio-only version. Be sure to head on over to to check out the game and for updates from the team, follow them on steemit at

Full interview (video):

Full interview (audio):

Do you have a story to share? Contact us at

Steemit Team

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Great job @andrarchy. This was a fun interview and well spliced together. Feels like a good representation of what we all talked about and hopefully it's a wakeup call to game developers all over that want the things they create to have value outside of just the game world.


Yes, thank you for having us! It went really well other than @aggroed getting a parking ticket and your cats interrupting my train of thought a few times :-P

I really hope seeing this gives other people the motivation and encouragement they need to start their own awesome projects on the Steem blockchain too!


The road to success is paved in parking tickets and cat meme's


Such is life ;) nice work and how steem monsters is unfolding for all


Thanks! And thanks for taking the time to do the interview. I couldn't have asked for a better first interview.


Congratulations for reaching such a high milestones so early, took me by a surprise. Have you considered doing kickstarter? It could be a great PR move eventually.

I love the title: Hearthstone on a Blockchain?

Whoever did that: great job!

And 10 minutes into the interview - a lot of great stuff!


I want Age of Steemians, Age of Empires 2 but with STEEM characters


AoE2 is MY GAME! I just wish it was still a challenge...


Indeed man! grooming those Hearthstone guys :D

Yes! I've been waiting for this one! @steemmonsters is an amazing project created right off the steem blockchain!


Congrats, you made the #steemitminute for today!
Click the Image Below to see the Video!


Thats how i found the interview! great job @reseller !

I'm so glad you guys took the time to further explain the story and the motivations behind this project. I also really like the way the post was put together and the information presented as a cohesive story. Very useful and compelling discoveries along the way, and the best is still to come.

It is, as you say, a totally different way of thinking - and it's a good one. We're all going to the same moon, and the more we realize that by working together to make amazing experiences happen on STEEM the better off we all are.

Nobody really even invited me to join this effort, yet I feel so much a part of it that it's like it is my own. Permissionless innovation was one of the key drivers that made the internet such an important economic phenomenon. I am super excited that the steemmonsters team and ecosystem seems to have that as its core DNA.

My take on it, and my interest in STEEM is that we are building the next version of the internet here, and the economic system of the future. This story you've just told is confirmation that those thoughts are indeed on the right track.



I feel exactly the same. The permissionless element was a big part of the reason why I started creating so much content on I didn't have to wait for some big company to give me permission to support a project I believed in, and more importantly, I didn't have to wait for them to reward me for doing so. Little did I know I'd one day become Steemit's Content Director!


Wow, follow your heart they say, not the look at you. A total inspiration


"The permissionless element was a big part of the reason why I started creating so much content on I didn't have to wait for some big company to give me permission to support a project I believed in, and more importantly, I didn't have to wait for them to reward me for doing so."

Well said.

Indeed, permissionlessness is well known to be the key aspect of economic growth. (Narrow interests exist in the world. If one must ask permission, the answer, mostly independent of the merits of what is being asked for, is most often just "no".)

Permissionlessness is why markets, even if not exactly nirvana or pure sugar, outperform just about everything else on the planet. Most other social media platforms exist in the market. They are even valued highly by the market. But unlike blockchain based social media, they're not - in spirit - aligned with the market.

Oooh this looks like an awesome interview. Can’t wait to watch it later! I love how you guys formatted the post too so that people can easily jump straight to different sections of the interview - or watch/listen in entirety.


Thanks for the feedback on the formatting!

I watched the full interview and it was fantastic @andrarchy ! Love what Steem Monsters @aggroed & @yabapmatt have brought to steemit, and I am all ready buying and saving cards for when we learn more about the game and how it will be played , not to mention what a great investment opportunity it is even if you don't play! Im sure is the first of much more to come and Steemit is looking at some very exciting times in the near future! Great job you guys, so glad I have always voted you as witness for 2 years now, its well deserved! 👍✌💕👹👾👽👿👺
Go Steem Monsters!upped and resteemed to 5500 followers!

Great interview. Always nice to see the interviews as we move forward to game play etc. Thanks for the info and thank you guys for all your hard work getting this game going...

I’m stoked to see this in-depth exploration — looking forward to watching the full interview once back at my desk!

I’m happy to see you’ve highlighted the crowd-sourcing element as I feel that’s part of what really sets this game apart. It’s given people so many ways to get involved — even those of us who aren’t generally attracted to ‘gaming’.

It’s already had such incredible success, and has barely gotten started. I’m excited and curious to see how it continues to grow from here!

It is a great way to give value to the steem blockchain, and to allow another way to socialize between users, I am more comfortable and familiar with the steemians that we exchange cards.
Simply amazing, my regards.

That was a great interview @andrarchy.

@aggroed and @yabapmatt raised really great points about how great the Steem blockchain really is for new or existing entrepreneurs and their startups. You have the blockchain platform, the community and the financial and creative resources needed to make things happen.

I also think it is important for Steem's success to have a stronger social media presence, and am glad to see @reseller and others working on it.

hey nice work on this! great to see this stuff coming out!

Amazing info. and interviews! Love this! Steem Monsters is such an amazing game that we have so much fun with!

To listen to the audio version of this article click on the play image.

Brought to you by @tts. If you find it useful please consider upvoting this reply.

PLEASE @steemitblog help goodbloggers to survive. So many people complain that they don't like bad bloggers but they do nothing to change it. I found the way.

Twenty minutes into the interview, still nothing about the gameplay. This is the question I've been asking myself since I first saw about SteemMonsters: is SteemMonsters a game without a game mechanic yet? If so, then I guess it would at the moment better be described as a collectible card story or something to that effect.

Wonderful interview~~!! I loved the questions and the answers. It has been an amazing experience to be able to watch this game come to life, and grow into it's own Steem Monster!!!

Congratulations to all involved and thanks for putting in all the hard work to make this game possible!

Yeah man it’s crazy. Since the blockchain the world of digital collectibles is starting to blossom. Check out the article I wrote about the future Of Collecting:

I really enjoyed the format, having the footage broken down into smaller, almost soundbitey segments for the time poor.
Great first interview.
If you're looking for suggestions, I'd like to see you tee something up with @sevinwilson to talk about the design, ordering and delivery process for the Steem branded silver rounds.

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This post kind of wants me to start playing this SteemMonsters game. I was never one for a collectors card game. I dunno why. Not Pokemon back when it was crazy popular around my town, or Pokemon go when it first came out.
A friend of mine tried to get me into Magic the Gathering. Showed me all the cards he had (and it was thousands) and the basics of cards. We played a few open card games, but didn't understand most of it. Maybe because I wasn't interested.
Maybe SteemMonsters isn't the card game for me either, but I'm sure as hell glad they did this on the Steem Blockchain. The perfect platform. I wonder what other games people can build on Steem.

Excellent interview! I think one of the best ideas these months is steem monsters. After reading this publication, two things are clear to me: the first is that with talent and perseverance we can achieve everything, and the second is that steem is becoming a way not only to make money, but also to develop our creative potential. Certainly no one is going to lose, but obviously people who take risks are more likely to achieve their goals. The fact that they have been successful in such a short time does not only speak to the genius of the idea, but also to the need for such a platform for games like this. It was a shot to the floor. Congratulations!

Great. Thank you for sharing this interview. Upvoted and resteemed

Great job sir..... .....

This is a great interview.

An excellent advert for the steem block chain, showcasing the very best features!

Great interview....

Here's my share.... should be the latest tweet....

Such amazing guys :D