Interview a Steem Stakeholder Series - Interview with @riverhead (1,000,000+ STEEM Stakeholder)

in steem •  7 months ago  (edited)

The Interview a Steem Stakeholder Series is a project to help inform the community about the views of the largest Steem stakeholders. The goal is to help "regular users" better understand the views of the largest stakeholders on the platform, so they can better align their actions with what the stakeholders are looking for.

In this post, @riverhead (a stakeholder with over 1,000,000 STEEM) answered several questions about his views on the Steem platform and community. Below are the questions that were asked and responses from the interview.

Keep in mind that the stakeholders are individuals, and not all of them will share similar views. The views expressed in the interview are the views of the one stakeholder conducting the interview. They are not intended to represent the views of all stakeholders.

The Interview with @riverhead

How did you become a part of the Steem project?

Ned and I used to meet for drinks during the Bitshares days. I hadn’t heard from him in months so figured something was brewing. After the launch of Steem he called me up and asked me to take a look at his and Dan’s new baby. I started mining shortly after. Sadly I wasn’t Johnny on the Spot enough to become one of the bigger players like Blocktrades or the mysterious Pumpkin but I did OK.

When did you join?

“riverhead found a pow Apr 2 '16”

How did you acquire a majority of your stake?

I would say equal amounts mining and buying open.steem on Bitshares around the same time

How many STEEM tokens do you currently hold?

A little over a million, and growing with inflation, across various accounts.

Do you have a large stake in any other tokens besides STEEM?

Yes, steem currently represents around 10% to 15% of my crypto holdings.

What Steem apps do you use on a regular basis?

Anonsteem and Steemvoter. The first to register anonymous accounts so that I can interact with the project without scrutiny or begging, and the second so that I can support various curation projects without having to read every post.

What would you say repels investors or otherwise discourages investment in the Steem blockchain and STEEM tokens?

For various reasons, some justified but most not, any project related to or based off Bitshares and that community lead by Dan Larimer seems to be the red headed step child of the crypto community. Outside of that the product itself presents as a “money for nothing” scheme which most investors give a fair amount of side-eye too. Gven those two issues most don’t look much deeper to understand the very complex mechanics and ecosystem.

What would you say attracts investors or otherwise encourages investment in the Steem blockchain and STEEM tokens?

Those willing to look past the above and dig a bit deeper into the system come to realize just how amazing the Graphene blockchain tech is, how big the community of mostly non crypto folks is, and how passionate the users, witnesses, and devs are about the system.

In addition to holding tokens, how else are you involved in the project?

I have run a witness more or less since the beginning. I occasionally run peg bots to assist with SBD stability on Bittrex, Poloniex and Bitshares, and generally evangelize the platform. I also have a full time employee that is paid purely from curation, mostly manual, with the stated goal of using my stake to promote new users and good content generators.

What types of things do you do specifically to get a ROI on your investment?

Nothing really to be honest. The curation funds go 100% to my employee and I do not blog or curate a whole lot; certainly not with the goal of ROI. I’d say my biggest contribution is staying out of the frey and letting those that know the system inside out and backwards do their thing.

What are ways that "regular users" have potential to affect your investment in a positive way?

Generating and curating good content, being involved in the discussion threads on, and generally trying to recruit eyes to the project. The better Steemit does the better my Steem does. Also, backing off on the “us versus them” mentality as it relates to Steemit Inc. and the user community. It’s easy to see conspiracies and tyranny around every corner and it turns off new users. I wish I had a way to convince the larger community that the developers, witnesses, and whomever else falls under “them” are just as passionate as they are about Steem.

What type of contributions do you consider to be adding value to your investment?

Obviously the biggest contributor is Steemit Inc. itself. They have a team of passionate folks that keep pushing Steem forward. Second would be those that organize community initiatives, both on and off the blockchain, to raise awareness and usage of the system. Longer term third party developers that are working to find new and interesting ways to use the Steem blockchain independent of the Steemit social application.

How do you discover and reward those types of contributions?

I largely rely on my full time curator to keep up with the goings on in the community. Part of his job description, aside from curating, is staying up to speed on the latest Steem news and keeping me informed.

Do you delegate SP to any projects? If so, what types of projects do you support?

The only project I have delegated SP to so far is, “Girls Foundation”. There are many great uses for delegated SP however for whatever reason this one in particular spoke to me.

How "hands on" do you expect to be in projects you support?

Not hands on at all. I have no illusions that the projects I support simply need funds and not my input. I often tell my wife, “My SP has a lot of friends”.

What type of accountability reporting do you expect to see from a project that you support?

None. I’ll follow the project and if they keep doing what they said they’d do, or better, I’ll keep supporting. Once they stop doing that I’ll delegate my SP elsewhere.

What do you look for when casting witness votes?

Technical ability and showing up during times of stress are number one by far. Sometimes I’ll vote for people that seem active in the community but mostly a witness needs to keep the network running. I don’t have to like someone to feel they contribute more in this regard than someone else who may appear more visible, popular, or “contributing”. Just sign blocks and be able to handle your shit when things go south without being a dick about it.

That said I also try to have my votes represent a mix of personality types in the witness community. Not all witnesses should get along and not all witnesses should have the same points of view or even ethics. It should be a somewhat roiling mix of the old, new, and controversial.

Do you have strong views on any of issues that are frequently discussed, or any upcoming changes?

No. There are enough cooks in the kitchen that I feel are bright and have the project’s best interest aligned with their own. I do not see the need to add my voice to the din and therefore do not typically follow the issues very closely.

What would you like to see more/less of from "regular users"?

A better understanding of what their content is actually worth as well as looking at Steemit as the end itself, like other social media, rather than a cash generating machine. Too large a percentage of users just churn out meaningless fluff for cash and then beg for votes. That just doesn’t happen on other social media, at least not to the same extent.

What sort of profit margins do you hope to see for your investment?

I do not have any targets but unless an investment grows at around 10% per year it’s not worth the risk. Crypto investments are riskier so the return should be a bit higher.

Do you have a time frame for how long you plan to hold STEEM? Or a price target?

I typically do not buy any investment, crypto or otherwise, that I don’t plan to hold for at least three years. Buy and hold has worked well for me so far. That said if Steem were to ever reach $10 USD I’d probably think about taking some profits.

Do you believe that the delegating of SP to bid-bots as well as self-voting/circle-jerking is harmful to long-term ROI?

In short, yes. Kickback schemes are as old as business and corrupt the alignment of incentives to benefit those involved versus the system as a whole. In the spirit of crypto I would like to see the economic modeling of the system, at the application level, be modified to make this sort of behaviour unprofitable. Any system that requires people to “do the right thing” will fail without some sort of tyrannical policing which is anathema to the philosophy and promise of the crypto movement.

What factors affect your decisions to go after short term returns that may hurt Steem in the long run vs. decisions to take a longer term strategy?

As a stakeholder in the system my ROI comes from the value of the token rising against the dollar and not a revenue stream earned from using the system. Therefore all my decisions are long term focused.

Are there other forms of obtaining a good ROI from STEEM that you think will be possible in the long-term?

I have high hopes for the future value of Steem being driven by third party projects that use the blockchain for non Steemit based businesses. Assisting and aiding these projects further diversifies the use case of the blockchain and reduces the reliance on the success of a social media platform. History has not been kind to the various popular platforms over the years. It’s also for this reason I’d like to see more system rules that only apply to Steemit be coded at the application layer versus the protocol layer. Someone’s project shouldn’t break because Steemit needed to tweak a user experience aspect of their product.

What do you think is the biggest disconnect between stakeholders and "regular users"?

Stakeholders want the value of the token to rise while “regular users” want a revenue stream. These two goals are very difficult to reconcile and informs their opinions and thoughts on how the system should be developed.

If you strike it rich from STEEM, what do you plan to do with your money?

By being an early investor in Steem, and crypto in general, achieved financial independence which, to me, is a form of “being rich”. The two main things I’ve done is buy a home to lock in gains outside of the crypto space and retire from the workforce. A place to live and the time to enjoy it are all I really need.

Is there anything else that you would like to add that wasn't covered by the questions above?

I’ll think on this and come back to it. This questionnaire is pretty good! It will be interesting to revisit my answers in a couple years to see if I still agree with them.

Previous Interviews:

Future Interviews:

If you are a stakeholder with 100,000 or more STEEM and would like to participate in an interview, please reach out to me on or Discord.

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Well great interview.. it really a inspiring story especially for young stakeholders like me who still want to grow within the Steem community

Posted using Partiko iOS

Wow! This really opened my eyes about the thought processes of steem investors. @Riverhead has been here since the very beginning.

I think a question I would love to ask him will be;

What has changed between the time you first joined steem and now? What was the mindset like back then vs now?

Well done @Timcliff! You are doing a pretty good job among the witnesses.

Dr. George, Founder of @Air-Clinic!

the first steem-based healthcare facility

I actually see a lot of people on @riverhead's auto upvotes and I didn't know who he was till now, didn't know he actually knew Ned, it's so amazing to know of his personality, I love hidls definition of financial freedom. Amazing interview buddy

Very nice interview indeed! @riverhead holds over one million SP while I have just 500! You have given me an inferiority complex my friend. I want to be a whale but I don't know how will it be possible as I don't have so much money to buy Steem and simply posting will never help me to get near to that amount. Ha ha ha. . .😎😎😎 don't worry! I am not going to be a whale. I am just a minnow.
@riverhead said....

Too large a percentage of users just churn out meaningless fluff for cash and then beg for votes. That just doesn’t happen on other social media, at least not to the same extent.

I was very active on Facebook and other social media platforms. From my experience there, I can say that users of those platforms also beg for likes (upvotes), though, there is not reward system exists for content creators. I think its human tendency to expect likes on social media platforms. Steemit is also a social media platform. So, this behavior intensifies here as users can be benefited a lot from likes (upvotes) here. This feature is missing in other conventional social media platforms.

  ·  7 months ago (edited)

Such a nice read @timcliff, ur questions are so good!!!
@riverhead I dont know what we would have done without ur support to @cervantes since the beginning to be honest. You have played a big role in developing the Spanish community.

Another great interview, thanks guys! I think I generally agree with Riverhead's logic and approach, kudos.

If you or your curator are interested, @riverhead, I am working with some great people currently to create a multi-faceted approach to on-boarding new users to Steem and generally improve it's PR image plus, even to clean up the bidbot problem and other issues in the process (I have a workable UI feature that could truly return pure proof of brain back to Steem).

It would be great to receive any feedback/support from you, You can read the initial overview doc here (You need to login to HackMD via the homepage link at the top-left in order to view the doc).


Really good read, I am happy to know that @riverhead is still around we need many more like him.

I would be interested to know if the bots he uses for market pegging Steem/SBD are open source, I use to run a couple on bitshares but never looked into it on steem.

Great interview @timcliff

Sooo... @riverhead is same owner of @kpine? Because if that's the case, I want to say how thankful I am for the support (probably say this every week lol, sorry not sorry :))
This was a very lovely interview, It has given me a perspective on how having such a large investment in the platform can shape one's choices as he has. Great Job @riverhead @timcliff

Fascinating. Thanks for doing these, Tim. Hoping it takes you a while to get through everyone, and I can trip over the 100K mark before you wind it up ;)


Just let me know as soon as you are there :)

  ·  7 months ago (edited)

Thank you @timcliff for such a great interview - I am sure lots of Steemians will be interested to learn more from the big whales.
Thank you @riverhread for previous witness vote - and I hope to get your vote again in the future. :)

Excellent interview I regret that I did not know steemit in 2016. since from there I could help many Venezuelans to grow including me, since I believe that many have very good content and we need more people to help in the curatorship. I do it in a very personal way every day, as they say with what little I do the best I can.

I thank you @Timcliff those who follow you we do it out of conviction

This is awesome and very interesting to read. Cant wait to read and learn more from "wealthy" steemians on the platform.

Hearing someone like this saying they are looking 3 years out to keep invested in Steem reminds me to keep producing great content as this platform isnt going anywhere anytime soon.

Posted using Partiko Android

Thank you for running this interviews. They are quite interesting to read and contribute to the understanding of the steemit sphere.

Stakeholders want the value of the token to rise while “regular users” want a revenue stream. These two goals are very difficult to reconcile and informs their opinions and thoughts on how the system should be developed.

I'm not sure I understood that correctly.
I think the difference in behaviour between the long-term investors and the regular users is always no problem if they don't all do the same thing at the same time. Since the system is permeable and some are new to it, others get out, there is something like diversity in decisions and actions. In this context, I would be interested to know whether new large holders of Steemit shares have joined, as it is now less easy than at the beginning of mining. If I have understood it correctly, it would also be advantageous for the small investor to hold, too. This of course contradicts itself to the extent that some people want to use their revenue as a source of income for their livelihoods, which "harms" rather than benefits the system.

Which begs the question: How many dropouts can Steemit tolerate in total?

If nobody would cash out, then the system would be more profitable as a whole, since the value of the individual votes would also increase as a result or if users regularly made a power up.

In this context the question arises, what is the purpose of a regular user, who is not necessarily dependent on Steemit as a source of income? It is a risk for everyone to hold and this decision is not easy if, for example, it is unclear what the big ones do. I have already heard of several users who achieved a significant return of investment, that they afforded themselves a house and property. That would not have been possible at the beginning, right? It takes a certain amount of active participants to pull something out of the pool without doing too much harm.

But of course, in giving examples what one has purchased through the system, gives hope to others.

For the time high between December '17 and January '18, I could have withdrawn a sum that was relevant to me (I had about 10,000 SBD in my account). I decided against it. I can't say whether I regret it or not because circumstances have changed and it's pointless to lament about the past. If another high came, I would again not be sure how I would behave.

Overall, there is always some kind of depression and less activity when the course is low and vice versa when its high. Without having any real knowledge about the functionality and causes, all participants somehow get a sense of the overall mood. I find this fascinating and it reflects a little the ability of humans to move in systems, even outside the cryptosphere, although one cannot separate these two worlds in such a way, since one always influences the other.

another solid interview ! keep it up @timcliff

Good interview...its good to hear the voice of a large stakeholder, I think one of the problems for Steem is the model, it really does not have a model... Talking to folks it seems like it viewed as a ponzi scheme where a select few profits off the backs of those who are putting out content daily, added to the insult the charts isn't pretty and I am a little worried given that I know this stakeholder target is 10 dollars so the typical cycle would continue a rise and then a rapid fall as these stakeholders start to liquidate.... This is the problem with the Steem model, you have significant portion of stakeholders that did that invest capital but earn through various method highlighted above putting significant selling pressure to those buying in and the inflationary aspect of the token metrics does not help retain value, so Steem basically survives if BTC USD value continues to rise and Steem continues to suck a few in but these folks coming in are the ones getting the shaft, that's why wars break out so often as these folks who bought at 5 and 4USD and some cases 0.0045 BTC start filling the pinch.....

Steem is a great concept but its token metrics isn't sound money and not to mention there is also accounts liquidating thousands of Steem at these low prices, so its a hard pitch only waiting for more people to suck in.... I am hopeful that it works out but without traders and speculators moving large volumes and continually moving volume it would be a downward sloping graph...

Please don't take it as me bad mouthing the project, just sharing my views, given what we learn from this large stakeholder, I think its imperative to serious give thought about building a trading community around the project to help paint a better chart because if the view is holding a few investors that would purchase a large stake in hope of it becoming the the FB or TWTR of crypto it really isn't the smartest model, folks are already pointing out the red flags and it doesn't help sentiment

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Hello! Could you help me move forward and grow in steemit please.


Start by checking out the resources in the "Welcome" page (found in the main menu). There is a link there to a new member support group where there are people who can help with that.