Reddit revolutionized Internet forums so successfully that it’s still around nearly 15 years after its inception. There have been a lot of social content aggregation clones since, but Steem stands out. Not only is Steemit blockchain based, it also has a sizable (and knowledgeable) user base of content creators.
Steem uses its own tokens (Steem tokens, Steem Power, and Steem Dollars) and has a wallet built into its content management system (CMS). Steemit is more similar to publishing platforms like Medium and WordPress than Reddit, and it encourages community involvement (i.e. comments, likes, shares, traffic, and other SEO-centric metrics) through financial incentives.
Steemit is a website based on the Steem blockchain, but it’s not the only one (and it’s scalable to host the entire Internet in theory).
Both Steem and Steem Dollars can be traded on crypto exchanges, but Steem Power is unique to websites on the Steem blockchain. It’s used to power promoted posts, comments, and other abilities on the platform. This new economy of rewarding content creators is revolutionizing the Internet. But is Steemit worth the hype?
Let’s start with a deep dive into the Steem tokens, their value, and what they’re used for.
What Are Steem’s Tokens?
Steem has a market cap of $988,348,854 as of April 30, 2018, which is based on a circulating supply of 253,733,294 at a price of $3.70 per token. Steem Dollars (SBD) has a market cap of $39,952,247, based on a circulating supply of 12,637,917 at a price of $3.16 per token.
Steem Power is currently only redeemable for other Steem tokens.
Instead of mining, Steem tokens are awarded to users of the site. Steem currency is airdropped to Steem Power hodlers, content creators, and curators. Creators are bloggers, photographers, artists, poets, etc., who create content, and curators vote and comment on other people’s content.
As a content creator, your pay is a mix of Steem Dollars and Steem Power. As a curator, you earn the percentage of Steem power allotted by the creators. These currencies can be stored in the Steem wallet or powered down into Steem, which is then tradeable on exchanges like OpenLedger, Changelly, and Bittrex.
Like modern mainstream social media networks, the Steem blockchain also supports video through D.tube, a Steem-based YouTube clone. When visiting either Steemit or D.tube, you’ll quickly notice a subtle change between these user interfaces and those of Medium, Reddit, and YouTube. Instead of showing vanity metrics like views, likes, or shares, the earned value of each post is shown in dollars.
This is very similar to how professional golfers are ranked by how much money they earn during the season. It’s a very transparent way for people to see the real earnings of content creators. YouTube showing top earners pulling 10 million views a day is put in perspective when you see the top videos on D.tube only make a few hundred dollars.
The Value Add of the Steem Blockchain
Steemit, Inc is a privately held NYC-based company headquartered in Virginia. It was founded by Ned Scott and Dan Larimer, creator of BitShares and EOS. The Steem blockchain is soon going to run on the Smart Media Tokens protocol, along with the current Proof-of-Brain algorithm.
Steem is a subclass of cryptocurrencies called “appcoins,” in which the value of the token is dependent on the value of the platform. These user-generated content platforms don’t have huge userbases, but with nearly 1 million users, a lot of daily content is being created, helping Steemit push its way up to a global rank of 1,335 on Alexa.
In addition, Steemit isn’t the only website supported. It’s basically a web-based dapp blockchain that creates a strong foundation. It’s similar to joining a blog network like the one Gawker created before being destroyed by Hulk Hogan and Peter Thiel in court.
For an appcoin, Steem has a loyal user base and a strong strategy to compete with platforms like Medium (ranked 270 on Alexa), Reddit (ranked 6 on Alexa), and YouTube (ranked 2 on Alexa). It’s also not a pure appcoin, instead a hybrid that supports other apps as well.
This app-tied model may repel some investors, but it’s a boon for a community tired of being mined for free content by major publishers like HuffPost and Buzzfeed.
The team here at Crypto Briefing works very hard to publish even a handful of quality articles a day. This business is brutal, and Buzzfeed and HuffPost succeeded with clickbait and an army of volunteer workers. Steem’s model mines this volunteer labor force to compete in the big leagues with hundreds to thousands of new posts every day.
As an SEO play, Steem already won. It has time to build awareness, and its unique compensation model incentivizes content creators to hold it up in its niches.
The Artist’s War
A large number of artists, writers, and other creative professionals work as freelancers. This gig economy comes with a large risk-reward ratio, as long-term benefits are hard to come by. Each of us content creators is bound by the rules of our publishers, and what we’re willing to deal with depends on what the publisher offers in returns.
HuffPost and Buzzfeed, for example, can ‘afford’ to pay nothing because they’re hugely popular publishing brands and platforms. Being published in one of these platforms is a badge of honor, like making the Who’s Who list in your field. It can bring exposure and open new doors for new opportunities.
For independent web creators, self-publishing is easy, but drawing an audience isn’t. The market is crowded, and there are more than 200 million blogs on the Internet. Being found in the chaos is only possible when using blog communities like WordPress, Blogger, Medium, and Steemit.
The cryptocurrency and blockchain media tends to focus on coin values and tech specs, but the actual usability is lost in the conversation. The reason Steem is succeeding is because it relieves pain points for content creators looking to get paid. Blockchain or not, it’s the first platform to offer transparent monetization for content creators and users.
People power the Internet. If Facebook didn’t have a large user base, nobody would care about it. Steemit is nowhere near Facebook’s user base (or even Medium’s), but it does have a respectable showing. I joined the platform last month and have been experimenting with it alongside Medium for a more thorough comparison.
It’s not very easy to format a blog post (Markdown syntax makes copy/pasting from Word, Docs, or WordPress difficult), but overall, I enjoy the Steemit platform and find it as usable as WordPress and BlogSpot.
Many blockchains have big dreams, but if Steem can keep the train steady on the tracks, it may have hit a grand slam.
Steem isn’t a unique idea – everyone’s pitching blockchain-based social networks. Not everyone has a working beta platform online right now with nearly a million unique monthly users. By incentivizing a free content-creating army, Steemit is quickly gaining a foothold in online searches.
Steem is a web-based blockchain with three unique currencies. Steem Power is an investment in the community, Steem tokens are sellable on major exchanges, and Steem Dollars are held in wallets to gain interest (although none has been reported to date).
Instead of mining, Steem currencies are awarded to content creators and curators who stay engaged on the platform’s websites.
Steem has a social website called Steemit. It also has a YouTube-like blockchain platform called D.tube. More sites are sure to follow suit.
The value of Steem is driven by the popularity of the content, so creators and curators are incentivized to promote the sites hosted on the blockchain.
Steem doesn’t sound like much on paper, but Facebook didn’t sound unique when it was created either. The execution of the idea matters, and Steemit’s loyal base of early adopters have an opportunity to take a more active role in its success than other coins offer.
Steem is backed by the powers of creativity and imagination, and people fight harder when they’re passionate about their work.
This blockchain-based social network has a fighting chance to become an automatic choice for content creators years to come.