It was just the other day that I’ve posted an essay arguing that Steemit could be the first compelling mass market solution to date. The simple reason for concluding that, was its unique double-layered architecture: a powerful technological and economic layer with the right incentives in place, coupled to a deceptively simple yet exceedingly flexible social layer – effectively putting in motion a snow ball, which, given enough time and mass, could easily turn into an avalanche. Presumably exactly what would be needed to finally bridge the crypto chasm and penetrate the mass market.
Indeed, as Paul Graham rightly notes, the only thing essential to a startup is growth. Everything else follows from that. Here’s an enlightening quote from one of his essays called startup=growth, explaining why that’s the case:
“It's hard to find something that grows consistently at several percent a week, but if you do you may have found something surprisingly valuable. If we project forward we see why.
A company that grows at 1% a week will grow 1.7x a year, whereas a company that grows at 5% a week will grow 12.6x. A company making $1000 a month (a typical number early in YC) and growing at 1% a week will 4 years later be making $7900 a month, which is less than a good programmer makes in salary in Silicon Valley. A startup that grows at 5% a week will in 4 years be making $25 million a month.”
But if growth is such an important matter, then surely, we should be constantly monitoring it. After all, what gets measured, gets managed.
Steemit Growth Rate
In examining Steem growth, I’ll try to go through what we currently know, put things in perspective, and finally take a step back to look at what we desperately need to find out.
1. Transactions Volume: has experienced a significant growth since 4th of July and has reached a healthy state where on most days we see on average more than 100,000 transactions per day. By contrast, Bitcoin has on average more than 200,000 per day, and Ethereum less than 50,000.
2. Registered Accounts: presently Steemit has passed 60,500 registered accounts and has grown with ~17,500 new accounts or ~40,5% during the last 14 days. That’s 1250 new accounts or ~2,9% per day. As it stands now, we could reach ~75,000 – 80,000 registered accounts by the end of August.
3. Community dynamics: the community is growing and evolving at a rapid pace. Indeed, people seem to be very adaptive and strive to understand, contribute and improve things as much as possible. There are also disagreements and some apparent conflicts of interest between some well known community members(whales), but things are moving forward. Indeed, I have not seen in crypto a community as diverse as this one. In fact, I am quite impressed at the rapidly growing number of well-connected influencers which have jumped in. As @roelandp put it, you’ve got Playmates, Vigilantes, Pirates and many others with hundreds of thousands of followers. Try to imagine what will follow.
4. Ecosystem/exchanges/developers: The ecosystem is also booming. Indeed, if you look at steemtools.com you can see that we have already 59(!) listed tools and apps. Number of exchanges has also increased. Although Poloniex and Bittrex were there, you can see that another three have listed Steem: Livecoin, HitBTC and alcurEX.
What’s even more intriguing is how involved various community developers are. And yes, the number is growing. Indeed, this seems to be at least in part due to the direct and immediate rewards they receive after implementing a solution to one of the many community needs. As things stand, this may be one of the most interesting platforms developers should engage. The reason is simple and potent: incentives. They’ve got both healthy immediate rewards, and promising future prospects if Steemit succeeds.
5. Investors, VCs, Startup Founders: another important metric to consider is what some of the bright minds of Sillicon Valley tend to think about the platform. Why? Well, because a good word from some of these people can add a lot of value and credibility to a very early stage platform and so significantly increase its exposure. Indeed, this kind of exposure is like gold, since it not only exposes Steemit to people who would merely love it if they would hear about it, but exposes it to other investors, VC’s or startup founders which could add significant value to the platform if they would join. Among these kind of people you have Fred Wilson, top Sillicon Valley investor, who is rooting for Steemit, Fred Ehrsam, Co-founder of Coinbase, mentioning it in his essay, Albert Wenger, early stage VC, mentioning it in his essay and many other startup founders who have already joined the platform.
Some Hard Questions
Although the overall data seems to be pointing toward a positive scenario there are some pertinent questions one must ask in order to get a clearer view of the data.
As @anonymint rightly pointed out in response to my other essay, one cannot get a real grasp of the growth rate without taking the attrition rate into account. Indeed, as the attrition rate seems to be ~66%, it seems really important to understand why it is so high.
In fact, it would be great if we could further enhance the understanding of our data and in addition to what we know, find out the number of unique daily and monthly visitors, difference in number of bots versus real humans, as well as some demographic information.
As I said before, Steemit is an early stage experiment which could eventually fail in any number of ways. Thus far however, evidence suggests it is gaining an enormous momentum. Not only are the current data points impressive, but when you understand that all these results have been achieved in roughly 4 months from launch, you can only imagine what can happen in one, two or three years.
In fact, it seems quite normal for people in crypto to call this a scam, a Ponzi, or whatever. Some of them are ill intentioned, some frightened and others simply ignorant. But make no mistake, we’ve been here before. Lots of rather educated people called Bitcoin a scam, a Ponzi and a few other things. Still, some overcame the initial prejudice and the rewards were not small.
Now, you have seen the data, have the great benefit of recent history yet as with most things, there’s no guarantee. The only thing you can do is make a bet. Either by buying Steem, investing time, coding, marketing, or bringing any other contribution for that matter.
One year from now, you’ll be feeling either lucky because you’ve joined or disappointed because you’ve missed the ship. Either way, put it only what you can afford to lose and above all, choose wisely.
Thanks for reading,
Data credit 1: https://steemd.com/distribution
Data credit 2: https://steemle.com/charts.php