Steem blockchain works a little bit differently than many other blockchains. It handles the spam problem by rate-limiting transaction frequency rather than asking a fee for every transaction like other blockchains. Rate-limiting the transactions is achieved by forcing users to own Steem Power. The more SP user has, the more often he can make transactions (this includes posting, commenting, voting and currency transfers).
This why Steemit is giving away free Steem Power for new users. They need it to use Steem. But this creates another problem: account hoarding must be prevented so that people don't make lots of accounts for themselves. This has been achieved by requiring Facebook or Reddit account when a new Steem account is created.
While current solution is working, it's not perfect. There are lots of people who might be interested in Steem but don't have FB or Reddit account, or don't want to connect them in any way to Steem.
Best solution for this is to make it possible to buy new accounts with bitcoins (and other cryptocurrencies). Bitcoins are automatically traded to steem and then converted to Steem Power.
In addition to an alternative way of creating new accounts, this has also other benefits for Steem:
- When users are buying accounts, some of them will buy more steem than the minimum amount. This will create more demand for steem and raise the market cap.
- When a new user invests his own money, he will take the project more seriously. The psychological effect between paid and free is quite big.
While I think it's great that Steemit is handing out free accounts at the moment, it might be a good idea to limit it in the future.
Let's assume that something big happens that draws attention to Steem. Maybe some whistleblowers publish important information in here, which makes every major news publication to link to Steemit.com. This means of course that we will get huge amounts of new users because everybody wants to come and try Steem.
If there is a huge demand, why there should be free accounts? Well, of course there is always people who don't know what Bitcoin is and don't want to bother getting it somewhere. For them free accounts are necessary.
In that kind of situation might be best to limit how many free accounts are handed out daily. When somebody wants a free account, he can give his email address to get into a waiting list. Certain amount of free accounts are randomly given for people in the waiting list. To make it fairer, it could work in a way that longer somebody is in the list, better chances he has getting an account.
This would encourage everybody to buy an account who already has bitcoins or at least knows how to get and use them. It would make wonders for market cap! Price of steem would go up because of the sudden demand.
I'd like to also make a case that it's not entirely good thing that Steemit is giving away money for new users. If there is a lot of demand and people are willing to buy accounts, it might be better if Steemit would use the money to hire more developers to ensure that Steemit.com can handle all those new users.
@blocktrades is probably the best one to implement the account buying feature because they already have the infrastructure. But I wouldn't mind to see some other developers or software companies to start building features too. The more Steem has independent developers, the faster it can evolve.