My Background and Vision for Steem
Hello Steemians, I’m Steve and I’m a blockchain engineer at Steemit, Inc. In the following video I chat with @andrarchy (Head of Communications at Steemit) about how I came to Steemit, what I’ve been doing since I joined the team about a year ago, and where I see Steem going in the future. I also talk about the work I’ve been doing more recently on SMTs, and what work remains to be done.
To learn more about who else is on the Steemit Team and what they do, you can visit the “About” page on steem.com.
I started getting into computers and programming at about the age of 12 and I was hooked, fascinated instantly. I started fooling around with Linux and bash scripting. It was a hobby of mine for a few years, but I didn’t yet consider it my profession. I went to college for business, general stuff, and I got a business-like job when I got out of college.
But I was never quite happy with my career. I really enjoyed creating things and the beauty of software is that with no materials, except for your brain, you can create beautiful things. That’s why I decided to turn my hobby into my profession and went back to college for computer science.
After working on Content Management Systems, followed by a giant program for commodity trading for 5 years, I wanted to move into something innovative. I started to get into cryptocurrencies and saw the opportunity to work in Steemit, and work on the Steem blockchain, so I jumped all over that opportunity. I studied hard for my interview, got the fundamentals down, and was eventually hired. Then I jumped in on the chain.
I started with little things like bugs, and some little tiny SMT features to get my feet wet. Then I worked on MIRA after what I call “The Reckoning.” Cost cutting measures needed to be taken, so we revamped the backend database with RocksDB, which was a big project. Now I’m back, laser-focused, trying to get SMTs out.
Completed Work on SMTs
When I first got hired I did work around “NAIs” which is Numeric Asset Identifiers. It’s a unique ID for an SMT. SMT names will not be on the chain, they will be identified by a number that represents the SMT. They come from a pool of available numbers so that you can’t claim vanity numbers like “0000000000” or “123456.” So I implemented that pool and I fixed some issues in the NAI code.
After that I moved to MIRA, which dramatically reduced the cost of running Steem nodes by moving the blockchain from RAM to commodity hardware. You know that trick where you pull the tablecloth and all the plates stay on the table? Implementing MIRA was like pulling the tablecloth off … and then putting it back on with everything staying the same.
Ongoing SMT Work
After finishing up the work on MIRA a month or two ago, I moved back to working on SMTs. My goal, at the time of filming this interview, was to finish work on the ICO process (launching an Initial Coin Offering) and I’m happy to announce that work is now complete. All the code needed to create an SMT, set up the parameters, launch the ICO, allow contributions, evaluate whether the ICO was a “success” (sufficient contributions were made in the specified window of time) or failure, and launch the token, is now complete!
I don’t foresee major hurdles to us shipping SMTs. The remaining work is now mostly around Proof-of-Brain, token emissions, and how RCs are handled within the SMT ecosystem. There may be some opportunities to simplify this code, but I don’t see any hurdles that will stop us from a release relatively soon. At that point focus will shift to coordinating a hardfork with the Witnesses and the rest of the community.
The main thing that has been standing in the way of releasing SMTs isn’t some impossible-to-solve technical problem. All we needed was a block of time where we could be focused on SMTs and not be pulled in a million directions. Many things happened in the past few months which required we divert our attention away from SMTs like HF20, MIRA, the EIP (Economic Improvement Proposal), the SPS/Steem.DAO (Steem Proposal System), and Testnet. The real problem is that is context-swapping is expensive. Moving from one project to another makes it difficult to stay on track.
All we need to finish SMTs is the time to focus, and then it will get done. Aside from some minimal Testnet support, that’s largely where we are at right now. Thanks to the work being done on Tesnet, numerous bugs have been found and patched. That means that we can be reasonably certain that the roll out of HF21 will be very smooth, and after that, it’s going to be clear sailing for SMTs.
My Vision for Steem
I think there’s a lot of “alt” coins that provide little to no value, and some of them have market caps greater than Steem. I think that will change when there is a shake up and a lot of these alt coins die off. Steem is one of the few coins that actually provides a service, performs a function, and has real world possibilities right now. I think it’s not yet understood by the masses, but marketing and getting listed on Coinbase can help with that.
I want to see a mobile presence for Steem. I’m a big fan of censorship-resistance so I want mobile clients that interact directly with the chain, that way nothing can be censored. That’s what I want to see … tomorrow. But things take time. We’ll get there Steemians. In the meantime...