Whilst BTC represents 63% of the market cap of all cryptocurrencies (or approximately $175 bn), there are still over 5,000 other coins out there. We, at decentralize.today, aren't going to wade into the maximilist minefield but we do feel strongly that there are a lot of people and projects around that are worthy of additional coverage.
The flip side to this is that of those 5,000 altcoins there are a large number (and no-one has broken this down as best as we can tell) and definitively defined or declared which may be dead, scams or dying!
So we plan to throw up a melange of AltCoin Outlooks in future featuring coins that we rate as well as some that we have concerns about for reasons we will explore.
By coincidence, we will also be starting a series looking at the decentralization of social media...we've all seen how it (and Big Tech) has gotten itself into most of our lives in one form or another and even though we all know Facebook and the like have many security and privacy issues and that they sell our data to get rich on the back of that plus our content and our usage and yet there are alternatives, places, apps, communities and sites where there is no central point of control so no central point of failure!
Join us as we dive into the alternatives to Facebook, Twitter and Instagram and perhaps even YouTube and the like.
It just so happens that our first in the series will be a joint examination of an entity that features both a coin and a social media network...Steem.
Steem/Steemit – the altcoin and the social media network
Steem started out as a blockchain.
On July 4, 2016, Steemit, Inc., a company founded by Ned Scott and blockchain developer, Dan Latimer, launched a social media platform called Steemit as the first application built on the Steem blockchain.
Steem is the cryptocurrency on the Steemit platform and it is used to reward users for community building through the posting of meaningful content.
It also powers multiple Dapps via social apps like Steemit.
The reward aspect works by allowing a piece of content, delivered to the greatest number of people, to receive the greatest reward. Steemit users cast votes and that creates a 'hierarchy of content', the more votes the greater the reward.
But Steemit's meritocratic system also allows users with the most currency to cast more 'meaningful & greater influence' votes. (Think US Democrats and 'super delegates).
"Steemit has redefined social media by building a living, breathing, and growing social economy – a community where users are rewarded for sharing their voice. It's a new kind of attention economy"
"Steemit is a social blogging platform, think medium or reddit and combine the two. Like on medium you can post an article and like on reddit people can vote the article up. However unlike on reddit, steemit rewards your content and articles with money." - in their own words
There are supposedly more than a million users. User IDs and post data are stored on the Steem blockchain. Steemit monetizes through users promoting their posts so when they perform certain actions on Steemit, they'll earn Steem.
Having posts that get 'upvoted' allows users to earn from a rewards pool and upvoted posts that become popular can earn voters a curation reward. Votes are weighted by reputation, which accumulates with age, so older accounts of early adopters have more power.
One of the biggest issues here is that that 'whales' who have a lot of Steem Power (explained below*) can vote for themselves and make themselves thousands of dollars per article. You can easily see how this can lead to abuse of the reward pool. It isn't long before the same accounts voting on each other's posts (circle jerking) get some sub-optimal content on to the Trending Pages!
*Converting Steem to Steem Power is refered to as 'powering up'. This is within the functionality of your wallet and at the rate of 1 : 1.There is an equivalent 'powering down' process but it only allows reversion at the rate of 1/13th per week. Effectively, your Steem are locked in!
Steem Power (SP) can be delegated to others, which can lead to 'vote selling' and some enterprising users have even reverted to 'bid bots' which canvass for the highest bidder.
And all to influence which articles/post make it to the 'Trending pages'. A sad example of the system driving the service for personal gain and aggrandizement!
All this makes it tough for newcomers with little to no influenec (i.e. money) to make an impact on the platform.
Moving on and wrapping things up, a Steemit account can also function as a cryptocurrency wallet. Users are responsible for their own key management and there is no account recovery for funds lost or stolen if the key is compromised. Accounts cannot be deactivated or deleted as they are permanently stored on the Steem blockchain. Due to spamming (apparently) new accounts require an email and phone number and go through a 'review process'.
Whilst you can use Steem to Power Up within Steemit, you can also purchase goods and services on the platform and exchange your Steem dollars via Bittrex, Binance and the like for BTC.
The big upsell for Steemit is that it has it all...from photo posting to storytelling to blogging. And when you get voted up you get paid and that's a fabulous 'Real Use Case' in itself, however, the biggest issue here is that 'whales' with lots of SP can vote for themselves or their favoured associates and keep all the rewards for themselves!
That abuse harms the entire platform.
A few key facts about Steem, the cryptocurrency, as at the time of posting:
Market Cap: US$78.5 MM
Ave daily volume: US$2.00 MM
Total supply: 372 MM
Maximum supply: n/a
ATH: US$8.57 (Jan 03 2018)
ATL: US$0.07 (Mar 10 2017)
Current price: US$0.22
On February 14, 2020, Steemit announced a 'strategic' partnership with the TRON Foundation. Tron and Steemit developers will begin working together and bring Steemit and other Steem blockchain based DApps to the TRON blockchain and its community of over 20 million users.
The announcement left many confused as to how a supposedly community owned 'coin' could be sold in such a centralized fashion...good question, we believe! Answers on a postcard, please (email DT or leave a comment!).
In the coming months, we'll be taking a look at other examples of decentralized social media including:
Dtube is a decentralized version of YouTube, which also started off using Steem for monetization purposes.
Dlive is a Twitch-style live-streaming platform that started out using Steem, switched to using its own token, and was then acquired by Tron and is currently changing tokens again.
BCH, BSV : A few social networks have built on these Bitcoin forks using the cryptocurrency to monetize and to store data. These include Memo and Twetch.
We will write about these decentralized social networks and others through our new 'SM decentralized!' series as we only see this space becoming bigger and more significant in the future. At least we hope so, as we don't like single points of control and/or failures!
Likewise, we'll be devoting more time & attention to 'AltCoin Outlook' so if you have a coin that you want us to look at or represent a coin and want to share information on it, please email us at email@example.com