Back in March 2016, the Steem blockchain came into existence. Ned Scott and Dan Larimer formed Steemit Inc., to develop this blockchain. In July 2016 they released a front end for the blockchain called Steemit.com. It was released as the first social media platform built on a blockchain.
The more accurate description would have been blogging platform. The only social part of it was the discussions taking place in the comments. Content creators received votes on their content from other stakeholders. The more stake the voter had, the higher reward the content creator received. Content creators split their rewards with ‘curators’, the people who read and upvote the content. To date, almost $60million (US) has been rewarded to Steem users.
The Ugly Front Door
If you had visited Steemit.com back in July 2016 and then visited it now, you would think not much had changed. The site looks a lot like it did then. What you’d not know unless you explored further is that Steemit.com is the ugly front door to a rapidly expanding and growing ecosystem.
The STEEM blockchain is faster and more robust than those powering Ethereum and Bitcoin. It’s able to handle over 1million transactions per day while the other two are closer to 500,000 transactions daily. This capacity allows the STEEM blockchain to handle social applications at scale. There are currently over 300 Steem-based apps.
Exploring The Ecosystem
There are other frontends currently available like Steempeak and Busy. Mobile access through apps like Partiko and eSteem. More frontends are in various stages of development like Steeve which uses AI to suggest posts for users to explore or Wordrow which is going to bring curated Fiction to the forefront and a publishing house called Steemhouse Publishing.
D’Apps access the Steem blockchain to empower users to continue to earn STEEM or SBD (Steem Backed Dollars) and build their accounts. It’s difficult to keep up to the various options available to members.
Even Off-Blockchain Sites Can Benefit
Some D’Apps allow non-blockchain sites to feed back to the blockchain like Steempress, a WordPress plugin which will cross-post a blog post on a person’s self-hosted WordPress site to their Steem account. Comments made on the post, appear on both the blog and Steem. There are also WordPress plugins which allow Steem to be a payment option. Share2Steem allows members to post to sites like Twitter, Instagram, YouTube, Twitch or Medium and share those posts to Steem where they will earn rewards.
Games on the Blockchain
Games are being developed on the blockchain. One of the most popular at the moment is Steem Monsters. You can buy virtual cards and engage in battles in the game. Other games are in development.
D’App Development in Early Days
Many of the D’apps lack the versatility and audience that their off blockchain counterparts have but it’s early days. For those fed up with YouTube, there is DTube where an active community of vloggers upload videos and receive rewards. For live streaming, there is Vimm.tv which allows you to stream but doesn’t record the feed.
Earning While Moving
Want to earn some Steem for being active? There is an app for that. It’s called Actifit. You choose the activity and then post your activity report directly from the app to the blockchain. The developers have linked it up with Fitbit on the Android version but are still working on the IOS version.
Open Source Developers
Open source developers will find a community through Utopian where they can work on their projects and find other creators needed to advance their work.
Many come for the rewards and end up staying for the community. At this point, many of those communities haven’t formed on the blockchain, they are formed through the chat site Discord. Originally built for gamers, Discord has become the home for Steemians who come together to network and work to build community on the blockchain.
From several of those discords, a network of live voice shows has developed. Some are just held within the discord, some are streamed live and then uploaded to DTube or YouTube. The topics are varied, almost all of them serve to support and promote the content which is created on the platform.
There is A Learning Curve
It’s not an easy platform to find your way around. Not everyone stays. There are efforts by members of the platform to connect with promising newcomers and give them a guiding hand. One of those projects is called the Welcome Wagon. It invites in new Steemians, mentors them intensively for a week and then provides ongoing support and community while encouraging the members to spread their wings into other communities.
Different Than Other Social Media
Generally, those who stay until they get their feet under them are committed to staying. As they start to see the depth of what is happening, they get curious about what more is to come. They also notice that while there are some dark areas of the platform, for the most part, the interaction on the Steem platform is far more respectful than found on other social media.
Fewer nasty trolls get to create havoc. While posts and comments can be upvoted to earn rewards, they can be downvoted and lose rewards. The community will often come together to remove any gains a troll tries to get. In a sense, it pays to be kind on Steem.
I’m ShadowsPub on the Steem platform. I joined in August 2016 and have watched it grow from the Steemit frontend to the ecosystem it has become. I’ve created a discord community called the Steemit Ramble from which several shows are broadcast each week. You’re welcome to come visit and make yourself known.