My Steemit Crypto Experience – Personal Reflections [One Year Later]

It was about a year ago (circa July 26, 2016) when I decided to join steemit.com, a social platform that rewards its users for posting, commenting, voting, and curating content.

You can think of it like a facebook that rewards you with crypto-currency for your participation.

Atop of that, there is no central authority behind the ‘wheel’, like with conventional social media. Of course, there are games of power; but most of what happens on this platform is relatively transparent and all ‘transactions’ (transfers, withdrawals, etc.) and ‘operations’ (comments, posts, votes) can be viewed by anyone, by using different tools or by accessing the Steem blockchain programmatically (which I’ve been doing a lot).

This type of decentralized social media is likely to catch, in my view. We are averse to being controlled, but most of us are unaware of our actual ‘puppet’ status. I don’t believe in conspiracies, but I know that for-profit companies need to successfully meet their financial agendas. To get a very small sense of you being exploit, I’d recommend listening to this discussion between Sam Harris and Tristan Harris.

My First Year of Steemit

I wrote a basic explanatory post about steemit, in September of 2016: how it works, my experience up to that point, and more. So, please read that first.

Okay, now a short, very simplified, example of how steemit work:

  1. You write a post, upload a picture, whatever.
  2. Other users vote on it (with a certain % of their Steem Power)
  3. Based on their power and the number of votes, you are being rewarded with Steem Dollars (SBD) and Steem Power
  4. You can withdraw your SBD via different exchangers (if that’s what you want).

Again, this is an over-simplification meant to help you better understand one of the ways the platform works.

Much has happened ever since my joining. In September 2016, steemit had ~80,000 registered accounts. As of July 2017, the count is north of 260,000; however, this number is not reflective of the count of active users, which is much lower, but it goes to show how the platform evolved.

Steemit has been going through ups and downs (which is normal, in my view); the value of STEEM went through high volatility.

There were times when 1 Steem Dollar (SBD) was worth more than $2 USD, and also rougher times, when it was much lower. Personally, I’m satisfied with the financial aspect of it so far – but it’s not my focal point.

That aside, I’ll discuss the aspects that have been and are more important and engaging for me.

Detecting Plagiarism

For a certain time, I’ve been involved in detecting plagiarism and users who post content and images without appropriate permission, without citations, or who infringe copyrights.

The results of their actions/posts/etc would materialize in downvotes by other users and by very powerful users; and this would basically kill their reputation (a number shown on the user profile, associated with the different measures of ‘reputation’). This would hinder their future on the platform.

So, no copy-pasta here! There is a powerful ‘legion’ of users actively fighting plagiarism and similar shady practices. I’ve stepped aside from this, until I would have more time at hand, or until I could work on a tool to help along. Which brings me to my next point.

Developing for Steemit

What got me hooked and actively interested in the Steem blockchain was the ability to look into all the activities that take place ‘under the hood’. My Python programming skills and the wonderful libraries built by a few steemit users allow me analyze the blockchain and do all sorts of imaginable and unimaginable operations for this purpose. I’ve also built a few tools myself.

Currently I’m working on a desktop application that, in its most current phase, provides all-in-one-place useful user stats. I’ll be releasing the second version shortly – with more features.

The SteemSTEM Initiative

Another active area of my interest is in growing the science community on steemit.

If you look at the trending page at any one point in time, you see that the majority of the highest rewarded posts involve controversy, meaningless meal recipes, food pictures, ‘sensitive’ vlogs, and a lot of other non-science content. I’m not against people posting about their lives, not by any mean! I could say that I don’t like non-sense.

I am part of a growing team that promotes good science on steemit. Our initiative is called SteemSTEM and we have some powerful users who back us up. How do we spread science and science related content?

Well, one example is by voting on well written science posts. SteemSTEM’s votes are trailed (followed) by a few high-power users. Thus, the reward for a good science post we vote on can be substantial – based on how much power, in %, we give it.

When there is so much bunk, non-sense, pseudoscience, deception, and bad science out there, I feel this is one way I can give a hand to promote good science.

In my current view, good science has helped get us to where we are today, and it is likely to help us further our technology, our knowledge, and our understanding of the world we live in…

Conclusion

One year into my journey, I made a few good virtual friends, whom I appreciate a lot and whom I am likely going to meet non-virtually too…

I’ll end this post with an open invitation. Come join steemit, and if you post good stuff, not necessarily related to science, I’ll give you a hand, as I’ve been given by others.

If you’ll be posting and engaging with the science community, that’s even better; more support is likely to come your way. So, come, join me on steemit.


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