This is an open invitation for people who live, work, study, worship or spend other time in the Delaware Valley region of Pennsylvania, New Jersey, Delaware or Maryland:
Pixabay license: source
- Are you curious about blockchain and cryptocurrency but wary of risking your money on speculative technologies?
- Are you tired of having your online presence conscripted by the big-tech giants who profit by harvesting your social media content yet give you no compensation?
- Do you want to help the next generation of tech jobs to emerge and thrive in the Delaware Valley?
If you answered "yes" to any of these questions, please read further. I'd like to invite you to a new community that has launched on the Steem blockchain. The community is Delaware Valley Life, and it's intended as a blockchain-based gathering place where people in our region can discuss topics of local interest.
Think of it like a public Facebook Group, but it's on the blockchain so the community owns its own data, and the blockchain offers rewards for any discussions that the stakeholders find to be valuable.
The cost is free; it's an opportunity to begin demystifying blockchain and cryptocurrencies through hands-on experience; and it's a platform where the Delaware Valley's tech-entrepreneurs can join the leading edge of people who are building the next generation of Internet technologies.
If you want to sign up, you can request an account here and start exploring at no cost. For people with Delaware Valley connections, once you have your account, please visit beta.steemit.com and join the Delaware Valley Life community.
What is Steem
- Social media
Steem is a ~4 year old blockchain technology that provides a public blockchain database for social media applications. The flagship website is steemit.com, and there are also many others. My personal favorite is steempeak.com. Social media users on the Steem blockchain can receive cryptocurrency rewards for creating content and also for voting to identify high-value content. The cryptocurrency rewards can be converted to actual currency through the use of an exchange like coinbase.com.
Simplifying, the blockchain offers two main types of rewards for social media users. These are author rewards, and curation rewards. Author rewards go to people who post articles or commentary and receive upvotes from stakeholders. The higher the value of the upvotes, the greater the author rewards.
Curation rewards go to people who vote for posts or commentary. The size of curation rewards is driven by the value of the total upvotes, and also by two other factors: Early voters receive more as a sort of finder's fee (after a 5 minute ramp-up to counter bot voting), and voters with larger stakes receive more as an incentive to reward investments in the blockchain (account-holders can invest by buying and staking the cryptocurrency or by earning it with their social media activity).
To be clear, the typical user is not likely to "strike it rich" from these social media rewards, but if you are active on the blockchain, maybe you can use them to take your family to dinner once or twice a year.
- Platform for developers
As a permissionless database with public APIs, anyone who wants to can set up an application to make use of the data on the Steem blockchain. This means that applications can be launched to fulfill any conceivable purpose that makes use of Internet connectivity, public data, and cryptocurrency rewards. The possibilities are only limited by our imaginations.
Already, the blockchain has seen applications launch that accomplish diverse purposes like video sharing, rewarding people for exercising, online games with cryptocurrency rewards, and ownership and trading of collectible digital trading cards.
Unlike most blockchains, these applications can be built with the widely known JSON protocol instead of requiring complex and bug-prone smart contracts.
The site beta.steemit.com has been set up with the new beta-version "Steem Communities". As mentioned above, this is like a public Facebook, Yahoo or Google Group, but there is no tech-giant controlling the data, and participants are eligible to receive rewards for their contributions. Delaware Valley Life is among the first of these communities.
As a beta technology, they're still ironing things out, but to the best of my knowledge this is already a first of its kind blockchain capability.
- Smart Media Tokens (coming soon)
Smart Media Tokens (SMT)s are currently operating on a Testnet, but they're not yet available on the public blockchain. According to estimates I've seen, they may be released sometime in the first quarter of 2020. These can be created with no programming, and they will offer businesses the possibility of launching customized cryptocurrency rewards with their own unique branding and other characteristics. Entrepreneurs and businesses will come up with many ways to use these, and (if I recall correctly) they'll be convertible to other cryptocurrencies on Steem's internal decentralized cryptocurrency exchange.
- Steem-engine and Tribes
The steem-engine.com web site has already set up its own version of layer-2 tokens on the Steem blockchain. These were built by the SplinterLands team according to the Open Source specification for SMTs, and they run on a so-called side chain of the Steem blockchain. They are coupled with tribe-specific web sites like stemgeeks.net and steemleo.com.
While the Steem ecosystem is testing SMTs on the Testnet, these tribes and tokens already offer gathering places and customized rewards for smaller groups of people with shared interests.
Are you curious about blockchain and cryptocurrency but wary of the risk?
I have been playing around with different blockchain technologies since 2015, and for the first couple years I imposed a requirement on myself not to risk any of my own money while I was learning the technologies. So I can definitely relate to wariness of the technology. As described above, one of the best zero-cost ways that I have found to gain hands-on experience with blockchain technology is through the Steem blockchain.
The Steem blockchain offers a way for you to dip your toes into the blockchain waters without spending any money. In fact, the article that brought me to the Steem blockchain was, Steemit is Bitcoin's Killer App | Evidence, Numbers, & Analysis. Over the course of the years, it has been commonly observed that Steem platforms often act as gateways into other forms of cryptocurrency.
You can start with familiar social-media activity, and take your knowledge deeper down the layers as far as you'd like to go and entirely at your own pace. If you go deep enough, you'll start learning things that are portable enough to bridge into other blockchains.
Are you tired of having your online presence conscripted by the big-tech giants who profit by harvesting your social media content yet give you no compensation?
As discussed above, when you post your content on the Steem blockchain, you are eligible to earn rewards from the blockchain for it, and those rewards can be exchanged into regular currency.
According to the steem.com web site, $59,595,935 have been paid out by the blockchain in its not quite four years of existence and steemd.com reveals that the current rewards fund has $168,200 ready to be paid out.
That's compared to the $0 that many popular blogging and social media sites are paying to their own users.
Do you want to help the next generation of tech jobs to emerge and thrive in the Delaware Valley?
As you have probably gathered by now, plain-vanilla social media is just the beginning of what's possible on the Steem blockchain. In addition to individual users, the blockchain is also being populated by application developers, each of whom brings their own unique perspective to build upon the decentralized architecture.
If local entrepreneurs capitalize on it, this could be an amazing opportunity for the technology community in the Delaware Valley to become early leaders as blockchain continues to break into the main stream.
Thank you for reading. If you're ready to get started, signing up is almost as easy as signing up for any other social media account. Just go to signup.steemit.com and request your account.