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Steem or Steam?

I recently had a misunderstanding with a friend when he mentioned being a Steem user. Not Steam the gaming company (I know this because me and my son play games on the Steam platform), but Steem the social network. Despite the name, these two are completly different. One is a platform to play or buy video games, the other is a social network built on top of a crypto currency.

Anyway the concept is pretty simple, there is a currency created by the company behind the Steemit website and everyone gets a share of it, depending on the success of your activities on the social network. Think like a little bit of money for every like you got on Facebook? Well, I’m not really a social media person, so this may not apply to me, but a lot of users seem to have been particularly successful on this network, including popular YouTubers who converted part of their audience to the site and automatically got a following on the new social network.

A very popular website for analyzing the Steem network is SteemWhales. From there we can see that almost 50 of the users of the social network have reached an estimated net value of 100,000 USDs for their efforts. Where does the money come from? From nowhere, it gets created from nothing, but somehow this magic money is indexed on currency exchange markets for other magic currencies, like Bitcoin. At the moment bitcoin is worth 770$ and 1 STEEM = 0.00021 BTC. Therefore if my math degree is good enough to do this operation, 1 STEEM = $0.16. Well apparently everyone starts with like 5 free STEEM, so I guess it’s better than nothing. While the value of Steem seems to be fluctuating a lot, it seems that the user base keeps on growing.

The blockchain technology used by Steem is very fast, and confirms transactions in less than 4 secs. This is what allows the social network to be alive. In comparison, Bitcoin confirmation time is about 8 minutes. The UI of the website is open source, and therefore receives a lot of regular updates by users of the social network very quickly. Apparently my friend has been on the network for a few months, and things are changing very fast, which is promising for a young startup. If you know the social network Reddit, then the Steem UI will look very similar to you. You basically vote on blog posts and the ‘trending’ page will show you the most upvoted ones.

I took quite awhile to research and read up about all this before I could make a decent article for it. Of course, a lot of it was influenced by a close friend of mine who’s on the Steem network almost every single day. It’s a really interesting concept, and who’s to say that crypto currency won’t take over mainstream paper currency anytime in the future?

About Joseph Hudson

Joseph is a long time local from Renton, and contributor for the Piazza Renton blog. He's a photographer by day and also enjoys playing video games with his 2 sons, Murphy and Jacob.