The Steem Blockchain as a “Benevolent” Platform for Internet Services
Shortly after I wrote about Storify’s impending paid only move, an article by The Verge’s Kaitlyn Tiffany caught my attention: TinyLetter is a perfect platform and it is probably not dying.
The article dealt with MailChimp’s ownership of TinyLetter and another period of uncertainty over whether TinyLetter would be kept as a stand-alone and free platform. TinyLetter users aren’t strange to such hubbaloo and as usually, the storm wouldn’t have filled a tea glass and the news is that TinyLetter will continue to exist as a stand-alone platform. At least for now. Minimalists and kitchen sink features haters like me, rejoiced
What particularly caught my attention in Tiffany’s article was the following line:
The fear that there is no such thing as a truly “benevolent” and reliable platform is a founded one…
Tiffany arguments this with several high-profile examples of online properties which have been shuttered, absorbed or outrightly killed because of sheer stupidity by their overlords. Each time resulting in users losing a platform they loved and liked.
Sometimes a fight back was staged victoriously such as in the case of Patreon when Patreon increased the fees and users argued. While writing here on the Steem blockchain, obviously, I have to disclose my utter disdain for Patreon as a model, or rather platform, a platform which serves only the largest creators using it and those with an already large user/follower base. For anybody else, for every small time (content) creator or hobbyist, Patreon is pretty much only for the breadcrumbs. With much less chance to be discovered than minnows on the Steem blockchain have.
Which brings us to the Steem blockchain. And indirectly to SMTs too.
When writing about Storify I wondered:
Could an existence on the blockchain have saved Storify and reduced its operational costs sufficiently to continue to operate as a standalone tool, even if owned by a commercial behemoth like Adobe?
Would a future Storify clone, complete with Steem rewards upvoting mechanism, become a more popular tool?
Imagine TinyLetter, a minimalist newsletter operated by one of the goliaths in the newsletter scene, were built as a free platform on the Steem blockchain, making use of the almost to the Steem blockchain unique
The platform would send emails to all recipients and receive a share of the rewards of each post.
As Steemians we all know about the benefits of creating and publishing on the Steem blockchain. Contrarily to serving as a reason to pay a monthly subscription, a perk, like on platforms like Patreon, the content created is public and visible to everyone and every Steemian can reward the creator. The SMT/platform takes a share of all rewards, incentivizing them to find high quality and high profile authors, whose networks they can tap in and can contribute to the platform’s popularity and possible virality even.
The more creators a platform can get, the higher its reach. The higher the profile of those creators, the higher the possibility that new Steemians may also invest in STEEM (power) and the higher the potential revenue of a platform operating on the Steem blockchain, without needing to resort to advertising revenues or fees for premium content.
Creators themselves would be rewarded as well, possibly much more than most ever can earn from platforms like Patreon. Because of the more passive cost of Steem upvotes.
The Steem blockchain has already several platforms operating on this concept, making use of beneficary in order to cover costs and development like Steemhunt, dTube, DSound and several more. Many more to come this year and in the coming years.
Most of those platforms operate with 15-25%
beneficiary, which can result in generous rewards for the most viral content. Even at these early stages in the Steem ecosystem1.
The question now is whether the Steem blockchain could even operate as benevolent platform and cover additional, third-party, expenses a service operator may have in order to operate their platform. For example the expense incurred from mass mailing and also marketing efforts.
While I am aware that the Steem blockchain isn’t free as such2, my question remains the same: Is the Steem blockchain the benevolent platform the Internet currently doesn’t have?