At the beginning of November, I had the pleasure to attend the second annual Steemfest in Lisbon, Portugal.
The event housed over 300 people this year for three days, two of which were conference days.
Guest speakers ranged from experts in finance and blockchain technology to regular bloggers and even the spokesperson for the Satanic temple.
Steemfest is a gathering of users on Steemit.com, a social networking platform that operates on top of the Steem blockchain database.
This blockchain produces the tradeable cryptocurrencies Steem and Steem Backed Dollars, which users can obtain for blogging and commenting.
The event was interesting to say the least and in between conference slots, I managed to hold a few interviews with interesting individuals.
There was also a hack-a-thon and at the end of the conference, the winners were announced and offered a $2,000 prize.
In this series, I will write about these interviews and my Steemfest experience in general.
Introduction of the Smart Media Token
The first day of the conference started with a short welcome by the organizer of Steemfest, then the word was given to Steemit Co-Founder and CEO Ned Scott, who presented new ideas and announcements to come in the near future regarding the Steem blockchain.
Scott explained, “A smart media token is a token that’s integrated easily into social media and user generated content websites in a way that it’s rewarding contributors, allowing the websites to monetize and allowing entrepreneurs to potentially raise money to kick-start their businesses.
Businesses on the internet are pretty much looking for those three things: fundraising, monetization and user-growth. So the Smart Media Tokens empower entrepreneurs to utilize all these three things.”
Smart Media Tokens (SMTs) enable anyone to launch and sell their own Proof-of-Brain tokens—tokens distributed by “up-vote” and “like”-based algorithms, integrated with websites to align incentives and spur growth.
At the same time, Smart Media Tokens make it possible for websites to use revenue models that are both sustainable and cryptocurrency centric.
Along with Steemit.com, dsound.audio, chainBB.com, Busy.org and other Steem interfaces are proof that this model is successful by monetizing content, tokens and media in a way we’ve never seen before.
There are other token protocols like the popular ERC-20, based on the Ethereum blockchain, that allows people to create and launch tokens.
However, there is no protocol that allows content businesses to leverage these tokens by giving an incentive for the use of their applications.
Interview with the founder of Steemit Worldmap
On the first day of the conference, I held a few interviews with interesting individuals who were also attending the conference.
This first interview was with one of the developers who joined the hack-a-thon and would go on to win the competition.
Could you just tell me in short who you are and what you do?
My Steemit name is @Martibis.
I’m a developer working on the Steemit Worldmap, which is quite a cool project. If you’re a traveler, definitely go and check it out.
On my own personal blog, I write some of my own travel stories and some poetry, and [I’m working] on a novel. I also keep people updated on my Steemit Worldmap project.
And could you tell me a little bit more about the Steemit Worldmap?
Basically, the way it works is you go to SteemitWorldmap.com and click on the slider at the bottom of the page.
For example, we’re in Lisbon right now, so if you want to make a post about that, you can click on the slider and it will generate a tag for you.
It copies it automatically and you paste this to the bottom of your post. Once it’s there, it’s on the map! It’s as simple as that.
How did you first get on Steemit?
Good question, I actually have to think about that.
I think I was just reading through some different kinds of cryptocurrencies that had my interest and Steem was one of them. I didn’t really understand immediately how it worked, but I thought: “Hey, if I don’t try it, I’ll never know.”
So I started to write some poetry on the Steemit platform. I started to get some money out of it and I thought it was lovely because I love to share my poetry with people.
After that, I started working on my novel and had a lot of advice from the Pal Discord group, a group that helps out newbies, and it really improved my writing.
Where do you see Steem and Steemit going in the future?
Martibis: I do believe there is a lot of potential for growth.
There are a few things that need to be worked on, but it’s only in its Beta so I feel that won’t be an issue for long.
I believe that Steemit and Steem will get quite big and also important, because people get paid for sharing their content, ideas and stories… [This is] money that is usually made by companies like Facebook and Twitter.
So I think the potential is there to become something huge, but it will be more smooth.
I understand that the fact that people get paid to post their content would be the main difference between Steemit and social network platforms like Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, etc. but could you mention other things that would be in significant contrast compared to those?
Because you are getting paid, it makes people work harder to post good content. A picture of a kitten is just not going to generate much.
So it spurs people on to find their niche.
If you’re a developer and you think you can develop something or make an app that can benefit the community on Steemit, you can work on this and post your ideas.You can then get feedback and tips and get paid for those ideas.
One last question. Where do you see it going in general with cryptocurrency?
It’s going to take over the world eventually.
We are working towards decentralization. Something that was needed probably since the existence of the banking system, and now we have the tools to do it.
Most people still don’t know about it, but more and more people are getting involved and see the possibilities we have with this.
It is beautiful and I for one am glad that I am on board already, and I hope that more people will soon as well.
Interview with the Communications Ambassador for Bitcoin.com
I was lucky to catch this man for an interview as he was quite busy and popular. Sterlin Lujan is an author, journalist, speaker and anarchist and besides this, he works with Bitcoin.
Can you please tell me a little bit about yourself and who you are?
Sure, I’m Sterlin Lujan, I am the communications ambassador for Bitcoin.com. I am also responsible for creating a website and community called The Psychologic Anarchist, which is for individuals to learn how to communicate, interact and emphasize better with people.
I also own a cryptocurrency business called the Cryptocurrency Confident where I educate people about cryptocurrency and investing in different altcoins.
Interesting! And you are also on Steemit?
Yes, I am also on Steemit, my username there is @sterlinluxan.
I write a lot about all of these topics although I haven’t been on much lately, mainly due to other conflicts of interest and conflicts of time.
In regards to Steem, Bitcoin and other altcoins, where do you see this going?
I see all these cryptocurrencies continue to blow up in price, for Bitcoin specifically. I see Bitcoin continuing to go up and get high marks.
Especially since it’s been commodified because of the Segwit movement. But what I really think should happen with Bitcoin is that it needs to have massive on-chain scaling and the direction it went to with Segwit was an incorrect way to go.
Now with Steem, I see it gaining some more in the future, but it needs better marketing. It needs some more work on the front end. But they made some good steps by re-branding and changing the website.
As for cryptocurrency in general, the future is very bright. We are at an evolutionary stage. We’re building up new communities, we’re going to be freeing society from oppressive governments and we’ll be doing a whole lot of very important things.
You see a really great future for cryptocurrency, but do you think that we’ll ever get rid of the banks, at least the way they are now?
That’s a really great question. My initial reaction is: I definitely hope so. We have to get rid of the banking system, because this system does not have the trust of the people.
We’ve already had banking systems betray any kind of trust that people had. They ripped people off, scammed and defrauded people.
I’ll make two different references here: [In] the U.S., for instance, between 2007 and 2009 there was a financial collapse because of the housing bubble where a lot of people lost a lot of money, and this is because of the incompetence and the vial and evil nature of these banking schemes to rip people off and treat people poorly.
As a cryptocurrency advocate, I would be remiss in my duties of promoting it if I didn’t think we were trying to undermine these systems.
Anyone who wants to collaborate with banks and with these systems are making a mistake because that’s like taking a step back into the Stone Age.
So we need to keep moving forward and we need to create decentralized ways to handle these same problems.
Just for the sake of argument, if banks happen to survive it will only be because they start embracing some aspects of decentralized technology, but personally I have no use for banks.
All in all with cryptocurrency, the Steemit community and the Steem coin even, do you think we can change the world?
Yes, absolutely. I have a lot of faith in Steem, I’ve been on Steemit since the early days.
I gave a presentation earlier about Steemit’s ability to help get people out of having to live in this system where they have to do these 9-to-5 grind jobs. [But] on Steemit, you can post and get paid for it.
That system is beautiful and it’s not some ideological dream or some airy fairy utopia. This is real life. People are living of Steem right now, they are buying cars, they are buying houses, they’re providing for their children.
They are living off this platform. So all I see is a continuation of Steemit into the future, growing and continuing to help free people and also continuing to be a large major force in people’s lives.