What if someone combined something like Facebook with something like Bitcoin? Well, someone has done it and this new venture is called Steemit. It is a decentralized social network that pays contributors with their own cryptocurrency called Steem Dollars. I first learned of Steemit a few weeks ago and was immediately intrigued. Of course, as a regular reader you already know my fascination with Bitcoin and cryptocurrency, and my major presence on social media.
I have been hoping and praying that a new social network would come along. I have been on Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube for years and I have had a bumpy relationship with all three. While I won't go into all of the details here, my frustration with being censored as a conservative Christian has reached a breaking point. You set up a page on Facebook and then pay them for ads to get 'likes.' When you post content to your page only about 12 percent of the people will see the post. If you want all of your followers to see your post, you have to pay Facebook for an advertisement. Next, even if they approve your ad they can come back later and penalize you for the ad violating their terms of service (yes, they approve the ad and then penalize you for it not being in compliance with their rules). On top of that, you get nothing for the content you post, all the while Facebook is posting ads in your timeline and on the sidebar of the pages that you created and paid to get followers for. Facebook has clearly become a one way street and all the money is flowing to the corporate behemoth. I, for one, have had enough.
Many of you may know how I exposed a worldwide scam called 'Profitable Sunrise' four years ago. My reporting uncovered what turned about to be more than a 100 million dollar Ponzi scheme that targeted the Christian community (and was the subject of my book - Exposing The Ponzi Masters). My reporting was picked up by newspapers as far away as New Zealand and Pat Robertson brought me on the 700 Club to warn Christians. Well, no good deed goes unpunished. I ended up having my YouTube account restricted for six months due to complaints from the scammers! Yep, they all got together as a gang and repeatedly flagged my YouTube account. I appealed my account restriction and got an automated response telling me that my appeal was denied. That was the end of it, there was no one to call - I was being punished for exposing a worldwide Ponzi scheme! The truth is that I am sure this was all done by way of a computer software program and no human ever even looked at my appeal. To this day, my YouTube account is 'de-monetized' (meaning I cannot make a dime from all of the content I post there each week). I have heard countless stories of Christians and conservatives losing their YouTube accounts or at a minimum have them 'de-monetized.' The same kinds of things are happening on Facebook.
After buying $10 of advertising to promote the below post, I am now banned from buying ads on Twitter. First, they approved my 'promoted post' and then suspended my ad account after the promotion ran (I supposedly violated their terms of service, but they would not tell me which one). You may also be aware of my one week suspension from Twitter back in 2009 that made national news.
Facebook Alternative Pays You To Participate
Steemit officially launched on July 4th of 2016. Much like Facebook, users can post and share content. After setting up a profile on the platform users can 'follow' other participants on the platform. Posts can be commented on and 'upvoted' (the equivalent of a Facebook like). What will get your attention is how much people are earning by participating. Since Facebook doesn't pay users anything for contributing, it wouldn't take much of a payout for people to get excited (and consider moving). That being said, however, the money some people are making represents the kind of money that could replace a full time job (or represent a significant part time income).
The below screenshot shows the top few earning posts on Steemit over the past 24 hours. The author of the post receives 75 percent of the earnings on the post and those that voted and commented share in 25 percent of the reward. The rewards earned are paid out 50 percent in tokens (that are used on the site itself and represent 'influence') and 50 percent in a coin similar to Bitcoin (than can be cashed in for U.S. Dollars). The bottom line is that a good chunk of these earnings can be banked and spent as real money.
What's more, Steem is a fast rising currency and has recently become worth nearly $2 for one coin. That means that just like with Bitcoin, those people accumulating Steem could end up with a portfolio worth thousands of dollars (with appreciation over time). The chart below shows how Steem Dollars (the currency that contributors are paid in that can be converted to 'Steem') have risen from about $1 to nearly $8 in just the last three weeks.
Steemit is free to join, and just like with any social media account it will take time to build a following and gain readers. My own plan is to invite my entire e mail list to open accounts on Steemit and follow me. Next, I plan to insert a 'follow me on Steemit' graphic on all my websites. Also, I will promote my Steemit presence on my existing social media. In addition to cross posting articles from my blog to my Steemit account, I also plan to write exclusive articles that will appear only on my Steemit blog.
For those that want to get a quick education on how the site works, I would recommend reading their Quick Start Guide. Another great resource is the FAQ section of their site. In addition to a site very much like Facebook, Steemit also has a video platform of its own called DTube (you guessed it, similar to YouTube and pays just like the Steemit site does).
I will admit that I don't understand all of the inner workings of Steemit yet, but I love the idea of getting paid for my content. Keep in mind that you get paid not just for your own original posts, but for sharing online content, and even just for commenting and voting on other people's posts. This could really be a Facebook killer when the word gets out. We have all heard the joke (and sometimes even true story) about bloggers that live in their parent's basement. By combining a social media platform with a cryptocurrency, Steemit may have created a way for online content creators to not just establish a serious income stream, but also build significant wealth over the coming years. For now, I plan to simply add Steemit to my social media accounts, but it may end up largely replacing my efforts on Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube. We will see...
Connect with me on Steemit @jameslparis
Helping you make the most of God’s money!