The Future of Blockchain Content Applications in the Post-Steem Age
SHANGHAI, May 29, 2018 — Recently, Boris from Wanchain expressed his opinion on The Future of Block Chain Content Applications in the Post-Steem Age. Below please find the details of his viewpoints.
Dapps and Vertical Applications on Public Chains
Following years of development, underlying public chain projects are still popular, but the market lacks brilliant applications that can be applied to these public chains. DApp projects grounded on smart contracts are an integral part of the blockchain ecology; however, gaining market recognition is proving difficult. Of the top 50 projects listed on Coinmarketcap, application projects account for no more than 10, and DApp projects (applications developed through smart contracts on other public chains) account for less than five. Well-established vertical application public chain projects (public chains focusing on specific vertical fields) such as Ripple, IOTA and Steem have been very well received. In the long run, DApps and vertical application public chains are both poised to be important parts of the ecosystem. Given the growth of underlying technologies, application projects will be the future trend of the blockchain industry. Before the arrival of that trend, this paper will lay out how to judge an application project based on some key parameters.
Steem and AllSpark
Having recently staged its global debut, AllSpark focuses on IPR confirmation, transmission and the consumption of contents. It is a vertical application public chain project for content other than Steem. But the real question is: can it be more successful than Steem? Is there enough market space for its development?
Both AllSpark and Steem rely on tokens to encourage the production of original content and enable creators of outstanding content to get the rewards that they deserve. Steem was the first blockchain to combine content with tokens, a concept that became popular around the world soon after its release. Attention to Steem decreased as its founder, Dan Larimer, left to put his efforts into an even more ambitious project, EOS. But despite this, Steem’s market capitalization is still among the top 50 around the globe.
What Steem established is a content sharing platform, similar to a bulletin board system (BBS). In other words, it led traditional BBS into the world of blockchain, where content was uploaded to the blockchain and the traditional system of points became tokens. The most creative part of Steem is that it transforms the “honorary reward” into an “honorary + financial reward” and expands consumption within the ecology to the real world (token liquidation). However, Steem has its limitations, including that content cannot reach the outside world and consumption only happens among users of the platform. Therefore, Steem cannot drive user growth through ecological construction. Indeed, the most difficult aspect of application projects is to get real users who act as the foundation of development. A significant factor that negatively influenced the market performance of Steem was its decision to slow new user registration after its user base reached into the hundreds of thousands. This finally resulted in the launch of smart contracts, by which Steem attempted to realize ecosystem development centering on content.
AllSpark, however, doesn’t want to build a similar BBS-style content platform but rather a boundless one that has universal rules on creation, transmission and the consumption of content. Based on the platform, partners within the ecology can not only develop BBS-style content applications like Steem, but also vertical content-trading applications. Striving for something far beyond the endogenous economic system that Steem established, AllSpark tries to build both an endogenous and exogenous economic system by integrating content with advertisers.
Currently, most blockchains have adopted an endogenous economic system. In the case of Steem, users get tokens by posting comments and content and use these tokens to buy other content, which means that an entire closed loop can be realized within the platform. AllSpark, on the other hand, introduces advertisers into the equation, which expands the economic closed loop to the real economy. As a result, the content-based AllSpark platform greatly enlarges the application possibilities for content in the blockchain. It is definitely a marker of dramatic progress for blockchain businesses, but the key lies in whether it can take root.
Let’s take a look at the core founding team of AllSpark, which has been deeply rooted in Internet advertising and the distribution of user generated content for many years. As an agent in China for companies like Baidu, Google, Facebook and LinkedIn, the team’s combined sales revenue has already exceeded 1 billion USD, with access to unparalleled advertiser resources and a network that spans the country. In addition, in terms of content distribution, AllSpark’s team boasts thousands of original content creators who regularly provide content for Internet media such as TouTiao. AllSpark’s biggest advantage is that it can seamlessly merge resources on the Internet into the blockchain, which will result in significant breakthroughs in the marketplace.
The design of AllSpark’s evaluation function is also worth mentioning. The “like” function is controversial on the Steem platform. For example, the buying of “likes” and the concentration of voting influence in the hands of a few people has led to the Steem platform deviating in function from its original intentions. We can see from the AllSpark whitepaper that the cost of buying “likes” increases with every purchase so as to limit the possibility for the malicious brushing of votes. This design is similar to the one mentioned by Vitalik Buterin in introducing a radical market strategy into the governance structure of block chain: through a quadratic voting strategy, voters purchase votes for multiple rounds of voting, but the cost of each purchase is twice that of the previous one. This could limit excessive concentration of voting power and the malicious brushing of votes.
Wanchain and AllSpark
From a technical perspective, Steem is still following Larimer’s blueprint, but due to his absence it hasn’t made much technological progress. AllSpark is cooperating closely with the Wanchain team, whose expertise in blockchain technology has been has been renowned since the Factom project. When asked why the Wanchain team was willing to provide its own underlying technology to guide the development of other industry public blockchains, they said, “If the establishment of a blockchain ecology pattern will allow other projects to develop smart contracts on their own, it will greatly enhance the development of the ecosystem and the blockchain industry as a whole. Not only does the blockchain require underlying public chains, but it also needs industry applications as well as industry chains. In any case, an ecosystem that promotes the progress of the industry is a healthy ecosystem that will be more conducive to the development of Wanchain in the long run. More importantly, Wanchain focuses on cross-chain interoperability to create a bigger ecosystem connecting all of the chains.”
It can be said that this cooperation between the two parties is a strong combination of technological capabilities and operational capabilities. It is an innovative attempt to jointly create a new blockchain ecosystem model that the industry has never seen.