After we published our inaugural article, “REOS — Empowering Your Content and Reflecting the Truth,” quite a few readers have been comparing REOS to Steemit. Today, I am clarifying everyone’s questions and explaining why REOS is a different kind of decentralized platform for user-generated content (UGC).
According to its official website[i], Steemit is “a community where users are rewarded for sharing their voice.” Its basic business model is straightforward: a user uploads content and the readers in the community decide how much the content creator can make based on whether they like it or not. It claims that it is different from other social networking websites because it believes that “the users of the platform should receive the benefits and rewards for their attention and the contributions they make to the platform.”
While we respect Steemit’s success to date, we believe our platform is fundamentally different, and these are the reasons why:
1. Steemit is not truly decentralized, even though it utilizes the Steem blockchain. There is a concentration of power among Steemit’s insiders. The problem lies with the distribution of Steem Power which, from the very start, was designed to concentrate among Steemit Inc employees and developers. According to Decentralize Today, in 2016, it was estimated that the top 247 accounts on Steemit (most of which were probably owned by the developer and his ‘friends’ through duplicate accounts) owned ~87.50% of total stake, without including the main Steemit account which was also controlled by the developer[ii]. By analyzing data from http://steemwhales.com, in 2017, an author named @eroche concluded that 59% of the Steem wealth was owned by the top 8 accounts (this included 2 large accounts that were not expected to influence rewards and payouts), and the 27% of what was left was owned by the next 8 accounts[iii]. This means that a few people control the content on the SteemIT platform. Imagine Warren Buffett’s vote for a presidential nominee counting a million more times than that of an average Joe.
2. REOS, on the other hand, is truly democratic. Its unique “Voting with Stakes” mechanism ensures a democratic process of voting by community members. Each member puts in the same amount of REOS tokens as stake to vote for a piece of content, which means each vote counts the same. The role of the Content Promoter is to initiate the voting (content validation) process and set the rules for the content validation (such as how long the voting process takes). We require that each Promoter hold a minimum number of stakes (currently set at 100K REOS) because we want them to act responsibly. During the content validation period, the result is hidden from the community until the completion of the process. This ensures that we dig out the true worthiness of the content for the REOS community.
3. On Steemit, readers up-vote or down-vote a piece of content and the voting power is based on the stakes a user owns. However, they don’t really lose tokens if they vote irresponsibly. On REOS, one can lose tokens if he or she votes irresponsibly. In designing the system, we have been studying other incentive models as we constantly strive to improve validation. We are looking into modern prediction markets based on University of Iowa’s Electronic Markets. Many businesses, including Microsoft, Google, Intel, and HP, have utilized such prediction markets, demonstrating that “wisdom of crowds” extends well beyond elections and sports. And we will develop artificial intelligence neural networks with machine learning (ML) on the REOS platform to better understand the behaviors of community members in the validation process.
4. Finally, REOS came up with the novel concept of “Tokenization of Content,” striving to become the first blockchain-based cryptographic exchange for digital content.(We will talk about this in our next article, so make sure to follow REOS on Medium.)
REOS shares a similar mission to Steemit: returning power to content creators and consumers by leveraging blockchain technology. However, our approach and application are very different and true decentralization is REOS’ priority. Our “Voting with Stakes” mechanism ensures a truly democratic process for content validation, and “Tokenization of Content” on the REOS platform will allow for multiple, innovative ways of monetization.
As a Steemit user, have you experienced the unbalanced distribution of power? Do you have any additional questions on how REOS differs from Steemit? Leave your comments below.
[i]https://steemit.com/faq.html#What_is_Steemit_com, accessed May 9, 2018.
[ii]https://decentralize.today/the-ugly-truth-behind-steemit-1a525f5e156, accessed May 9, 2018.
[iii]https://steemit.com/steemit/@eroche/distribution-of-steem-and-steem-power, accessed May 9, 2018.