Steem, the cryptocurrency behind decentralized social media platform Steemit, has soared by 1,700% in value in less than ten days, moving from a market capitalization of US$13 million in early July, to US$225 million at the time of writing. This makes Steem the world’s fourth most valuable cryptocurrency behind bitcoin, ether and ripple.
Following Steemit’s first major distribution – a payout of 10% of Steem’s market cap – on July 04, the number of transactions, posts, votes and new users sign ups has tripled. The startup now aims at becoming “one of the largest and fastest growing cryptocurrency projects in the world.”
Steemit’s blockchain has been handling hundreds of thousands of dollars in trading volume each day, with each transaction, post, and upvote subject available to anyone to consult.
Founded less than three months ago, Steemit is a decentralized social media platform similar in design to Reddit. Its particularity is that it allows users to reward and be rewarded for sharing, posting, and voting for content.
According to Steemit’s CEO and co-founder Ned Scott, the financial incentive inherent to the platform has allowed it to gain much popularity in a very short period of time. Through Steemit, users and content creators can monetize their time and their energies, and share in the profits.
“Before Steemit, consumers have away their efforts for free, uploading thoughts, blogs and other content to every social networks; now they can do it and get truly rewarded for their participation,” Scott said.
“Everyday users are jumping onboard our social network and many early adopters have benefited. People have started saying that they have paid their rent with money earned on Steemit. Others have bought cell phones, washing machines, and even paid their electricity bills. We have constructed perhaps the first blockchain application that anyone can use,” Scott said.
Steemit is built on an open source blockchain called Steem. Rewards are distributed half in “Steem Power,” a vesting currency that supercharges voting power on the platform, and “Steem Dollars,” a token representing one USD.
Steemit, which is still in beta, is working on a number of core social media features, Scott told CoinJournal in an interview a few weeks ago. This includes a Steemit button on blogs that would “push an author’s article and their fan’s comments to the blockchain to be eligible for rewards.”
Steemit also plans to develop sidechain plugins which would allow Steem to support a decentralized app-store, similar in appearance to Facebook and Google’s, but based on decentralized, provably-fair technologies and new business models.