With the upcoming hard fork, and part of the hard fork posing as economic improvement measures, it is easy to get lost in mostly irrelevant (from an economical perspective) details of reward curves, author/curator split and free down-votes, and forget the fact that in order to be a full economy, STEEM needs to be more than just a money printing machine.
I've talked about the need for useful ways to burn STEEM and ways to pull in top content providers with ad revenue sharing, but today I want to discuss a whole different aspect of turning STEEM into a flourishing economy: Content oriented commerce.
In today's STEEM economy all content has a seven-day money making window. In contrast, on book publishing platforms like KDP and SmashWords, many content creators use the first weeks of their content becoming available as freebies period. Give away your content or sell it at a massive discount in order to get some exposure. Nobody makes any real money in the first week, more often than not, the first weeks if not months are a money sink because of marketing being a huge sink on resources in that period. Publishing a book and trying to make money from it is for people who like playing the long game.
As an author I have three choices really when I want to combine making money from both the 7 day STEEM window and the long-game of publishing a book:
- Publish on KDP/SmashWords/Play/etc first, wait till the money well is dry and publish all old chapters as a series of posts.
- Publish on KDP/SmashWords/Play/etc, only post teaser chapters on STEEM.
- Publish STEEM first. Post original content chapters on STEEM, when the last chapter is posted and past its 7 day window, only then publish on KDP/SmashWords/Play/etc to play the long game there.
Notice in all three options, the actual commerce happens outside of STEEM. STEEM income is purely inflation based, STEEM as a money printing machine. There is a bit of an internal market for services. For example, I can contract a steemian as illustrator or editor, and pay her in STEEM or SBD for her services, but when the book is ready for commerce, I'll need to take the commerce part of my business away from STEEM, period.
Books are just one example. Software, tutorial videos, music, etc. Much of the content on STEEM is timeless and its creators are taking their business to other places than STEEM when it comes to making an income that doesn't quite fit inside of the STEEM seven day window philosophy.
The challenge I feel is, can we create a foundation for content oriented DApps that allow content creators to stay on STEEM for all their content oriented commerce? Imagine a STEEM direct-publishing DApp for instance. With the way Scot Tribes are going right now, it shouldn't be such a strange idea to have a Scot Tribe for fiction authors that format their content in a templated way that allows them to compose an epub from chapters posted to the STEEM blockchain. Add in a benefactor rewards and a smart contract implementation, and we could do something with royalty splits between authors, editors and illustrators of a given work. But there is one reason why this wouldn't work, and it is the same reason why my current efforts at building SteemSense might end up as a disappointment: Most potential customers don't have a STEEM account. Those that do, might not all be into the added complexity of juggling with Scot Tokens.
So what do we need to fix this? I want to argue that what we need desperately for all of this, as a foundation for a commerce oriented content economy for STEEM and Scot Tribes, it is a crypto-agnostic shopping-basket.
I want this post to be a call-out to @blocktrades to look into providing the STEEM economy with such a thing.
Imagine you aren't a STEEM user and you want to buy my book from some future STEEM Direct Publishing Fiction Scot Tribe platform. You don't have a STEEM account, but you do have a LiteCoin wallet on your phone with half a LiteCoin.
We have two disconnected worlds. The world where Scot Tribe members can turn their STEEM published chapters into an e-book as a product, and a world where LiteCoin (or other crypto) users who want to buy that product can swap LiteCoin for STEEM, but only after they made an account on one of the few exchanges that carry STEEM or on the @blocktrades site. There should be a way to connect these worlds in a way similar to the shopping cart experience on regular commerce sites.
Imagine @blocktrades were to provide Scot Tribe DApp creators, or even individual content creators with a STEEM and a BlockTrades account, with the ability to create a shopping basket for tribe or personal content products. In such a way that for the shopper, our Steem Direct Publishing platform would work as easy with LiteCoin or Ether as Dollars and Euros work on Amazon.
This wallet concept could also for the foundation for a STEEM based ad revenue sharing platform like @steemsense-eu, that could burn STEEM, potentially bring in new top content providers to the platform, and create a demand for STEEM as currency for buying and selling advertising.