What? How can that be?
Donald Trump. Nancy Pelosi. Impeachment. Man-made global warming. Brexit. China. Trade War. Income Inequality. Terrorism. Syria. Russia. Global debt. Recession. North Korea. (This feels like a Billy Joel song)
All of these are things the mainstream media bombards us about on a daily basis. It is enough to make anyone throw oneself off a bridge.
An opening line in the New York Times, not exactly a purveyor of positive information, went like this:
If you’re depressed by the state of the world, let me toss out an idea: In the long arc of human history, 2019 has been the best year ever.
With all that is going on, how can this be? Perhaps because there is another side to this story.
Imagine being one of the billions of people who lives without electricity. These same people most likely do not have clean drinking water that is easily accessible (if at all). Certainly, there is no Internet meaning the knowledge base of the world is outside one's reach.
Without these components which are essential for basic living in the 21st century, life would be very tough. In fact, it is. However, things are improving.
Every single day in recent years, another 325,000 people got their first access to electricity. Each day, more than 200,000 got piped water for the first time. And some 650,000 went online for the first time, every single day.
These are life changing events in the lives of those people. Look at those numbers and consider that is what takes place, on average, daily. Do a bit of quick math to see the weekly impact.
Of course, all this has an impact on the kids of the world.
Perhaps the greatest calamity for anyone is to lose a child. That used to be common: Historically, almost half of all humans died in childhood. As recently as 1950, 27 percent of all children still died by age 15. Now that figure has dropped to about 4 percent.
Poverty is one of the worst sentences anyone can be given. Unfortunately, it is something that comes from birth as opposed to being handed down for individual transgressions. When we refer to poverty, we are talking about the extreme end of the spectrum, not the type that we see in the West.
There is even progress on that front. Less than two decades ago, this number was over 20% of the global population. Now, it is half of that.
Certainly, this is still a number that is too high and those who exit the state of poverty are not immediately thrust into abundance. Nevertheless, progress is being made.
We also see similar trends with illiteracy rates which plummeted. Annual deaths of children under the age of 5 due to infectious diseases went from millions a year a year to thousands.
Every day for a decade, newspapers could have carried the headline “Another 170,000 Moved Out of Extreme Poverty Yesterday.” Or if one uses a higher threshold, the headline could have been: “The Number of People Living on More Than $10 a Day Increased by 245,000 Yesterday.”
Just like the world, we see a similar situation with Steem.
Many will state the year was awful by looking at the token price. Doing that is akin to listening to the mainstream media about what is going on in the world. The token price is equally as misleading.
Think back to this time last year.
It was only a bit over a month since Steemit Inc laid the bombshell on the community that the bear market was forcing it to lay off 70% of its staff. Do you remember what the mindset was at that point? There was great uncertainty.
Of course, the naysayers said that Steem was done at that point. Yet, here we are, a year later, still going.
There was a silver lining in this. @elipowell was promoted to turn things around. Cost cutting moves were implemented. One of the big ones was MIRA which enabled for serious reduction in costs associated with running the entire ecosystem.
We also saw the roll out of the coding for SMTS (along with a testnet), hivemind, Communities, and a SMT wizard.
In short, I think we could say Steemit Inc had a good year.
Going back to the end of 2018, let us not forget there was no Steem-Engine. @harpagon's smart contract layer was written but that was it. Early in the year, the community learned of a new exchange that enabled the creation of tokens. Instantly, Steem became a token factory similar to Ethereum, EOS, and Tron.
Later in the year, we saw the addition of tribes which allowed for further expansion of the capabilities of the platform. We now are seeing some tribes growing in stature with additions that could really garner attention down the road.
We would be remiss by not mentioning Steemmonsters switch to Splinterlands. This was more than just a name change, it signaled an expansion beyond Steem. Integration with Tron was undertaken enabling for a broader reach. The project also was able to raise hundreds of thousands of dollars through a crowdsale.
It is a project with a team behind it that is fully dedicated to Steem.
2019 also saw the release of 3Speak. This video platform focuses on displaced content creators promoting freedom of speech and the immutability of blockchain technology. It was put together with the idea of implementing many of the ideas of Web 3.0. One of the main goals is to essentially make the application a DAO.
Another aspect that people are going to find interesting is the idea of being paid to watch ads. Content creators bring in eyeballs but, on the traditional platforms, get very little of the revenue from advertising. As for the viewers, their share of the income is exactly zero.
3Speak is taking the approach where the vast portion of all ad revenue should go to both the content creator and the person watching it. While not implemented at this time, it is in the works and will radically change how we view our time and attention.
I could go on and on with this list. @steemleo implemented a front end for the exchange, further decentralizing that process. They are also very close to releasing a marketplace. @actifit opened up a market when it gamefied its application allowing people to use the token to further increase their activity payouts. @dporn started to get involved in a number of different partnerships to help offset the move of cutting off financial access for adult content creators.
Certainly, there is a lot more to be added to this list and I hope some do in the comment section.
In the end, Steem had a very good year. As a post later this week will show, the distribution of Steem spread further and wider. There were more accounts achieving every level that is monitored.
A great deal of progress was made. Development took place throughout the year which puts most applications a lot further ahead as compared to 365 days ago. Due to the dedication and commitment of these people, we can expect the same thing to happen in 2020.
Get ready boys and girls, the fun is just beginning.
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