Careful readers may notice that I refer to our platform here as the Steem platform, as opposed to Steemit.com. There is a deliberate reason for this, which is the topic of tonight’s post. But before we go into the differences, I want to compare and contrast Steem with a dead social media platform I just heard about yesterday: tsu.co.

Tsu was a centralized social media network site that used incentives to try to bring more and more users to it. To the best of my understanding, Tsu operated a bit like a Multi Level Marketing plan, of which I have no interest. The company behind Tsu was to reap 10% of the ad revenue, while giving 90% to those who used the platform. The ads really made you the product. Ugh…

I’m not going to spend much time looking into why Tsu failed, but there is a real difference between Tsu and Steem that is important for the non technical to understand.

That difference is the blockchain. That difference is everything.

With Tsu, every user had to trust that the company behind it was honest. As it was, when Tsu shut down, users with less than $100 of earnings didn’t get paid, and only those who actually reached out to the company were able to collect some of their earnings.

Blockchains and Trust

Some people will say the blockchain removes the need for trust, but that is inaccurate. The blockchain does reduce and redistribute the need for trust. I still have to trust that the 20 witnesses we’ve voted for aren’t colluding to ruin the Steem blockchain. I trust that the website Steemit.com doesn’t take my Active Key when I make a transaction. I trust that the developers who designed Steem are using math algorithms that can’t be hacked, and I trust the crowd to alert me if any of these things begin to happen.

What the blockchain does do is give me much more power over my Steem, and I don’t need to rely on the website Steemit.com to be up and running to access it.

You can access it via the desktop wallet, Vessel!

Vessel allows you to do all the functions you can do with your wallet on Steemit.com (and Busy.org), even if Steemit.com is not loading properly. This is because the Steem blockchain is run by nearly 15,000 witnesses. It is is these witnesses who would need to be attacked to cripple the Steem blockchain, which is considerably more difficult than one company with a few server locations.

This isn’t to say it can’t happen. We are in the infancy of blockchains, and we don’t know what a sustained attack looks like.

It does mean that your Steem isn’t held hostage in case of a DDoS attack (the sort that brings down a hospital or a website with a sudden uptick in users) from somebody in their basement. The longer we see Steem go without a successful attack, the more we can trust the system is robust enough to withstand attacks.

Of course, it could all come down overnight, and we could find our social network as dead as Tsu. I hope not…but that’s why I’ll always be crossposting my stuff on another site, so I can keep that which I worked hardest to obtain: my growing body of work.

Have any horror stories of Tsu we can learn from? Let us know in the comments below.

-Jeff

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