Steemit or Synereo? Comparing Decentralized Social Networks

With both Steemit and Synereo claiming to be the game-changing decentralized social networks, CoinTelegraph looks into the debate comparing these two platforms.

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Steemit or Synereo? Comparing Decentralized Social Networks

A new bitcointalk thread is currently raising issues which basically make comparisons between Steemit and Synereo.

Though virtually every project in the industry has had some random allegations against them, the thread which was started on Friday August 19 was supposedly prompted by the recent announcement by Synereo that its Alpha version will be going online next month.

Steem is the digital currency behind the Steemit social media platform which rewards content  posters and voters online. Steemit was recently hacked with some accounts compromised. Steem overtook The DAO to be the world’s fifth most valuable cryptocurrency following its 1000% plus growth in the days following Steemit’s first cryptocurrency payout on July 4.  

Synereo, on the other hand, proposes a semi-autonomous system which requires human involvement in the roles defined in smart contracts. Synereo offers a social model - one that integrates measures of compassion in its code, no censorship and provides users the opportunity to monetize their content and own their organic local network.

Are they Ponzi scams?  

With the title, Synereo same Ponzi scam like Steem?, the OP dranster started the discussion line with an assumption that “SYNEREO AMP might be the same pyramid scheme like Steem because they “Both have similar monetization techniques...AMP has a large premine like 90%” and sought the view of forum members.  

The first responder who claims to have been following Synereo and its developers since its ICO, and how they helped Ethereum with its new proof-of-stake protocol, dispelled the assumption as doubtful. Dsattler wrote: “The core devs are deeply involved in the crypto scene and it's highly unlikely that they put their reputation at risk with a Ponzi.”

DecentralizeEconomics cited the fully decentralized form of Synereo as the main difference with Steemit as a centralized platform and hinted at a possible self-orchestrated collapse of Steem.

Several scam accusations have been run all over the place, but it is always better to wait and let the technology being used by every startup or platform speak for itself.

Matej Michalko, Founder and Director at DECENT (Decentralizing Content Distribution), waved the scam accusations aside saying they are not new.

He tells CoinTelegraph:

“Being an insider in the domain of Blockchain digital content distribution for some time, I have seen many groundless accusations merely based on dubious evidence. Most of them have been posted by people unwilling to disclose their real names for various reasons. I believe that Blockchain technologies have great potential to liberate the world of unnecessary middlemen, reduce transaction costs and do a great service to humanity. Blockchain Tech is a high technology that is still at a very early stage and has not yet crossed the chasm to mainstream markets. Projects in this space should join forces and co-operate to render Blockchain mainstream.”

Steemit is more like blockchain.info

However, in an email to CoinTelegraph, Ned Scott, Steemit CEO, says that Steem is a decentralized Blockchain which is leveraging segregated and isolated witness node operations from around the world through Delegated Proof of Stake (DPOS) consensus. He explains that the centrally held Delaware corporation, Steemit, is not a Blockchain; instead, it is a Blockchain-based web application, much like Blockchain.info, with more than sixty web applications leveraging the Steem Blockchain to date.

Another forum member prompted DecentralizeEconomics to support the claim that Steem will collapse because it is centrally supported by an entity which has reportedly been cashing out.

The writer says:

“If I want to use a centralized website for social networking, I'll use Facebook and Twitter which already have mass adoption. Steem is simply an overly complex scheme intentionally designed to steal from the under-informed.  Ask yourself, "If the website is centrally hosted, how do they intend on dealing with take-down requests?"  They don't, because they don't plan on Steem lasting this long.  It's a quick money grab, and that's it.  With Synereo, nothing is centrally hosted and none of the decentralized nodes in the network know what is being stored on their disks, because everything is encrypted.”

Banano added that while Steemit is the “Wonder Bread of social media, Synereo will be the place for controversial content similar to Wikileaks and Snowden!” adding that the fact Steemit is “Mathematically guaranteed to collapse” has been widely published online.

“Just a black box to take a flyer on”

Despite highlighted flaws in the amount of "Steem Power" the founders reserved for themselves and it’s not being an open source, d5000 says some of “the underlying fundament(al)s of Steem are actually good and well thought-out.”

Zer0Sum claimed Steem “was ninja-mined among widespread disinterest just like BTC,” adding that leadership and decentralization are mutually exclusive but cites a concern that Steemit has no real content plan or roadmap as social networks don't evolve "organically" but are planned, targeted and built brick-by-brick. The writer added that Steemit could succeed if they become highly focused while claiming that “Synereo is just a black box to take a flyer on.”

Ned Scott says that Steemit is currently working to improve the website and contribute to the open source development of the blockchain, as well as provide support to entrepreneurs building third party apps.

He explains:

“Steemit has developed a roadmap that outlines how we and other Steem-based businesses can begin to connect six ecosystem verticals for full-stack Blockchain-based social networks from Blockchain Payments and Rewards, Social Media  and Networking, Identity Management, Account Recoveries and Password Recoveries, Steem-integrated Marketplace and Private messaging, Sidechains, WREN Virtual Machine and Plug-ins, to Smart Contracts, Advertisements and Promoted Content.  In the near term, users should expect better and better performance of Steemit.com’s social media features.”

Meet the “whales”

Christopher Franko, a Blockchain expert at Expanse.tech, says to CoinTelegraph that he has a Steemit account and really likes the platform. However, the one thing that really bothers him is how inorganic and unbalanced the distribution of power is.

He notes:

“Early on, it was obvious who wields all the authority in the system. In Steemit they are known as "whales". The "whales" are made up of the lead developer and a couple of his friends who essentially act as gatekeepers. The whales use their voting power to condition very specific content creators and public figures with thousands of dollars, with the hopes that these people will act as brand ambassadors which has been working.”

Frank adds that he has personally witnessed hordes of otherwise intelligent people championing this platform because "they and their friends are winning at it, so they like it." Usually these people are handpicked and invited to the platform by the creators themselves. Users with less clout affectionately known as "minnows" amount to basically nothing. They have absolutely no value attributed to their vote.

He explains:

“The platform boasts as having over 60000 users but only 247 accounts hold  ~87.50% amount of the voting power. Steemit is a cool idea which falls short on implementation as it relies solely on its users’ urge to "get rich quickly", their F.O.M.O, trickledown economics, and a cumbersome cash-out process known as "powering down" to keep the platform moving forward.”

Scott rejoins, saying that the Steemit reward system is based on Subjective Proof of Work algorithms that reward subjectively-valued posts and accurate voting. These tenants are core and distinguishing features of Steem.

Steemit CEO notes:

“The voting rewards algorithm combines a 30-minute window of review opportunity for readers, with fewer rewards reaped closer to 0 minutes, combined with a wisdom-of-the-crowd factor that benefits those who vote for posts which end up becoming highly upvoted. The earlier that Steem-holders vote for posts within the 30-minute window, the more posters are directly rewarded. On the whole, posters earn at least three-quarters of the total rewards for a post and voters earn at most one-quarter. Rewards for posters are distributed as 50% Steem Power and 50% Steem Dollars, while rewards for voters are distributed as 100% Steem Power.”

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