How Medium Can Morally Monetize In One Month Using STEEM

in #steem7 years ago (edited)

The Vision

I respect Ev Williams (co-founder of Twitter and Medium) because he envisions, as I do, a world in which content creators are compensated based on the value they add to their consumers (how much better they make the lives of their audience), as well as the value they add to everyone else. But most importantly he has the courage to pursue this vision even in the face of adversity. 

Imagine a world where people aren't paid based on how "clickbaity" the title of their article or YouTube video is. Where they aren't paid based on how useful their content is to Ford and Pfizer. Imagine a world where you are rewarded based on how accurate your information is and how trustworthy you are as a source. 

It's a vision so noble it might appear fanciful, arguably delusional. However, I happen to know for a fact that recent technological developments make it possible. Trivial even. In the following paragraphs I will demonstrate how Medium could monetize their content in as little as one month in a manner that puts them an order of magnitude closer to executing on their vision and I will explain the existing technological protocols that would enable them to do so. 

In fact, they could execute on their vision completely.

The Challenge

The issue, as Williams makes clear in his post, is one of incentives. In other words: money. In enterprises there are typically two forms of money that are used to incentivize workers: cash and shares (a/k/a stock). Cash is a liquid form of money that can be used in our everyday lives to buy the things we want and need today. Shares are an illiquid form of money that can't be used in our everyday lives, but whose value is directly proportional to the value of the enterprise; value which can be captured at some point in the future by converting it into a liquid form of money. Up until very recently the only viable candidates for these two forms of incentive were currency (e.g. US Dollars) and shares in a corporation. Unfortunately, currency is extremely expensive to move around, especially in small quantities, and it must first be acquired. Just try sending someone 25 cents. Now try sending one hundred thousand people 25 cents. The solution I am proposing already executes such transactions thousands of times a day with zero transaction fees. 

What’s better, adopting a solution that works right now, that’s open, that’s free, or building your own monetary system from scratch?

Distributing shares to people would be even more problematic. Shares in a corporation are a heavily regulated legal fiction and their distribution is also highly regulated. Further, they grant shareholders special rights with respect to the organization, e.g. the organization has a fiduciary duty to all shareholders. Merely creating and distributing shares in Medium to any person in the world who creates content for the platform would not only be a legal and logistical nightmare, but it would be practically impossible for the corporation to satisfy all of its responsibilities to its shareholders. Most importantly they would be faced with the challenge of becoming a monetary authority. They would essentially become a central bank in charge of controlling multiple money supplies as well as the process through which they are distributed. No simple task, just ask the Federal Reserve.

One Month?!

Bearing all of this in mind, one might be tempted to label my title as clickbait; it's not. In order to solve this problem in one month (though in reality it is highly unlikely that Medium could solve this problem on their own ever) what they would need is an existing, open protocol, designed to create and distribute 1. cash and 2. shares based on the subjective value of their content creators. Ideally this open protocol will have operating proofs-of-concept that demonstrate both that the protocol is functional and has sufficiently robust developer and investment support to guarantee its continued operation.

What Is Valuable?

Before I delve deeper into the protocol I would like to address a major issue: distributing money based on value. This is easier said than done. Just look at the complex network of institutions we have developed in the United States just to serve this purpose. The Federal Reserve determines the supply of "cash" (a fiat currency we refer to as "the dollar") based on an ever growing set of hotly debated criteria which it then distributes throughout its small but decentralized network of regional Federal Reserve Banks. 

The Federal Reserve system then outsources the determination of value to independent but certified private banks, the employees of which are trained to assess a loan applicant's potential productivity and distribute funds accordingly (also using hotly debated criteria). It is these banks that create the majority of "cash" by lending out every dollar they are given by the Federal Reserve System multiple times over. Simple right?

This system is by no means perfect. Very few people, especially in banks, are good at predicting what ventures will be successful. It shouldn't come as a surprise that the people at the banks in charge of distributing the money only lend it out to entities they believe to be the most secure (like companies that are already huge) while also spending a lot of the money on themselves.

Cutting Out the Middlemen

Fortunately, since the creation of Central Banks there have been a few technological developments, all of which served to eliminate the necessity of various middlemen who had traditionally been seen as indispensable. The most obvious of these is the Internet. But when it comes to the issue of creating money without middlemen one technology stands alone: cryptocurrency.


Bitcoin is obviously the most well known of the so-called "cryptocurrencies" but it has several attributes that make it untenable as a solution for Medium; it is not a programmable blockchain, it would require a large up front capex to acquire the tokens which it would then distribute, and it has no mechanism for rewarding people shares. Neither does Ethereum. There is only one viable crypto I know of which Medium could start using now, that's programmable, that is designed to issue both shares and cash, and which would cost them nothing. It’s a protocol named STEEM. 

Just Use It

I’m not the only one who thinks so. Earlier today Fred Wilson (Co-founder of Union Square Ventures and investor in Twitter, Tumblr, Foursquare, Zynga, Kickstarter, etc.) posted an article titled, “Online Publishing Should Look At Steem, Not Spotify, For Inspiration.” But why look to Steem for inspiration when you can just USE it?


STEEM solves the problem of how to distribute cash and shares by outsourcing the determination of "what is valuable" to the crowd of people using the service. Instead of asking an intermediary to guess what products (in this case content) people find valuable, it provides the people with the ability to communicate (through “upvotes”) how valuable they think something is, and then the Steem algorithm automatically distributes both cash (called Steem Dollars) and shares (called Steem Power) based on the collective and subjective determinations of those people. A key innovation of Steem is that the more "shares" you are able to earn the more money your vote distributes. In short, if you create a lot of content that a lot of people judge to be subjectively valuable, you are rewarded for your efforts not just in cash and shares, but in INFLUENCE as well. And it does all of this without charging ANY FEES.

If one is sincerely interested in creating a platform that motivates creators to make content that adds value to people's lives and rewards them accordingly, I can't think of a better way than putting the power in the hands of those very people to determine who is rewarded and who is not. Since no one is the same, it is not possible for any intermediary (no matter how noble they claim their intentions to be) to accurately represent the needs of a large and diverse group of people. The only option is to distribute that power to the people. And Steem does just that. 

Steemit: An Operational Proof-of-Concept

If anyone at Medium would like to see exactly how this would play out, they need only check out There they will find an open beta version of a blogging platform that leverages the STEEM protocol to do exactly what Medium is looking to do. Designed and built by the same team that built the STEEM protocol, for the past 6 months Steemit has been distributing Steem Dollars and Steem Power to thousands of accounts (now over 120 thousand) without incident. The Steem Dollar has maintained its peg to the US Dollar (to a remarkable degree) and the base token has maintained value on open markets. Right now it is trading at around 16 cents per token, but it has traded as high as $4 a token.

Unlike other cryptocurrencies, mechanisms have been put in place so that accounts which are fraudulently or criminally acquired can be returned to their rightful owners. To date not a single person has claimed they were not able to cash out the tokens they acquired purely from creating content on

It Just Works

On people create written content (often with embedded photos and videos) everyday for which they receive financial rewards based on the subjective determinations of Steemit users and which they are free to cash out (immediately in the case of Steem Dollars and after 3 months in the case of Steem Power). As an added bonus, since all the content is posted to an immutable and open blockchain, censorship is impossible. 

Just go to and you will see the top trending posts for the last 24 hours and the US Dollar value of how much the authors have been rewarded. In fact, you can see how much this very article is earning on right now. 

The Ideal Solution Exists

Frankly, it's hard to imagine a more ideal scenario for Medium. The technology they need already exists and demonstrably works. The reason they don’t know about it, and that no one else is using it, is solely that it is NEW, just as the internet (another open and free protocol) once was. 

From a technological standpoint, I don't see what choice they have. Would anyone seriously suggest that it would be an efficient allocation of resources to spend God-knows-how-long to build their own solution and hope it works? What will happen to the moral high ground they gained from firing 50 people to avoid becoming ad-revenue based when they announce that they are instead using that capital to become a highly experimental fintech company?

But Isn’t Steemit a Medium Competitor?

The beauty of STEEM is that no one who uses the protocol is competing with anyone else who uses it because they all have shares in the entire ecosystem. What helps one helps all. I bet the people at Steemit would be happy to lend Medium a hand. All Williams would have to do to test out my hypothesis is reach out to Steemit Inc. and see if they’re open to helping.

STEEM Will Exceed Williams' Expectations

As I said at the beginning, I have a ton of respect for Williams--what he has created in the past and the hard choices he continues to make at Medium--and I believe that were he to truly understand the potential of the STEEM blockchain protocol he would be eager to adopt it not just because it would enable him to realize his vision of a world where content creators are rewarded based on the value they provide to others, but because it enables anyone to build any business based on the very same principles. 

If you agree that Steem is Medium’s best path forward, tweet this post to Willaims @ev.

You can also like and share the Medium version of this post here.

Thanks for reading!


This needs to be read and retweeted by every steemian! Genius. As I have only been here for not quite 2 weeks, I am just reading this now. Loved it! I wish I could resteem this.

Excellent post, Andrew. Very well written. I truly hope it comes across the eyes of those with influence at Medium. Blockchains are the future because people want trustless systems and protocols which work without gatekeepers and create frameworks for value distribution and creation which enable everyone to earn via the shared efforts of the network.

Thanks Luke, great to see you again

You too! I was hoping you'd be back with more great content like this. I always enjoy reading your stuff.

this is going to be my first post ever reestemed. I also share it in my media

I'm flattered!

I was waiting for the right moment and for the right person to resteem :-)

This is a little random but did you play csgo 2 hours ago? :P

Someone with the same name.


No sorry, It wasnt me and btw u made me feel bad knowing now that im not original :-)

gargon comes from garcía gonzález, my both family names and actually those are the most fucking famouse surenames in spain :) I once saw a truck company called gargon as well :)

It would have been a nice steemidence

Hahaha, I had my hopes up with the yes. :P

Now that I think of it his ping did seem Spanishly high. :D

Medium sucks.

I wish I could upvote this 800%. ;)

Very well written!

Me too! ;)

What a great post! We need to get this in front of as many non steemit eyes as possible. Especially anyone who uses medium or is following their recent news!

Excellent post! upvoted, resteemed and promoted!

Absolutely spot on! I think Steem solves many of the problems that Ev made in his blogpost. As you so eloquently state the combination of Medium and the Steem blockchain would be a near perfect solution. I hope he is listening to this:)

Here is my tweet in case anyone wants to retweet it:

Soul_Eater_43 The Cryptofiend tweeted @ 05 Jan 2017 - 22:57 UTC

How #Medium Can Morally #Monetize In One Month — #Steemit…

#blockchain #steem @steemit #blogging #content @ev

Disclaimer: I am just a bot trying to be helpful.

I agree with you about the competition on Steemit. Thanks for sharing this great informative post, Andrarchy!
Upvoted & Followed.

Thanks for reading and the follow!

It's one of the great travesties of our time that content creators on social media don't get compensated. Think of how many many man hours go into viral posts where the creator doesn't see a dime. I really believe this kind of platform is the future of journalism too. The mainstream press is dead but good journalism is still required however. Authors need to get paid.........Steem or another competing crypto solves that problem.

Great article.

Absolutely. Great points

This is a great post @andrarchy! Now all we need is for it to be spread to make sure as many people on the Internet get to read it ! Resteeming for sure!

Glad you feel that way! Thanks for the resteem!

Awesome post. Glad to see you back and at it again. Resteemed.

Thanks! Glad to be back at it :)

I commented a lot on that article and shared @stellabelle s post too. You make great points here, I wonder if the head honcho there is open to the possibilities.

I am so glad you specifically pointed out that these two do not need to be competitors. To me it sounds like this is a perfect recipe for symbiotic mutualism. Medium and Steem would both benefit tremendously by working together. If they do, it will be incredible for both communities.

Didn't @stellabelle write about this last fall? Would be a great match.

Very important post. Great job!

Well written article.

STEEM is the only programmable and designed to issue shares and cash for near to nothing.

Thanx a lot

Now, I entered the school stage.Good luck with your good posts.I'm looking forward to working with you.

Fully agree! Cryptocurrencies are here to stay, regardless of what the mainstream thinks or wants. They just haven't wrapped their heads around it yet...

Great ideas & analysis
Here are some of my responses, to Ev WIlliams on Medium of course, @andrachy

Some fun

Direct to authour compensation

Steemit's Steam

Blockchain undergirded publishing

Beyond rewarding content creators

What do you think?

As always, you did a great job at explaining everything. Now, if only we could get this post to as many people as possible and if possible to Ev Williams himself.
This right here is a marketable article about Steem. Hope this happens. Fingers crossed!

Thanks so much for the kind words! :)

I agree great content should be rewarded
Great post. Im new and would like you to check out my eos article. Thanks!

Great stuff! Restemed,upvoted, and shared on twitter.

Unlike other cryptocurrencies, mechanisms have been put in place so that fraudulent or criminal acquisition of tokens can be rolled back.

Can you expand on this? First I've heard of it. Are you talking about account recovery tools?

I kind of misemembered this. I've edited the text to reflect what I think is more accurate. Account recovery plus the savings accounts are the relevant innovations that thwart bad actors.

Steemit was hacked once and they fixed it. I don't think he's talking about individual frauds, just big heists like happened this summer.

Ah, so basically account recovery. Steem never rolled back those thefts, instead SteemIt compensated users for stolen funds (huge difference, philosophically and in practice).

I was under the impression that they blocked the thief and reverted the transactions. You sure you're right? I'm honestly not sure where I'm getting that idea from except some crease deep in the recesses of my unused grey matter.

If you find the old posts about it, they only talk about reimbursements, not transaction rollbacks. Steemit paid for the stolen funds because it was relatively small ($85,000), a benefit of the fact that most Steem was locked up as Steem Power. I believe that Dan also clarified in a post that there was no rollback, but I can't seem to find it now.

We added account recovery to fix stolen accounts. We reimbursed steem for stolen funds.

This seems to be the way to go! #MediumAndSteemit is a hashtag I've been using on Twitter. It would be cool if they do work together!

KennyCrane KennyCrane tweeted @ 05 Jan 2017 - 22:07 UTC

Another voice for #MediumAndSteemit How Medium Can Morally Monetize In One Month @Steemit… @ev @steemit

Disclaimer: I am just a bot trying to be helpful.

Great stuff man. Thanks for writing. Following your blog now.

Thanks! Glad you liked it. I like your username, following you back!

i try not to be an upvote whore that gives every article his upvote.. but this is totally WORTH it ;) thanks for the good content! ^^

Many companies don't seem to pay attention to blockchain tech, it's going to come bite them in the ass a few years from now.

Sure and interesting way of thinking, outrageus post !

Nice article. I discovered about Steem from a blog post on medium and I think steem is one of that few cryptocurrency that can actually grow out to be something big.

Can't wait to see Medium adopting Steem.

Glad you feel that way. Welcome to the platform!

Folks, before you break out the champagne, you'd best consider the crappy Steemit interface. It's like 1998 all over again. I'll repeat what I said on the other post. Creatives will NEVER put up with the p*&%-poor excuse for a blogging interface in 2017. Have any of you tried Medium, Wordpress, other modern platforms? SO much better than this joke of an antiquated UI. ...needs big changes to capture any market share from serious bloggers IMHO.

My post is about why Medium should use STEEM. It has little to do with Steemit

Fine, but today Steemit is the interface. And it sux.

Can Medium become a STEEM interface??? Now, that'd be very interesting.

Actually technically steem allows the creation of content on more then just it is now also possible on a number of other mediums including esteem(mobile and desktop) as well as directly through steem-cli although this is a little more advice and not for the weak of heart.

Yes and they all stink . Maybe someone can quickly implement an improved UI. Would be great. Possibly dreaming tho 😏

Go build something better then bud.

Great read, but how does Medium make money in this scenario?

I didn't want to get into the specifics with this article, however, were I advising Medium I would say that in the short run they should buy a bunch of Steem Power ($1 million would be nothing for them but it would immediately turn them into whales/major shareholders) which would guarantee that if the price of Steem went up, they would benefit monetarily. There is zero question that were they to purchase SP and then announce their adoption of the STEEM blockchain the price of STEEM would immediately skyrocket and they would make a windfall. I would then advise them to integrate STEEM and leverage its posting, commenting, upvoting, etc. mechanisms. They could generate additional revenue by using their account to share the most valuable content being posted on their platform and receive upvotes for doing so. With millions of users, those upvotes would be non-trivial. I would then advise them to immediately start developing a STEEM sidechain which would be their own steem-based-smartcoin which they can control and design to maximize their upside. Using a sidechain would allow them to switch from STEEM to their own solution with ease once the new chain is ready. Using their own sidechain would then allow them to capture more of the value being created by their users.

Nice post, beautiful

Just created an account on steemit. A great article to learn about the concept in 10 mins.

Welcome to the community @hussain! Glad you found the article useful. Look forward to reading your thoughts :)

this was a good one.

keep it up

I think you're spot on. I'm new to steemit but i'm super excited about the direction things are going. I honestly see this being the number 2 social media platform down the line. Obviously there needs to be a few more advancements with the interface and things of that nature, but what are you thoughts on it? you seem much more educated on the subject than myself

Good day sir! Im Bienvenido @bien on steemit. My teams are on the project tomorrow sir. We have cebu philippines steemfest, and we are teaching and inspiring more than 10 new people on steemit. I need your support sir! as im also a minnow, i need a support of any whales, they need to get upvote of their post to to earn small rewards and sp. And its to difficult for me to do that sir cause i only upvoted them 0.01 full power.. If you can share a little bit of yours or any of you friend and congregation sir. On that point i can help them and alot of minnows to be inspired on this community. At the same time i can raise my steem power by using 100% power up,on my post..i dont need to be a rich,im happy on what im living right now! All i need is to be a dolphine and feed all of the minnows here in cebu philippines. And some of those guy's at the philippines. Hope you will work with us sir together with @juvyjabian ,hoping for your support and kindhearted sir. Thank you so much. God Bless!

Excellent writing, amazed me alot about Steem, since I am just a new comer.

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I agree to your words. Up steemit!

@andrarchy, @val-a does the potential hard fork change this? If so how?

Post was very helpful. I am grateful to my paintings you see on the page.