Steemfest_2016On November 11-13, Amsterdam was the site of SteemFest, the first-ever public gathering for the decentralized social media platform, Steemit. This event attracted over 200 enthusiasts from more than 30 countries across the globe.

Attendees discussed Steemit’s growth, the continued emergence of cryptocurrency and blockchain, as well as trends fueling the impending mainstream adoption of social media. Significant attention was given to ways in which Steemit can further capitalize on the growing worldwide interest in decentralized, uncensored, rewards-based media platforms.

Steemit allows users to get paid for their time, effort and creativity through a cryptocurrency known as Steem. Rewards with real value are distributed to users who bring the best articles, commentary, images and videos to the site.

Co-founded by Ned Scott and Dan Larimer, Steemit has over 110,000 users and almost a million monthly unique visitors, despite being less than a year old.  Growth figures suggest that the company is continuing to accelerate forward at a rapid pace.

One of the main headliners at the event in addition to Scott was Neil Strauss. Strauss is a bestselling author and regular contributor on Steemit.  He is a curator for the community book club and has also written a piece about his experiences on Steemit for Rolling Stone Magazine. Neil came to SteemFest to show his support, delivering a speech on how one can become a better writer.

Scott stated, “The entire event was completely organized and created by the community. Our biggest objective was to listen to concerns from attendees as well as gather creative input that might inform our path moving forward. That was more than accomplished.”

He referred to those in attendance as the earliest of early adopters -those who truly care about the future of the platform. “It was an opportunity for the community to get together and put a face to user names. Many have been collaborating for months on articles and other projects on the site. I see these personalized relationships as a key catalysts for even more projects in the future.”

Despite Steemit’s early success, it has had its share of detractors, including those who have described it as a pyramid scheme and a scam. “When something completely new like Steemit appears,” explains Scott, “there are those who can very quickly turn on it with their biases. We expected these sorts of critics. But largely the reception of those who are a part of what we’re doing has been overwhelmingly positive.”

He points to SteemFest’s early success as evidence of a generally supportive and engaged community. Yet he agrees that there is more to be done in terms of advancing towards a mainstream product. “We’ve certainly had lots and lots of signups and lots of people come through the site, which is exciting. But we still have quite a bit to accomplish in terms of our end goal of ensuring that cryptocurrency becomes an integral part of social networking. I have no doubt that 18 months from now we will have achieved that.”