I was there in the early days of steem when there were just a few of us and everyone seemed to know each other. The rewards were greater at that time and there was an optimism in the air which was unmistakable. Something new and exciting had begun and we all felt proud to be a part of it.
The feeling today on whaleshares is similar, yet different. Open source facilitates the evolution of ideas and we can be in no doubt this is so much more than just a clone of steem. On the contrary it is something quite different and once more we can feel that thrill of being on the leading edge of thought in the field of decentralised social media.
During my research to discover what makes whaleshares different from steem I was surprised at how few people seemed to really have a grasp of this. There are a number of films on YouTube & DTube which claim to give us the answer, but in truth they only know the basics and have little information to offer us.
The most useful summary I have found is this recent whaleshares hangout:
The History of Whaleshares with Fuzzy
Since listening to Fuzzy speak I have felt a huge lift in my energy. It was the first time I had heard his voice and I can tell you he is quite an inspiring guy.
Who is Fuzzy?
Known on steem as @officialfuzzy (aka Fuzzy) he was amongst the first to sign up in April 2016.
He is the founder of BeyondBitcoin and the co-founder of Bitshares. He is also the whale behind the first whaletokens, whaleshares (which are mostly retired now and not the same as the wls we know and love today). Together with beyondbits these tokens were designed to work on steem to gain an upvote from his account there. These tokens represented a cross platform alternative to steem which were personal to Fuzzy but representative of a growing group who used them.
One could argue this is where the idea for SMTs was born, but uninterested in using the bitshares chain, Ned took the idea in his own direction by keeping everything on the steem chain.
As a reaction to some of the problems Fuzzy could see developing on steem he penned the whalepaper and whaleshares.io was created with his vision and guidance.
What were the problems he saw?
As the preferred distribution method steem was mined into existence and steemit Inc started out with over 70% of the stake. This created an uneven distribution of power right from the start and the situation did not (as expected) reverse itself, filtering the power down to those who were just signing up. On the contrary, the power kept on collecting in the hands of a few.
Those of us on steem are likely familiar with @berniesanders and the way he uses his power. Even writing his name here I have a fear that this article will be downvoted on steem... and there is something wrong with this picture.
Doesn't steem stand for free speech? If it really is free I should not be feeling fear.
*** EDIT ***
Within minutes of posting this on steem the article was flagged 8 times by bernie's accounts and he also kindly left me a photograph of his poo!
My previous experience with @berniesanders has been minimal but there was one occasion when I was downvoted by a few of his associated accounts because I had written a post about he dangers of vaccinations which he had deemed inappropriate because the subject was being supported by a group of whales. He felt this to be unfair "reward pool rape" and therefore went out of his way to minimise the rewards for those of us who were writing about it.
This was mild in comparison to what other people experienced and I witnessed a number of people leaving the platform altogether after being targeted by him.
I have picked on @berniesanders as an example but in truth there are many who use the power of their vote to de-incentivise the coverage of certain topics, to make certain threads less visible under their posts or to simply force people off steem. Sometimes it is nothing more than a petty argument which would lead to a needless flagging war.
Further to this Fuzzy was also conscious of "circle jerks" who voted only for their buddies using automated systems and put his thinking cap on to find a better way.
There is a feeling on whaleshares like we are on a level playing field, all of us equal somehow. Yes, we still have our whales and our community leaders, most of whom have been working with Fuzzy since the creation of that first whaletoken, but the number of high power rollers is very small for the moment and unlike on steem they don't represent a company but a group of social media users who are pushing together as a team to improve on that which has come before.
Fairer distribution of tokens
As the co-founder of Bitshares Fuzzy was able to sharedrop any holders of Bitshares the wls token to get the ball rolling. Any holders of the existing whaletokens were also rewarded with the new token. Other selected steem contributors were invited to the platform (like myself) sometimes gifted with whalestake from @nutfund to get them started. In truth the distribution is still happening as a large proportion of stake has not yet been claimed.
Around 25 pages of the 'whalepaper' are dedicated to explaining the problems with our current social media systems and the decentralised nature of this chain. I am not going to pretend that I understood all of it but I will tell you that a lot of effort has been put into eliminating those centralised aspects to keep us free from potential censorship and ulterior motives.
No rep numbers
The first thing we notice when we arrive on whaleshares is the lack of rep number after our name. What this says to me is that we have become accustomed to seeing it there on steem and we judge people based on what we see, consciously or not. Here we are all equal in that respect and there will be no more people calling me sir just because I am in my 70s. Which is great!
This forces us to manually curate and neatly puts an end to the circle jerk system. I have personally found it quite refreshing to manually curate after using an autovoter for two years and I can see how these strangers I vote for will almost always come and check out my latest post when I do, leaving me what they can with their vote.
An upvote is automatically a share
When we vote for a post, no matter how big or small our vote is, we are sharing the content into a separate feed on our main page for all to see. So, if we are going to build an audience here we must now become conscious that our followers can see exactly who we are voting for. Ultimately our voting habits will in the end define who we really are and our followers will act accordingly.
No secondary token/stablecoin
Unlike steem with its sbd and weku with its wkd, wls is the sole token of whaleshares and it is always rewarded directly as whalestake, accessible through the power down function.
2 week pay-out
Unlike steem with its 1 week pay-out window, on whaleshares we have a further 7 days to post promote & earn from our hard work.
No voting delegation
Not only will this put an end to the barrage of voting bots but it will help keep that playing field even. If you want to be a power player on whaleshares you will have to buy your way in or (as is the case for most of us) you will simply have to play nice and keep posting.
Extra cost of flagging
To flag someone on whaleshares costs three times as much as it does on steem and while this may not put an end to the petty flag wars it will certainly make a difference. Fuzzy urges us to spend less time focused on flagging and more time focused on sharing.
If we don't like what someone is saying we can simply mute them.
I can't find any info relating to this but I can clearly see that my vote gives me more on whaleshares.
In my steem wallet I have 1,300 steem (current value around $1000) and my vote gives the equivalent of $0.06
In my whaleshares wallet I have 5000 wls (current value around $1000) yet my vote gives the equivalent of $2.84
A hefty difference as you can see and quite an encouraging one at that!
The power of your whaleshares vote can be quickly found in the bot-chat feed within the discord group by typing the following words, replacing my username with yours:
A big thanks to @alexpmorris for the creation of this awesome bot!
Central Discord group
Within the discord group we can post promote, meet other users and even interact directly with community leaders who will gladly answer questions for us. From what I can see @powerpics @krazykristina @freedomexists & @derangedvisions are all quite active there. Please forgive me if I have forgotten someone.
As far as I know steemit inc has no equivalent of this group.
Take a look at the current list of tokens which have already grown into existence through rudex which connects up with bitshares & wls.
Taken from https://whaleshares.info
To clarify, here on whaleshares we can create our own token (through rudex) and form our group around us by rewarding people with it as a way of thanking them for attending hangouts or producing great content. The tokens can be sold or transferred back to the user in exchange for their vote.
For more info on the process behind using your tokens in exchange for a vote, check "How do I send WhaleTokens to get a share/reward on my post?" on https://whaleshares.info
Fuzzy's intention is to help us create powerful groups which can collectively echo out a message across all the different social media platforms. He doesn't see whaleshares as being in competition to the existing platforms but as a mechanism for connecting up with all of them to make our collective voice louder.
This is more than a big group of circle jerks, this is a family who look after each other.
Fuzzy says it best:
"I grew up in a family that quite literally will give you more than they will take and if everybody is willing to do that then you can have a pretty amazing experience on this planet and not really ever need anything. I don't recall our family ever needing something they couldn't band together and provide each other. And that I think is a wonderful model." Fuzzy in hangout #9
His core message relates to the complete abolition of censorship:
"Has there ever been a time in history when censorship was the proper answer? Enabling conversation is what brings us closer together. The moment we start shutting off options for speech or people talking about things or doing things is the moment we start opening up a bottomless well." Fuzzy in hangout #9
He puts a big emphasis on the idea of sharing and supporting each other here. Indeed, if we are wanting to make the most of our wls stake without autovoting we have no choice but to scan that NEW feed and hand it out to others ;)
"This isn't a blogging platform. This is a sharing network" Fuzzy in hangout #9
@derangedvisions had another way of saying it:
"This is a pimp your buddy platform"
The logo has been given a yin/yang feeling because what we seek here is harmony. Even when our independent voices might shout for different things, we must remain free to shout.
The whaleshares logo is not trademarked unlike the steemit logo which technically speaking we can get sued for using without their permission. Whaleshares artists are encouraged to enhance on the logo and post in the discord group, free for all to use. The fractal logo at the top of this post was found there. Big thanks to @cinelonga for your great work!
I was invited here by @alexpmorris and now that I have a better grasp on what 'here' is I am even more grateful to him for having given me an opportunity to be a part of it.
I have witnessed my whalestake increase at a staggering rate and there is a beautiful feeling growing inside of me like I might actually be able to achieve whale status here...
...and I sincerely look forward to paying it forward.
Read the WhalePaper HERE
Who is @samstonehill?