Many, including myself, are very excited about the introduction of the Smart Media Tokens. The fact that it is on testnet right now is very exciting and we should have an announcement about a Hard Fork date in the next month or so. If I had to guess, the release will be somewhere in March or April.
SMTs are going to very powerful. This is something that cannot be overstated. Once they are released, there is no putting the proverbial genie back in the bottle.
So what is it that makes SMTs so powerful?
To start, we must know that SMT is really Smart Media Token Protocol. That last word is something that most overlook yet that is where the power is.
The Internet is made up of many different protocols. These are open digital message formats that are used for specific purposes. The most common one is TCP/IP which is actually made of up an assortment of different protocols. Think of it in the same way as Microsoft Office is made up of many different programs. The protocols address a variety of needs such as voice, gateway, and monitoring. We also see other protocols for email and web services.
Protocols are adopted by an assortment of people. They have the ability to span many different networks while being used. SMTs seek to do the same thing.
For example, IPv4 is used by both Amazon and Alibaba. It is also present in printers, copiers, and laptops. Apple, Android, and Microsoft all utilize it.
The power in protocols is they cannot be stopped. Technological breakthrough that have major impacts tend to operate at this level. Companies can be shut down. They go out of business. Protocols keep spreading (if useful) since they solve a problem for developers.
Let us look at Bittorrent. What is this?
BitTorrent (abbreviated to BT) is a communication protocol for peer-to-peer file sharing (P2P) which is used to distribute data and electronic files over the Internet. (Wikiepedia).
Notice is it a communication protocol for peer-to-peer file sharing. Some might recognize the name Napster. This company got in a lot of trouble back in the early part of the century due to copyright infringement via file sharing. The music industry got very upset about the loss of revenue.
Napster ended up having legal action taken against it, changed its model to subscription, and, ultimately, vanished from the scene.
A company is a single point of access. There is a place for governments and other companies to target.
Do you know what did not get shut down? Bittorrent. Since it is a protocol, there is no way to stop it. Anyone can adopt the standards and utilize it.
This is what we are looking at with SMTs. Since it will be a protocol, there is no way to stop the spread of token creation. Any website can use the protocol to develop a token. Thus, the point of access is removed, especially when all is running on a decentralized blockchain.
It is remarkably different concept when compared to a company trying to bring someone to its website. Did anyone have to "sell" the idea of SMTP or FTP to companies? The answer is no. Those protocols solve problems. Thus, anyone who was looking to set up email, once that decision was made, knew where to turn.
Here we are looking at the decision of whether one should set up a token or not? After that decision is made, then one only needs to look to the protocol that is out there to solve the problem. This is where SMTs will be positioned.
Of course, the Smart Media Token Protocol (the new SMTP?) is not the only game in town. The best known protocol as it applies to this is ERC-20. Is it any wonder that Ethereum has the largest amount of tokens created on its system? Anyone with even the least bit of knowledge about this industry is familiar with this protocol. It is something that many simply default to.
SMTs are going to provide a great deal more in terms of what is offered by using the protocol. This is a point that will need to be made clear. ERC-20 provides a token on Ethereum. That is all it provides. SMTs offer a great deal more because of the reward system that also quantifies every activity on the network.
Hence, SMTs solve a problem. That is what provides the power. Right now, it is a problem that most do not realize they have. However, that will change after a few well-known sites get tokenized. With technology, there always comes a point where adoption takes place in an effort to keep up with the pack.
The early adopters do it to get a leg up, the rest to catch up.
SMTs offer a lot of differences from what is out there. The fact that it contains fee-less transactions will, in my opinion, hold great appeal to developers who are operating in the social media realm. Who wants to pay a fee on each transaction when giving an upvote?
This does not exist on Steem. Because of the Resource Credit System, we see how the fees are "applied" on the back end. The pay-to-play system was structured so that anyone with the proper amount of Resource Credits could operate. It is a unique proposition that better mirrors what the users are accustomed to. After all, Facebook or Twitter is not charging per transaction.
In the end, people might end up not knowing the names Steem or Steemit. They might not care since the data structure or network that is being used means little to people. The end users might only care about their tokens that are tied to sites which interest them.
However, to reach that point, someone is going to have to implement the SMT protocol. The developers will end up knowing that and that might be all that is required.
Hence, it all becomes rather simple. Do you want a token with a built in content-reward system? If the answer is yes, then go use the protocol that provides it.
Many will find that SMTs are the one that fill that need.
For more information, there is a handy introduction to the protocol with updated information:
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