What Is Steem?

What Is Steem

The digital landscape is continuously evolving, and among the numerous innovations, blockchain technology stands out. One such application of this technology is Steem, a blockchain designed for social media platforms. Launched in 2016, Steem aims to revolutionize content creation and monetization. This article delves into what Steem is, how it functions, and why it is gaining traction among content creators and developers.

Steem is unique in its approach, combining blockchain technology with social media, allowing users to earn rewards for their contributions. By decentralizing content platforms, Steem empowers users with more control over their data and earnings. This not only democratizes content creation but also offers new opportunities for monetization.

Whether you are a content creator, developer, or simply curious about blockchain applications, understanding Steem can provide valuable insights into the future of digital interactions and economies.

What is Steem?

What is Steem?

Steem is a blockchain-based platform specifically designed for creating decentralized social media applications. Launched in March 2016 by Ned Scott and Dan Larimer, Steem uses a unique consensus mechanism called Delegated Proof of Stake (DPoS) to validate transactions and create new blocks. Unlike traditional social media platforms, Steem rewards users for their content and engagement using its native cryptocurrency, STEEM.

Key Features and Components of Steem

Key Features and Components of Steem

  • Decentralized Social Media: Steem provides a decentralized alternative to traditional social media, allowing users to create and manage content without the need for a central authority. This decentralization ensures that content is not subject to censorship and that users retain control over their data.
  • Reward System: Users are rewarded with STEEM tokens for creating and curating content. The more popular and engaging the content, the higher the rewards. This incentive system encourages high-quality contributions and active participation within the community.
  • Consensus Mechanism – DPoS: Delegated Proof of Stake (DPoS) is a consensus algorithm that relies on a small group of elected representatives (delegates) to validate transactions and create new blocks. This system is more energy-efficient than traditional Proof of Work (PoW) mechanisms and allows for faster transaction processing.
  • No Pre-mine: Steem was launched without a pre-mine, ensuring fair distribution of its tokens from the start. This approach aimed to prevent the concentration of wealth and power that can occur in other blockchain projects where a significant portion of tokens is allocated to founders and early investors before the public release.

Also Read: 11+ Top Blockchain Grants Provider for Web3 in 2024

Tokens within the Steem Ecosystem

Steem operates with three primary tokens, each serving different purposes within the ecosystem:

  • STEEM: This is the main currency of the Steem blockchain. It is liquid and can be traded on various cryptocurrency exchanges. STEEM is used for various transactions within the platform, including rewards distribution and voting for delegates in the DPoS system.
  • Steem Power (SP): Steem Power represents a long-term investment in the Steem ecosystem. It is essentially STEEM that has been staked or “powered up” and cannot be immediately withdrawn. Holding Steem Power grants users influence over platform governance and content curation. The more Steem Power a user has, the greater their voting power and influence on content rewards.
  • Steem Dollars (SBD): Steem Dollars are a stable-value currency pegged to the US dollar. They are designed to provide a stable medium of exchange within the Steem ecosystem, mitigating the volatility typically associated with cryptocurrencies. Users can convert SBD into STEEM or other cryptocurrencies, providing flexibility and stability for transactions.

Use Cases and Applications

Use Cases and Applications

  • Steemit: The first and most prominent application built on the Steem blockchain is Steemit, a social media platform where users can post content, vote on posts, and earn rewards in the form of STEEM, SP, and SBD.
  • Decentralized Apps (DApps): Numerous other DApps have been developed on the Steem blockchain, ranging from blogging platforms to video sharing and community forums, all leveraging Steem’s reward and governance systems.

Community and Ecosystem

Steem has a vibrant and active community of developers, content creators, and users. The platform has undergone various upgrades and hard forks, continuously evolving to enhance its features and scalability. The Steem ecosystem is also supported by various third-party tools and services, further enriching the user experience and fostering innovation.

Overall, Steem represents a pioneering approach to decentralized social media, combining blockchain technology with an innovative reward system to empower users and create a more equitable and engaging online environment.

How Steem Works

Steem’s functionality is centered around its three main tokens, each playing a unique role in the ecosystem:


  • Primary Cryptocurrency: STEEM is the core cryptocurrency of the Steem blockchain, serving as the primary medium for transactions and trading within the network.
  • Minting Process: New STEEM tokens are created through the blockchain’s reward system, which distributes newly minted tokens to users based on their contributions and participation.
  • Liquidity: STEEM is a liquid asset that can be traded on various cryptocurrency exchanges, providing users with the flexibility to convert their earnings into other cryptocurrencies or fiat money.

2. Steem Power (SP)

  • Long-term Investment: SP represents a long-term commitment to the Steem ecosystem. Users can convert STEEM into SP through a process known as “powering up,” which locks the STEEM tokens into the network.
  • Influence and Rewards: Holding SP gives users more influence over the platform’s content and governance. The more SP a user has, the greater their voting power when upvoting content or voting for witnesses (delegates) in the Delegated Proof of Stake (DPoS) system.
  • Earning Potential: Users with more SP earn higher rewards from their content and curation activities. SP is gradually earned back as part of the rewards system and can be “powered down” over time, converting it back to liquid STEEM.

3. Steem Dollars (SBD)

  • Stablecoin: SBD is designed to maintain a value close to one US dollar, providing a stable store of value for users within the volatile cryptocurrency market.
  • Conversions: Users can convert SBD back into STEEM, allowing them to take advantage of market fluctuations. SBD provides a way to stabilize earnings and mitigate risks associated with cryptocurrency price volatility.
  • Interest: In some cases, SBD holders may earn interest on their balance, further incentivizing the holding of this stablecoin within the Steem ecosystem.

Rewards System

The rewards system on Steem is a key feature that differentiates it from traditional social media platforms. It incentivizes both content creation and curation, distributing rewards based on user engagement.

Content Creation

  • Users create posts and share content on Steemit or other Steem-based applications.
  • The content is then upvoted by other users. The more upvotes a post receives, the higher its visibility and the greater its potential rewards.
  • Rewards for content creation are distributed as a mix of STEEM, SP, and SBD, providing immediate liquidity, long-term investment potential, and stable value storage.

Content Curation:

  • Users who discover and upvote valuable content early can earn curation rewards.
  • The rewards are also distributed in STEEM, SP, and SBD, encouraging active participation in content discovery and evaluation.
  • The curation process helps maintain the quality of content on the platform, as users are incentivized to upvote high-quality posts.

Delegated Proof of Stake (DPoS) and Governance

Steem uses a Delegated Proof of Stake (DPoS) consensus mechanism to ensure the security and efficiency of its blockchain:


  • Witnesses are elected by SP holders through a voting process. They are responsible for validating transactions and creating new blocks on the blockchain.
  • The top-ranked witnesses by vote count form the active witness group, which takes turns producing blocks.
  • Witnesses earn rewards for their services, which are distributed in STEEM, SP, and SBD, similar to content creation and curation rewards. This ensures that those who contribute to the network’s stability and security are compensated for their efforts.


  • Voting: SP holders can vote for witnesses, thereby participating directly in the governance of the network. This voting power is proportional to the amount of SP they hold, making it essential for users to hold and stake SP to have a say in the platform’s direction.
  • Proposals: Users can submit proposals for improvements or changes to the Steem blockchain. These proposals are then voted on by the community, ensuring that any significant changes are supported by a majority.
  • Community Feedback: Regular feedback and discussions among community members help shape the policies and development of the platform. This open dialogue ensures that the platform evolves in a way that benefits its users.

Economic Model

The economic model of Steem is designed to encourage long-term growth and stability:

Token Distribution

  • STEEM: This is the liquid currency that can be traded, transferred, and used for transactions.
  • SP (Steem Power): This is a vested form of STEEM that gives users more influence over the platform’s decisions and allows them to earn curation rewards. SP cannot be transferred directly and must be powered down over a period of time to be converted back to STEEM.
  • SBD (Steem Dollars): These are stable-value tokens pegged to the US dollar, providing a reliable store of value and medium of exchange within the ecosystem.

Inflation Control

The Steem blockchain controls inflation by regulating the issuance of new tokens. A portion of the rewards pool is allocated to various stakeholders, including content creators, curators, and witnesses, while another portion is burned to reduce supply and maintain value.

Market Dynamics

The interplay between STEEM, SP, and SBD creates a dynamic market where users can choose their preferred form of value storage and investment, balancing immediate liquidity with long-term growth potential.

The rewards system, governance model, and economic structure of Steem collectively create a unique ecosystem that incentivizes active participation and high-quality content creation. By aligning the interests of content creators, curators, and stakeholders, Steem fosters a vibrant and engaged community that drives the platform’s ongoing success and evolution.

Unique Features of Steem

Steem is a unique blockchain platform that differentiates itself from other cryptocurrencies through its innovative features and user-centric design. By leveraging cutting-edge technology and a robust governance model, Steem aims to create a dynamic and scalable ecosystem that supports a wide range of applications. Here are some of the standout features that make Steem a notable player in the blockchain space:

  • Delegated Proof of Stake (DPoS): Steem uses DPoS, where a limited number of elected witnesses validate transactions and create blocks. This method is faster and more efficient than traditional Proof of Work (PoW) used by cryptocurrencies like Bitcoin, allowing for quicker transaction times and lower energy consumption.
  • Free Transactions: Unlike other blockchains that charge transaction fees, Steem offers free transactions through a bandwidth allocation system. This approach makes the platform more accessible, encourages user interactions, and reduces barriers to entry for new users.
  • Smart Media Tokens (SMTs): SMTs are customizable tokens that can be created and managed on the Steem blockchain. They enable developers to build their own tokenized ecosystems within the Steem network, enhancing the platform’s versatility. SMTs can be used for a variety of applications, from rewarding content creators to building decentralized applications (dApps).
  • Reward System: Steem’s reward system incentivizes content creation and curation. Users can earn Steem Power (a form of influence on the platform) and Steem Dollars (a stable cryptocurrency) by posting, commenting, and voting on content. This system fosters an active and engaged community.
  • Scalability: The Steem blockchain is designed to handle large volumes of transactions efficiently, making it well-suited for applications that require high throughput. This scalability ensures that the network can grow without compromising performance.
  • Decentralized Governance: Steem’s governance model allows the community to participate in decision-making processes. Stakeholders can vote on witnesses, propose changes, and influence the development of the platform, ensuring a decentralized and democratic ecosystem.

Benefits of Using Steem

Steem offers a range of benefits to its users, making it an attractive platform for various stakeholders:

1. Content Creators

  • Monetization: Steem provides a direct way for creators to monetize their content. By earning rewards in the form of cryptocurrency, creators can turn their online activity into a source of income. This model is more transparent and immediate compared to traditional ad revenue or subscription-based models.
  • Ownership and Control: Creators retain ownership of their content and have greater control over how it is monetized and shared, unlike on centralized platforms where terms can be more restrictive.

2. Developers

  • dApp Development: The platform supports the development of decentralized applications (dApps), allowing developers to build and deploy their projects on a robust and user-friendly blockchain. This creates opportunities for innovation and the creation of new services that can operate without intermediaries.
  • Open Source: Steem’s open-source nature allows developers to contribute to the platform, ensuring continuous improvement and the potential to create unique, customized solutions.

3. Community Engagement

  • Reward System: Steem’s reward system encourages active participation and engagement, fostering a vibrant community where quality content is valued and promoted. Users are incentivized to contribute meaningful content and engage with others, enhancing the overall quality of the platform.
  • Social Interaction: The platform promotes social interaction and collaboration among users, creating a sense of community and belonging.

4. Economic Opportunities

  • Curation Rewards: Users can earn by curating content. By upvoting and promoting high-quality content, they receive a portion of the rewards, creating an ecosystem where everyone benefits from contributing to the community’s success.
  • Network Participation: Active participation in the network, such as commenting and engaging with other users, can also yield rewards. This makes Steem a dynamic platform where users are compensated for their involvement.
  • Investment: Users can invest in Steem’s tokens (STEEM, Steem Power, and Steem Dollars) to potentially earn returns. This aspect attracts investors looking to diversify their portfolios with blockchain assets.

5. Decentralization and Security

  • Decentralized Governance: Steem operates on a decentralized model, reducing the risk of censorship and ensuring that the community has a say in the platform’s development and policies.
  • Security: Blockchain technology provides a high level of security for transactions and data, protecting users from fraud and unauthorized access.

Steem’s unique combination of monetization, community engagement, and decentralized innovation makes it a compelling choice for content creators, developers, and users looking for new economic opportunities.

Challenges and Future Outlook

Despite its advantages, Steem faces several challenges:


Limited trading volume can make it difficult to cash out large amounts of STEEM quickly, potentially deterring some users. This issue is exacerbated during periods of market volatility, where the price of STEEM can fluctuate significantly, impacting the value of users’ holdings. Enhancing liquidity through partnerships with more exchanges and encouraging greater market participation can help alleviate this challenge.

Onboarding Complexity

Understanding blockchain technology, managing digital wallets, and grasping the nuances of Steem’s voting and reward mechanics can be daunting for new users. This complexity poses a significant barrier to widespread adoption, as potential users might be discouraged by the steep learning curve. Simplifying the user interface, offering comprehensive educational resources, and providing user-friendly onboarding processes are essential to make Steem more accessible to the general public.


Steem operates in a competitive landscape, facing challenges from both traditional social media giants like Facebook and Twitter, as well as newer decentralized platforms such as Hive, Minds, and LBRY. To stay relevant, Steem must continuously innovate and offer unique features that set it apart from its competitors. This includes enhancing user engagement, improving content discovery algorithms, and integrating new technologies like NFTs and DeFi.


Operating in a regulatory gray area, Steem must navigate evolving legal landscapes to ensure compliance and maintain user confidence. Different countries have varying regulations regarding cryptocurrencies and blockchain platforms, which can complicate Steem’s operations. Ensuring adherence to these regulations while advocating for clearer, more favorable policies is crucial for Steem’s long-term sustainability.

Also Read: 15 Best Crypto Staking Platforms in 2024

Development and Community Support

Despite these challenges, Steem benefits from an active developer community dedicated to enhancing the platform’s features and expanding its outreach. Ongoing development efforts focus on improving the platform’s scalability, security, and user experience. Community-driven initiatives, such as content creation contests, community rewards, and partnerships with other blockchain projects, help to maintain user engagement and attract new participants.

Unique Value Proposition

Steem’s unique value proposition lies in its decentralized nature, allowing users to earn rewards for their content and interactions directly through the blockchain. This model contrasts with traditional social media platforms, where users’ contributions often go unrewarded. By leveraging its growing user base and continuous innovation, Steem is well-positioned to remain a significant player in the blockchain and social media space.

Future Outlook

Looking ahead, Steem’s ability to address these challenges will determine its trajectory in the evolving digital landscape. By prioritizing user experience, fostering a supportive community, and staying ahead of regulatory changes, Steem can capitalize on its strengths and continue to grow. The platform’s commitment to decentralization and user empowerment will be key factors in its ongoing relevance and success.


Steem represents a significant step forward in the integration of blockchain technology with social media. By providing a decentralized platform where users can earn rewards for their contributions, Steem democratizes content creation and offers new economic opportunities. While challenges remain, the platform’s innovative approach and active community suggest a promising future.

As blockchain technology continues to evolve, platforms like Steem are likely to play a crucial role in shaping the future of digital interactions. Whether you are a content creator, developer, or enthusiast, understanding Steem and its potential can provide valuable insights into the next generation of online platforms.

For more detailed information about Steem, its features, and how to get involved, visit the official Steem website and explore the various resources available.

Disclaimer: The information provided by HeLa Labs in this article is intended for general informational purposes and does not reflect the company’s opinion. It is not intended as investment advice or recommendations. Readers are strongly advised to conduct their own thorough research and consult with a qualified financial advisor before making any financial decisions.

Joshua Sorino
Joshua Soriano
+ posts

I am Joshua Soriano, a passionate writer and devoted layer 1 and crypto enthusiast. Armed with a profound grasp of cryptocurrencies, blockchain technology, and layer 1 solutions, I've carved a niche for myself in the crypto community.

Scroll to Top