This post is a response to @crypto.piotr how kindly asked for some feedback on how to explain some Steem concepts to people in his post here.Drop by and leave a comment to share how you break Steem down if you feel so inclined. I've done this many times and depending on a few different variables I change up how I'm going to approach it.
Scenario #1: We've got some time + They already understand Bitcoin
In this case I give a pretty detailed explanation using Bitcoin as a parallel.
Both Bitcoin and Steem have a controlled programmatic inflation. On the Bitcoin network, miners compete by solving pointless math problems to see who gets the next minted Bitcoins. They do this by having increasingly powerful computers and solving the problems faster, therefore increasing their probability of being rewarded new Bitcoin. That process is referred to as "mining".
On Steem the inflation is divided into multiple "pools" (see graphic above, btw a picture communicates MUCH faster than words so whenever possible use images) One pool rewards the block producers, one funds a proposal system that is a decentralized work proposal system for people that want to do work for the blockchain, one rewards people that are holding Steem in a non-transferable state(more on this later), and one funds what's called the Reward Pool.
Each Steem user can transfer their Steem into a non-transferable state that is referred to as "Powering Up" or "Staking". It basically means that you still have your tokens in your wallet, but they are locked and can't be transferred. You can unlock them at anytime and they will unlock in 13 equal payments per week. So if you unlocked 13 Steem, you would receive 1 Steem per week for 13 weeks. So the entire unlocking process takes a little over 3 months. This unlocking process is called "Powering Down".
When you lock up your Steem you receive additional perks for holding your Steem in this state.
- You receive a portion of the Steem inflation. The 15% of total inflation is distributed across everyone who is storing Steem in this state based on how much they are holding. So if user A is holding 10 Steem and User B is holding 100 Steem, user B will receive 10x the inflation user A would.
- You can vote for block producers and the power of your vote is proportional to the amount of Steem you have in a locked up state.
- You can vote for work proposals and the power of your vote is proportional to the amount of Steem you have in a locked up state.
- You can distribute Steem from(and to) the reward pool based on the amount you have locked up by voting.
This utility of the Steem token is mostly used in social applications. How much Steem you have the power to distribute is proportional to the amount you are holding in a locked up state.
So on the surface to the end user what this ends up looking and feeling like is your typical social applications, blogging, video sharing, picture sharing, etc., that you get paid in Steem for contributing.
So bringing this back to Bitcoin, on Steem, the people authoring posts as well as the people curating posts are the "miners". Based on the wisdom of the crowd you'll be rewarded based on the result of people upvoting and downvoting that content. As a curator there's a mechanism you reward you more if you find content that others also find valuable.
So this perk of distributing Steem from the reward pool can be loaned out through a process called delegation. You can delegate any amount you want to any other account and can undelegate it at any time. The use cases for this are numerous but a few are
- You can use it to help onboard people that have little to no Steem to help them get started
- You can help support a business or initiative
- You can lease it for passive income
- You can empower another user for whatever reason
I focused mainly on this scenario because it's the one @crypto.piotr mentioned but while we're here, another one that's common.
They know nothing about anything
This is the tough one. For the person who knows nothing or next to nothing about Bitcoin, cryptocurrency, finance, etc. I have a completely different approach here.
Imagine Facebook or any social application, Twitter, Youtube, whatever. All the data, the status updates, the pictures, everything is stored on Facebooks centralized servers that only they have access to and own.
Now imagine something like these social applications but all that data was totally open and accessible to anyone. Anyone can create their own website, mobile app, or whatever to view all that data and they can filter it however they like, show it however they like, and monetize it however they like.
There's a whole complex system in place that balances incentives to make this capable of running and being financially feasible, and the thing that makes it possible is cryptocurrency and in this case Steem.
What you end up with after a bunch of complex systems is something that looks and feels like social apps you're used to, but here you get paid in Steem for participating on the network. Your participation is one of the ingredients that make the whole thing function so to the system, you're providing a valuable function and it rewards you for that. It doesn't matter if you making content or engaging with other people's, both of these things are valuable and rewarded.
At this point they probably have questions if I've done my duty right. Typical ones
- Where does the money come from?
- Is this legal?
- Is Steem real money?
If you've ever explained Steem to anyone you know the deal by now.
Steem is a platform for social applications where you get rewarded in the cryptocurrency Steem for participating.
Short on time + Understands Bitcoin
STEEM is sort of like Bitcoin, but the mining is creating and curating content on social applications built on Steem. Upvotes and downvotes that on the surface look just like typical social apps are actually distributing the inflation of STEEM and the amount is determined by how much Steem you're holding.
I think the key to explaining this is knowing what details are important for each type of person. Depending on where people are at, I think it's fine to leave out the details they won't understand or that take a lot more time to explain, ie inflation pools, staking, delegation, PoB, PoS, Witnesses, etc. If they're interested in that first tidbit, you can graduate them from pre-k and send them to kindergarten with a little more info.
Also if people aren't familiar with the tech leave all technical terms out. It's sort of like, if you're talking to a young child, you don't use words that aren't in that child's vocabulary because they obviously won't understand you, so just substitute that stuff for terms that are universal. I see people here make this mistake all the time. On twitter talking about staking, and I'm thinking nobody knows what that means guys.
Anyway, I hope that's helpful @crypto.piotr and anyone else that struggles with this. I'll see you all in the next post!