Explaining Steem to Different Types of People

in steem •  8 months ago 


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

and more.

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.

That's Steem.

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.

One liner

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!

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Dear @midlet

Thank you for this publication. I really appreciate the fact that you decided to make separate post to answer some of my recent questions.

I've done this many times and depending on a few different variables I change up how I'm going to approach it.

Wow. Have you been talking to business owners about Steem blockchain and steemit platform? I'm so grateful that you decided to share your experience.

I've already shared this post with some people who dropped valuable comment on my own post (related to similar topic)? Hope you will find time to read and reply to their comments.

Upvoted and resteemed on @project.hope already :)
Yours, Piotr

No problem, glad you and others found it helpful. I havent approached businesses with any business plans for steem, but I have talked to friends and family(some who have businesses) about it.

Late thank you for your reply @midlet

I would also like to take this opportunity to wish you ... great and safe upcoming celebrations.

Hopefully 2020 will not be as difficult (for us all) as many predict :)

Cheers, Piotr

Hello my dear @midlet, thanks for this explanation.

Very clear, we will be attentive to the following explanation, we are doing the mining function and some may not know.

Congratulations friend, I will read you soon!

No problem @fucho80! Glad you liked it.

"In a classic system ( euro, $) the money is created each month and distribute to banks. In Steem the money is distributed to people who are participating but the friends of investors are earning much more than unknown participants."
It is a good exercice to explain Steem to new people :).

Yea I think one of the best ways to understand something better is to try to explain it to someone else.

Hello, @midlet

Great content man! Steemit is a platform that has demonstrated the use of blockchain technology, its speed in transactions and its advantageous zero-fee policy has not yet been fully exploited.

And we have noticed that it is not only useful just for blogging and social networks, there are also other applications that are beginning to emerge under this blockchain platform: steemmonster, steemslotgames, and others.

However, this part is a little scary...

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.

I mean, you can monetize the information, but what about the copyright of that information? It's something I've always wondered about, the information we post on Steemit, belongs to Steemit? or belongs to the author?

Good content! Thanks for sharing 😄

When you post content here it's more like making it public domain. Anyone can throw up a frontend and read data from the blockchain, and yes they can monetize it through ads.

You ultimately own your account and have the power to edit posts to delete the content though if you wanted.

When you post content here it's more like making it public domain. Anyone can throw up a frontend and read data from the blockchain, and yes they can monetize it through ads.

I really had no idea it could be done. Obviously blockchain technology is transparent and I suppose all that is possible.

But this part

You ultimately own your account and have the power to edit posts to delete the content though if you wanted.

That is not entirely true, after 7 days what's written, written remains... Unchangeable forever, isn't it?

So the way it works actually is that it has nothing to do with the 7 days, nothing can be changed at the blockchain level. It's immutable ie unchangeable, when you edit a post, which you can do at any time on any post forever, you are editing it at the frontend level. So if someone built a frontend that just showed what was on that level and you edit a post and delete the data, it won't show up. But if someone who is technically savy REALLY wanted to see the original post they could because it's still there.

I understand now, thanks

Dear @midlet

There are many ways to explain how Steem works. You focused that BTC and I must congratulate you because the analogy in the explanation is very detailed and very easy to understand in fact I inform you that in my classes I will quote it.

In particular, when I explained it, I use video games a lot and I make a comparison with respect to the life of the game and the reloads as well as the coins are earned for goals achieved.

But this explanation is much better I must recognize it again.

A big hello from Venezuela where things are a little different as you mention in a sentence.


Thanks @lanzjoseg!

This is pretty well laid-out and explained, @midlet! Thanks for sharing your explanation with us.

As I'm moving to further explore my freelancing career into blogging/writing, I've come across people who are keen to try out Steem, but they don't know what it is, or how it works. While I understood the platform, being new myself, I couldn't really explain it all to well with strangers. Now, all I need to do is show your article here :-)

No problem @zacknorman97, hopefully it helps getting people onboard.

Well, thank you very much @midlet!

The explanation is very complete and clear, I also like that you focus on different cases, both of those who know or have some idea about blockchain technology, as people who are not familiar with it.

The advice to rely on images and use the appropriate language for each group is something that I fully support, it would be better even if you have the opportunity to do so with an interactive presentation, but in any case, even in a casual meeting you can illustrate the logic Steem operation.

I took advantage of making a summary with some of the paragraphs and passing the link to this publication in other social networks, I hope more people visit this post and understand the subject better.

No problem @pedrobrito2004, glad you found it helpful :)

Thank you for the info. I really relate especially the part where I have to explain about the block creation, rewards pool part. Most of the people I had been engaging with- in the real world have this idea- they will join, create contents and earn a lot! Though I explained the part about curation and SP, they still feel that its a SCAM because, they will not earn A LOT!

I wanted to ask them this: when you post pictures in social media site as a private individual, do you get paid immediately?

Yea, it's interesting to me that so many people come here and complain about how much they earn when every alternative to this gives you nothing.

I think they have a mindset that they can earn with minimal effort. For example, just going in the high paying posts, upvote and wait for a week for it to earn.

What I want to tell them is this: no work, no pay. In other words, if you do minimal to no effort, then, you get minimal to no pay too.

  ·  8 months ago Reveal Comment
Hola @fucho80 nos gustó mucho tu post y por ello te entregamos este link de invitación al canal de Discord de Capybara Exchange https://discord.gg/zFPWeVK , donde podrás cambiar STEEM, SBD, Bytes o cualquier criptomoneda a Bolívares de manera fácil, rápida y con la mejor tasa calculada a conveniencia de cada cliente según su monto.

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Interesting overview

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