What is Steem?

Steem is a social blogging platform powered by the Steem blockchain. Writing blog posts and interacting with peers is rewarded with Steem tokens. Receiving up-votes equates to receiving Steem.

Steem Tokens

Steem tokens are earned by blogging in the Steem platform. Steem tokens can be saved or sent to another steem user. They can be used to purchase goods and services, such as in this sustainable marketplace.

Steem Tokens can also be held in a long term savings account called Steem Power. Steem Power gives us more influence in the Steem platform; Holding more Steem Power means our vote is worth more.

Steem Promotes Generosity

The Steem platform has encouraged generosity among its participants. We have witnessed countless generous actions by our peers. For example:

Voting

Voting on other people’s content equates to them receiving rewards. This simple rule consciously affects our actions as we interact with our peers on Steem. Voting on our peers’ content, usually unsolicited, is a generous action because we appreciate their content and want them to prosper.

Contests

Contests are popular on the Steem blockchain. Anyone can create a contest. Contests can be deep and meaningful or light and silly. More often than not the prizes for contest winners are in the form of Steem tokens that are given out by the contest creator. Even contest entrants that don’t win the contest can receive Steem for their effort, because a contest entry in the form of a Steem post is likely to earn some up-votes. Here is an example of a home remedies contest made by our friends at Natural Medicine that encourages sharing knowledge with one another.

Curation

One popular way to earn Steem tokens is by curating content. This simmers down to highlighting content from quality or inspiring authors. Curation is a generous action because it is helping to shine the light on and highlight people’s good work, thoughts and actions.

Delegation

It is possible for any Steem member to delegate Steem Power to any other Steem member. Delegating Steem power will help the recipient have more influence in the Steem network. Often delegations are made for generous reasons.

Homesteaders Co-op

It is worth noting that this sustainable marketplace was inspired by the generous actions witnessed on the Steem blockchain. That generosity was extended by offering the online marketplace as a gift to our vendors for no cost and no fees.

Steem Communities

Steem communities are tribes or groups of people that congregate around a shared interest or shared values. For example there is a Homesteading Community, Natural Medicine Community, Eco-Consious Community, and many more. (Here is a more general directory of Steem communities)

Steem communities may form spontaneously – anyone can create one. Many Steem communities are inclusive and allow anyone from anywhere to join. Steem communities offer support and camaraderie for one anothers’ effort on the Steem blockchain and in real life.

Open Source Culture

Steem is built on open source software. Any software developer can look into the Steem code and see exactly how it is built. This transparency builds a culture of trust and freedom. The trust and freedom extends far beyond the teams of software developers and into the culture that is shared between all participants of the Steem blockchain.

The culture that we are participating in is encouraging sharing and collaboration rather than competition and greed. For many of us this is a refreshing alternative to the culture of competition and greed which is encouraged in traditional private social media platforms. Many of us find that we are encouraged to share deeper thoughts and emotions – we are inspired to grow as humans through our friends’ and peers’ rewards and encouraging comments.

Where Do Steem Tokens Come From?

Steem tokens are rewarded to participants of the Steem blockchain. We receive Steem for making blog posts, posting videos, commenting and curating content on the Steem blockchain.

Steem tokens are generated by the Steem blockchain based on inflationary rules decided by the creators of the Steem blockchain. The amount of steem distributed every year is reduced by a half of a percent every year until it becomes 0.95%. Currently (in 2019) we are around 8.5% Steem tokens being generated every year and will reach 0.95% in 2037. New Steem tokens are dispersed on a daily basis to participants of the Steem blockchain. Comparison of Steem inflation to Euros, Gold and Bitcoin.

How Are Steem Tokens Assigned Value?

The value of the Steem token is determined by the open market. The open market consists of many exchanges where various cryptocurrencies and tokens can be exchanges for one another. The open market is a free market and anyone can participate, including both consumers and investors. Therefore, while the effort to earn one Steem token remains fairly constant, the value of the Steem token in respect to a traditional currency (like the US Dollar) can change from day to day based on the sentiment of the market participants.

Steem Is An Economy

Steem in itself has become its own mini economy and that economy is growing every day. As you can see here are the ingredients that have come together to allow this economy to form and thrive:

  • Steem tokens can be earned by interacting with the Steem blockchain.
  • There are many dApps that allow you to interact with the Steem blockchain.
  • There are a multitude of communities/tribes that congregate around shared interests on Steem.
  • Anyone can sell and purchase products and services in exchange for Steem.

What are Steem dApps?

Distributed Apps (dApps) are applications that run on top of the Steem blockchain. All Steem dApps interact with the underlying system. In this way Steem can be considered a Operating System that lives on the internet and the dApps are the way in which we can interact with Steem.

A few examples of popular Steem dApps:

  • SteemPeak – Social blogging platform.
  • Steemit – Social blogging platform. The first Steem dApp.
  • Partiko – Mobile app to interact with Steem blogging platform.
  • Nextcolony – Space simulation role playing game. Earn cryptocurrency.
  • Steem Monsters – Collectible trading gards. Earn cryptocurrency.
  • Dlike – Share your favorite links. Earn cryptocurrency.
  • Dtube – Post videos (like YouTube). Earn Cryptocurrency. How to post a dtube video from your phone.
  • dSound – Upload Music (like SoundCloud). Earn Cryptocurrency.
  • Musing – Ask Questions. Write Answers. Earn cryptocurrency.
  • Dpoll – Make polls, get feedback. Earn cryptocurrency.
  • Steepshot – Share photos (like instagram). Earn cryptocurrency.
  • SteemHunt.com – Find cool new products. Earn cryptocurrency.
  • Actifit – Track your fitness. Earn cryptocurrency.

A more thorough list of Steem dApps

Steem is Exchangeable

  • How to Send Steem
  • How to Buy Steem
  • How to Sell Steem

Security and Private Keys

Private keys can be one of the most confusing aspects of interacting with the Steem blockchain for new users. Its a good idea to learn how they work because private keys are not unique to Steem; Just about all blockchains make use of private keys.

In short, your private key is your password to use the Steem blockchain and to access your Steem tokens. Access to your data and your tokens is encrypted and the only way to decrypt (unlock) access is by supplying your private keys.

Warning: If you lose your private keys you lose access to your data and your tokens. There is no way to reset your password if you lose them.

Why was the system designed this way? Like other blockchains the freedom lies in the power that is given to the individuals. We are not dependent on anyone to hold the security to our data and our money. The responsibility lies on our own shoulders to keep our data and our money secure.

In order to safeguard yourself it is important to know that while you interact on the Steem blockchain, through any multitude of websites and dApps, that you should only supply your private keys to the trusted third party SteemConnect. It is important to note the URL in your browser is https://steemconnect.com and not some other URL. There is one other safe alternative to SteemConnect and that is KeyChain which is a Steem password manager plugin (available in Chrome and Firefox). Never use your passwords anywhere else because you could risk giving your passwords to a thief (phishing).

Your private keys can be securely stored in a secure password manager like LastPass or in KeyChain.

Learn more about Steem private keys (recommended)

How to Sign Up

It is easy to sign-up to steem. There are several ways you can sign up to Steem. Here are two of the easiest ways to sign up:

1. Go to https://signup.steemit.com/. You can sign up for free. It will take up to two weeks to wait for your account to be approved. The manual approval of accounts helps to prevent spam accounts.

2. We have free and instant steem accounts. Simply contact us, let us know your email address, how you found us, and we will send you a free steem invite to your email which can be activated instantly.

After You Sign Up

Post an introductory post and include #introduceyourself as one of your tags. The best introductory posts are honest and open in terms of sharing your interests and how you hope to interact on Steem. For example if you are into gardening, you might share some thoughts about your passions in gardening. Here is a terrific welcome post from a homesteader @wildhomesteading.

Come find us in Discord! Discord is a chatting application (mobile app, desktop app or website) that allows us to keep in touch with each other. We love our discord channel for sharing stories, tips and questions about sustainable living! We are also happy to answer questions about steem.

Privacy, Transparency and Permanence

Interactions and transactions on the Steem blockchain are both transparent and permanent. Therefore our privacy is our own responsibility.

Transparency

All transactions of data or tokens is visible to any participant. This openness means that it is harder for criminals, extortionists or bullies to hide. It is also harder to suppress or censor any one individual. These are qualities of a system that values transparency.

Permanence

Records that are placed on the Steem blockchain are permanently recorded on the blockchain. While you can edit your posts after they are created, records of all of your changes will remain inscribed in the Steem blockchain permanently.

Privacy

Our privacy is our own responsibility. We should never write anything, post any photos or any videos that we will regret posting later. Everyone has a different level of comfort of privacy when interacting with the blockchain. For example, some people will never post a photo of themselves or their families. Others will be very open with what is shared. The choice and responsibility is up to each one of us as individuals.