What is Steem?
Steem is a cryptocurrency used to power the platform Steemit - an incentivized blockchain social media platform.
Users create and curate content on Steemit just like other social news platforms (e.g. Reddit, Hacker News) and get rewarded in Steem for their work.
Steem is the fundamental unit of account on the Steem blockchain.
All other units (Steem dollars and Steem power) derive their value from the value of Steem.
There is no need to hold on to Steem in its cryptocurrency form, it should be used either to buy Steem power, Steem dollars or be converted to Bitcoins.
Steem increases in supply 100% each year. Steem was first published as a whitepaper in March 2016.
The currency and platform were in Beta until July 4th 2016.
Steem dollars are the units used to reward users for posting and curating content.
Each Steem dollar represents the amount of Steem equivalent to 1 USD.
Steem dollars (or SMD) were created so that users won’t be affected by the fluctuating exchange rate of Steem.
SMD are actually a promise, that when you come to cash out you will receive the USD equivalent in Steem of what you’ve earned.
Steem dollars earn an interest rate of 10% annually.
Steem power (or SP) is a token symbolizing how much power you have inside the Steemit platform.
When you have a lot of SP your votes count more in the system. In fact you can’t vote if you don’t have any SP.
Increasing your SP is known as “powering up” and decreasing it is known as “powering down”.
The way to power down is basically to cash your SP into Steem.
This can be done over a preiod of 104 weeks (2 years) in order to insure that users don’t just cash out quickly and collapse the whole Steemit economy.
Unlike other cryptocurrencies Steem has a built in inflation of 100% annualy and no coin limit.
You can earn Steem dollars and Steem power on Steemit by posting and curating articles.
Steem Curation and Moderation
In addition, you can make money with Steem. Anyone can read content posted on Steem without an account, and users can be entirely anonymous if they choose. Steem governs its users behavior through Community moderation, Steemetiquette if you will.
There are no set guidelines as of yet, like on Reddit, but they are being created organically and are self enforced by the Community through their combined voting power called Steem Power.
These guiding principles in many ways encourage quality original content from fellow Steemians, otherwise the user is simply wasting their time since they will likely not earn any rewards for posting low quality, undesirable content or spam.
Voters on Steem are called "curators" and are encouraged to evaluate content, sources and links to find high quality information, then vote and moderate based on on the information's factuality, relevance and quality, rather than on opinions.
Giving credit where it's due and citing sources is encouraged, since the original poster is being rewarded for the content, original content is preferred when it comes to handing out rewards.
Helpful Steem Resources