Steem Blockchain Overview

The Steem Blockchain

The Steem Blockchain is a Graphene-based blockchain that was originally developed with the aim of revolutionizing content monetization and coupling it with a mix of social media use and traditional blogging. Since it’s launch on March 24, 2016 it has grown and evolved. It’s prime selling points are its 3 second transaction speed and ability to handle large volumes. To date, it’s been leveraged by a variety of innovative projects focused on a broad range of fields, from open source development to trading card games.

Investment and Monetization

No initial investment is required. Default monetization is achieved by contributing textual content (publishing) and interacting through curation of others. The Steem blockchain has two tradeable currencies, STEEM and Steem Backed Dollars (SBD), and one transaction-focused currency, Steem Power. The SBD is intended to be steadily pegged to the US Dollar. Steem Power is gained by “powering up” STEEM, locking it in as an investment with a divestment time of 13 weeks. The amount of Steem Power determines the level of the account’s stake and the bandwidth that an account is allocated to transact with. Bandwidth self-replenishes.

Delegated Proof of Stake Model

The Steem blockchain, like all other Graphene blockchains, operates on the Delegated Proof of Stake (DPoS) model. Blocks are produced at 3 second intervals and are signed by “Witnesses” selected based on the total weight of the Steem Power supporting them through individual approvals. The DPoS model allows for near real-time transactions that can be adapted for any application requiring speed and modularity. Other DPoS blockchains include Bitshares, Golos, Peer Plays, Scorum, and EOS; all based on the Graphene framework originally developed by Steem co-founder Dan Larimer.


The technical development of the Steem blockchain itself is carried out by the founding company Steemit Inc, under the current leadership of Managing Director Elizabeth Powell and with significant contribution by open source developers and witnesses. Hardforks and key protocol changes must be accepted by a median of witnesses receiving stakeholder support who accept or reject code changes by upgrading their nodes. Witnesses themselves are scheduled in tiers: the Top 20 and the backup. Every 21st block is processed by a random backup witness. Witnesses control account creation fees, block sizes, the production of the SBD, and set price feeds.