A quick look at steemd, at the foot of the right-hand column, will show that the "SBD print rate" is currently at 0%. What does this mean for your rewards?
The obvious thing you will see is that your reward payouts have zero SBD; instead, those SBD are paid out as STEEM. This means that the "50% SBD / 50% SP" payout option is almost the same as the "Power Up 100%" option, the only difference is that you will be getting "50% STEEM / 50% SP" rather than "100% SP".
How does this affect the "profitability" of the Steem blockchain?
This is a bit more interesting and perhaps counter-intuitive to many. Using the value of an upvote, as published by the Upvote Calculator, and assuming full upvotes every day, the rewards generated by an account are currently just under 22% APR in STEEM terms. However, if we calculate the reward payouts, including the curation rewards and a 50-50 reward split and the SBD Print Rate, your actual rewards payout yields an effective 16.5% APR.
Notice that the difference between the two values is 5.5%, which is exactly 25% of the pending rewards. This means that curators are getting the full 25% allocated to them. (Yes, I know there are ways of changing this, but we are looking at the basic dynamics of the Steem ecosystem.)
Removal of the creation of new SBDs therefore leads to something I would like to call the Basic Steem Ecosystem (BSE). In this effectively single-currency system, we get a stable 75% of rewards to the author and 25% to curators.
One thing that is less obvious in the current BSE is that rewards, in terms of STEEM, are independent of the price of STEEM!
The STEEM market
Yes, we would all like to see higher Dollar values - makes us feel wealthier - but in terms of the percentages gained in STEEM terms, the value of STEEM in US$ is irrelevant. Again, this seems crazy, but why is it true?
The value of an upvote is determined by the amount available in the Rewards Fund and the level of upvote activity (the Recent Claims). If we stick to looking at the Steem ecosystem entirely in STEEM, the value of an upvote in STEEM is determined by blockchain activity and not by the US$ value in the external market.
The value quoted above, of 22% APR, is far higher than the inflation rate (which is now about 8.7%) because not all STEEM is vested SP, and not all SP actively upvotes at full power. If and when Steem blockchain activity were to increase (by mass adoption and higher retention rate) then we should see this figure drift downwards towards the inflation rate. As an example, about one year ago, the upvote value generated around 70% APR!
As an aside, I would like to suggest that Steem Inc put together an economic team to simulate and stress-test the Steem ecosystem; this should include economists and game theorists. I read way too many comments that try to use fiat monetarist policies to analyse Steem; this is not a monetarist ecosystem. I shall leave aside the politics of central banks promoting monetarism as a self-serving mechanism to keep governments under control. The point here is that these blockchain-based ecosystems are new systems and there is very little research (that I have found) on their dynamics. Steem has a head start and should be at the forefront of analysing the best possible set of rules that are encoded to produce the best possible ecosystem. This is worthy of much longer discussions, so will not hijack this post!
What happens when the SBD Print Rate increases again is complicated, and that does depend on the US$ prices; it also warrants a different post. However, the message here is that if you think that the Steem blockchain has a future, then you need to take advantage of the current situation. The Steem blockchain ecosystem, seen in STEEM terms, remains highly profitable for holders of SP, for authors and for curators. This is not the time to cash-out, it is the time to accumulate and see the benefits when the price in US$ terms rises again. Also note that the whole cryptocurrency market is caught in a down-draught due to nervous global stockmarkets; the excess funds that, in my opinion, have been driving cryptos are currently sitting on the sidelines.
Enjoy the pioneer spirit!
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