I've heard of both, but I just use the website.
One of the great things about Steemit is that it provides an easy entrance for the layperson into cryptocurrency. While it's been possible to get involved with other projects, this one doesn't involve fancy setups, letting you sign up and start posting. It makes things a lot less overwhelming to newcomers with a ton to learn for those wanting to start scratching the surface.
I've found that many people eventually ask about what the difference is between Steemit, the website, and the Steem blockchain. So let's cover some questions dealing with this as well as what other projects Steem connects with.
Q: What is the difference between Steemit and the Steem blockchain?
Websites often are described in their front and back ends. Front ends of a site are what you actually see, read, type things into, etc. However the back end of a site is what is actually doing the work such as letting you log in (authentication,) getting what you typed stored in a database or emailed out, deciding what info to put on your screen, etc. While Steemit does technically have it's own front and back end, much of what we have here is based upon what's taking place behind the scenes on the Steem Blockchain.
Steemit is the website that many of us spend our time on between reading, posting, commenting or checking our wallet. However, all of the information in our posts, votes cast or received, the money in our Steemit wallet, and much more is in reality happening on the Steem blockchain. The blocks themselves actually contain our posts, comments, and money transfers.
While Steemit was the first application to use the Steem blockchain, it was not the last. There are other projects that have already or are being developed to make use of Steem. In short, this means that other sites will be able hook their own websites in to post, vote and earn with.
Q: So I understand that Steemit is the website, but what exactly is a blockchain?
Short Answer: A blockchain is a full accounting ledger of every transaction that has ever happened on it.
Blockchains are the backbone to most cryptocurrencies and what is used to 'prove value' of their coins. Most fiat money (US dollars, Euro, British Pound, Japanese Yen, etc) had their money backed by something like gold for a long time, deriving it's value from that. For a long time, US paper money actually had a phrase printed on it saying "Will pay the the bearer on demand." This essentially meant that while the US was on the gold standard, somebody could take a $20 USD bill and ask for it to be exchanged for $20 USD worth of gold. Anyway, this hasn't been the case for a long time..just know that a lot of 'paper' money had something backing it's value for periods of time.
Now, in reality, money holds value because people attribute and trust in its value. Being rather new, cryptocurrencies (like Bitcoin, Steem, etc) didn't have a long standing history for people to build up trust in it's value. Simply saying a Bitcoin was worth a penny or a hundred dollars (now around $2,500) wasn't good enough. This is where a blockchain comes in to play.
In short, a blockchain handles transactions (like exchanging money) as well as keeps a FULL HISTORICAL ACCOUNTING RECORD of everything that's taken place. This would let somebody go through that last ten years of Bitcoin transactions to see how much money go in and out, giving an idea of the current value of All Bitcoins. It's worth noting that while there are a finite amount of Bitcoins (21 million,) only about 16.3 million are currently in circulation.
While there is more that goes into blockchains, such as methods to prevent the same coin being spent more than once, to start just understand that it is a long ledger or transactions. New transactions or posts (on Steem) are put into their own block, attached to the end of the chain, and then synced between those running the blockchain itself (on Steem these are called witnesses.)
Q: I heard about Steem achieving more transactions than Bitcoin...what exactly does that mean?
A few weeks ago the post titled Steem Surpasses Bitcoin was posted by @steemitblog (the official account for Steemit Inc.) A transaction on Bitcoin is essentially from money changing hands by exchanging bitcoins between people and/or accounts.
While this is true for Steem, our blockchain also includes transactions beyond this such as posting or voting. So while we may not have had as many financial transactions compared to Bitcoin, this is still rather impressive. The ability to scale up, handling more users who do more things, is important since that allows things to keep growing without getting bogged down.
What's even more impressive is that a typical Bitcoin transaction takes a minimum of 10 minutes, where as most things on Steem take about 3 seconds. Could you imagine sitting there for 10 minutes or more waiting for your vote to go through?!?! I know I'd go bonkers if that were the case.
Q: What other projects are using Steem?
Busy is a website that ties in with the Steem blockchain. Like Steemit, you're allowed to post, comment, vote, and transfer funds. These do all crossover with Steemit. If you post something from Busy, I can see and vote for it through Steemit. It has a look and feel similar to Facebook, which many people prefer as well as including a direct messaging system.Here is a recent post by their team showing what users are already able to do as well as pieces in the works.
Zappl is a micro-blogging project that recently completed their ICO (initial coin offering) to fund it's early development. The goal of this project is to create a more Twitter Like version of Steemit. Users will be able to make short posts (up to a certain number of characters) and votes will be able to earn some money (Steem) just like on here. Here is a recent post on the project proving some sneak peeks.
ChainBB Forum board by @jesta
As many of us know things can get lost quite easily here on Steemit, especially as posts age. Forum boards tend to excel at keeping information in a more organized manner as time passes, allowing people to find and follow conversations. This is where the ChainBB comes in. Much like @busy.org, posts created on ChainBB allowing for post creation, comments, voting, etc but in the forum board structure of things.
Q: How do they make their money?
A hardfork from some months ago allowed for 3rd party sites like these to receive a percentage on payouts from posts users created. This provides incentive and funding to keep pushing development forward for these projects. They all have their own niches to cater with how things are presented and functionality, with the the payout percentage they receive being rather reasonable.
Feel free to ask me anything. I'm here to Help!
Previous Helpful Posts for Newbies
❓Answering Common Questions: How do I Visually Spiff up my Steemit Posts? Are there any Templates available? 🎀
Are you new to Steemit and Looking for Answers? - Try https://www.steemithelp.net.