Proposed Upgrade for Blockchain Incentives

in #steem8 years ago

Now that we have stabilized the STEEM inflation rate we would like to start the discussion on growing the reach of Steem into more websites. Steem was created to be a decentralized content platform that would maximize the distribution and network effect of its cryptocurrencies (STEEM and SBD). Part of being decentralized is encouraging many independent websites and/or competitors to hosting Steem content (such as,, and mobile apps).

Core Ideas

Currently, there’s a “put it on Steem and only on Steem” feeling, however, we believe we can structure the blockchain incentives to make every content site across the internet desire to integrate with Steem. Bloggers shouldn’t have to choose between Steem and their current platform. Steem should be a no-cost, potentially revenue generating, addition to any blog. Developers and service providers should be able to make money providing users access to the Steem blockchain.

Encourage Competing Websites

All businesses depend upon a revenue stream to stay in business. Someone looking to create a competitor to must have a solid business model to justify the expense in hiring developers to build, deploy, and market an alternative. We would like to propose a very simple change that would enable a large number of businesses to flourish.

Every post will be able to specify how it’s rewards are divided up among up to 5 different accounts. When you use a service provider to make a post, they can automatically construct the transaction to pay a commission. If you use, then x% will go to the author and the rest will go to Steemit, Inc. Steemit, Inc will take a percentage so that competitors have an opportunity to compete on price (or charge the same). The funds we receive will be redirected into a community driven development fund that can help bootstrap new features and services.

Embedded Comments

Many popular websites choose to use 3rd party providers, like Disqus, for hosting comments. With the new commission feature, these websites could embed Steem comments and collect a percentage of every comment reward.

There would be two options for embedding comments:

  1. Host Steem comments directly
  2. Use a 3rd party provider like or to serve comments

When a user makes a comment the payout will get split 3 ways depending upon which interface they use to construct the comment.

  1. Author
  2. Domain (e.g. Infowars, Zerohedge, etc)
  3. Service Provider (e.g Disqus, or

Segregated Reward Funds

Right now all content shares a common reward pool proportional to the total votes it receives. Top level posts see and receive an order of magnitude more attention than comments. This significantly dilutes the potential payout for comments.

Top level posts are also restricted to “original content” and people who post links to other blogs don’t get the same kind of rewards. We want to encourage every blogger out there to submit their blogs to Steem and to embed a Steem comment section on their blog.

If we are going to have these different kinds of content, then we need some means of normalizing rewards among the different types. To achieve this we would allocate X% to original content, Y% to link sharing with brief summary, and Z% to comments such that X+Y+Z equals the current reward fund.

By segregating the funds links are paid out relative to other links, while comments are paid out relative to other comments and blogs to other blogs. This in turn should increase the total percentage of the pie paid to comments and links without encouraging comment or link spam. By increasing rewards for participation in discussion and for submitting links to be discussed, we increase the incentives for bloggers to integrate Steem with their existing blog. We also increase opportunities for normal people (non-bloggers) to participate in the platform through link sharing and commenting.

Today bloggers have many reasons to say no to Steem. With these proposed changes, every blogger would have a huge incentive to add Steem comments to their blog while also submitting a link to their blog to Steem.

Different Curation Rewards for Different Content Types

Comments should not have curation rewards because those who are reading have already found the discussion by other means. Links should not have extremely high author rewards because they are almost entirely requests for curation. Blogs should have very high author rewards and lower curation rewards.

You can see how different content requires different division of rewards to properly handle its unique properties.

Feedback Wanted

The upgrades described above are presented for community discussion only and not as a final decision. Please let us know what you think and how we can make Steem more appealing as a platform for developers, bloggers, and discussions about content.


Comments should not have curation rewards because those who are reading have already found the discussion by other means.

I don't agree with this. The problem is that it directly disadvantages voting on comments. I'm currently donating some of my vote power to an initiative with a mission to vote on comments. I fully expect that curation rewards on comments will (usually) be less than those on posts (since rewards are typically lower), so there is some opportunity cost here, but I don't expect the rewards to be zero, and if they were I would be less likely to allow my vote power to be used on comments.

Secondarily, it isn't necessarily true that curating good comments doesn't require significant effort nor add significant value. Consider very active comment streams with thousands of comments or more (for example on reddit it not uncommon that a single post generates far more comments than there are recent posts in the same sub). Voting up the most insightful, entertaining, etc. comments can be both non-trivial effort and add a lot of value.

I'm not sure about the ideas for segregating of content types. It seems rather arbitrary and static. What about video sharing, photo sharing, microblogging, etc.? The point being there are many different types of content (including some not yet invented) and even if the splits are open to witness vote, the categories in this proposal seem hard coded and arbitrary. I'd prefer to see something where rewards flow dynamically to whatever content types generate the most user engagement. I don't have a specific proposal for that however.

I think it actually requires more effort and work to curate comments. I think the rewards should be kept. It may not be an incentive right now but in the future with a higher Steem price it will become more relevant. The discussion is just as important as the posts and curation should be encouraged. I like the other ideas though.

I agree that curation rewards for comments should remain.

Regarding the segregation of content types, I think it could make sense to separate reward streams for top-level posts versus comments since there is a distinction made between the two at the blockchain level (the payout times for comments is entirely driven by the payout time for the root post). So this blockchain difference means that comments (posts with depth level greater than 0) should really just be used as commentary on top-level posts rather than other purposes, and so their visibility is expected to be very different than top-level posts that it can perhaps justify a segregated reward stream. (By the way, this proposed hard fork is a good time to finally get rid of the 4 post limit on full payouts. Then posts can be used for microblogging without limitations, and we don't need hacks like using comments on unrelated root posts for microblogs.)

But like you, I don't really like further hard-coded segregation of content types, such as the one between "original content" posts and "link" posts. I think those should just come from the same reward stream. However, I do see value in different types of content having a different percentage of the payout allocated to the post going to author rewards versus curation rewards. People are willing to reward the author of original content more than just a shared link. In fact, in the case of the shared link, the author of the post is really more like just another curator, so perhaps what would be ideal is to distribute all (or nearly all) of the payout to the curators for shared link posts (and the author would of course be the first curator). For original content, the author deserves a large fraction of the payout, but they should still give some fraction of it to curators to keep sufficient motivation for curators to upvote the post in the first place.

So, I suggest that the only segregation of reward streams be between posts versus comments, but to furthermore allow the author of a post/comment to specify the percentage of the payout that goes to the author (with a hardcoded maximum allowable percentage of say 80%) and the rest going to the curators. This percentage would be visible on the post so that it can inform the decision making of curators. And once again, get rid of the 4 post limit.

allow the author of a post/comment to specify the percentage of the payout that goes to the author (with a hardcoded maximum allowable percentage of say 20%)

This does not make a lot of sense to me. Maybe I'm misunderstanding it.

I somewhat like the idea of allowing a variable split, except for the issue of cognitive load. Display of it should probably be some sort of advanced/optional feature. People who are just voting for what they like and not trying to be professional curators should not be pressured to care about curation reward details with visual clutter. Either way that's not a blockchain issue though.

Absolutely 1000% agree with getting rid of the 4 post limit.

My mistake. I meant to write 80% (as in minimum 20% goes to curators). I fixed my post now. Does it make sense now?

Yes, I worry about the cognitive load too. Perhaps displaying it by default isn't so important because of the minimum going to the curators. Perhaps by default it could just use some icon to indicate whether: curators get the hardcoded minimum percentage of payout for this post; curators get 100% of the payout for this post; or, custom payout for curators (hover over icon to see detailed percentage).

I think I like the idea of 3 separated pool rewards. At least 2 separated pool for posts and comments the way @arhag propose really seems to make a lot of sense. I'll be awaiting more tinkering, details and comments to make a better opinion of those proposals.

Also I'm not sure I understand the statement below. If comments don't have curation rewards then what will be the incentives to vote for those comments?

Comments should not have curation rewards because those who are reading have already found the discussion by other means.

What @smooth said is a no brainer in my opinion.

Voting up the most insightful, entertaining, etc. comments can be both non-trivial effort and add a lot of value.

@smooth the problem that voting on comments dilutes your voting power can be solved through using Segregated voting power for each category per user.

Generally i love the idea of having segregated reward funds. Because this could evolve to a kind of virtual nation / federation.
Which categories are used and their percentage of the the reward funds should not be set in stone. Instead users should be able to vote on it. For example a change would need 2/3 positive votes over a period of 1 month.

The number of changes per time period should also be limited to avoid change suggestion spamming. For example each month only the top voted 5 changes with 2/3 positive votes are taken. This number itself could be voted on the same way.

The same way voting could also be done on the curation percentage in an category. So @smooth could vote for a smooth comment curation payout :)

So what about if we had two voting powers, one for comments, and one for everything else. Voting on comments would not effect your voting power for everything else where you could earn curation rewards, but would decrease your comment voting power (to keep comment rewarding fair)?

This way voting on a comment would not be a wasted vote, but something extra that you can choose to do with out losing out on curation rewards. Aka make it so there is no reason not to vote on comments.

Interesting idea!

I might not be understanding it 100% correctly, but it sounds like they are thinking of letting each platform decide on how to allocate the rewards for the content generated through their site. You could end up with sites that decide to pay comment curators 75% if they decided that was a good model for the type of site/community they wanted to create.

OK that would be better. I thought they were going to take away curation rewards for comments.

I like the "competing websites" part .. it is like a referral program for sites and hosters .. It could help developers monetize on their tools and sites ( e.g. piston, busy) .. +1

This is exactly where I was hoping this is heading. Steem will become a way of work and play, not only a blogging site called Steemit! Thank you for this innovation.

Interesting direction to head towards. I had thought of content division with payout differences before, but didn't think about how it would be feasible to implement... like how valued are these links or copy/paste paragraphs to other sites and how are they going to be rewarded...

"Comments should not have curation rewards because those who are reading have already found the discussion by other means. Links should not have extremely high author rewards because they are almost entirely requests for curation. Blogs should have very high author rewards and lower curation rewards."

That seems to be reasonable. But I would like some real figures as an example. i.e. compare a post now, X payout, and X1 author and X2 curator rewards, Y comment rewards... vs. new format, blog post X, X1, X2, Y comment, and Z links reward values, so we can understand how much is being attributed to each.

Thank you!

I love the idea of opening a Steem based comment section similarly to the way it's done with Disqus.

I love these propositions! With the division of payouts it will make a viable business model for app developer or project like Busy, we will less be dependant on donations and will able to grow funding in same time we grow activity on our apps. With this change we can pay signup fee for new users, we can create a referral system, it will give us much more possibilities.

Completely agree with you :)

I waiting for a long time, finally saw some reform, I have some ideas want to share,
If this idea is adopted, will promote steemit, let more people come here and use steemit

Do steemit market,steemit need a

" Affiliate Program"

When I bring new users and traffic, it should give me commission
We need these funds to go to more sites to advertise (Write artices optimization steemit and purchase ads)
If there is no commission, no one is willing to spend money to help steemit optimization,Because we need to spend time, This will allow more old users to introduce new people here,

I hope you can discuss,This will give the blog sites or author, a huge impetus

With this proposed change, could construct transactions to automatically pay commission to the documented referrer for each account.

I would rather see a separate blockchain feature for rewarding account referrers and registrars, as was briefly discussed here. I don't like the idea of a user easily getting around paying the cut to their referrer/registrar by switching clients. The registrar is more likely to pay the account registration fee for a new user if they know they will continue getting a cut of author/curator rewards (up until the accumulated pay to the referrer/registrar reaches some limit) regardless of what client that user ends up using.

Yes, In this reform, today I saw some good changes, Let me see the hope of the future!
A: Disqus, which is a very popular tool, including many of my own website using, Use it to achieve the exchange of traffic SEO
B:Different Curation Rewards for Different Content Types, I like the idea

Thank you very much for your hard work

I'll have a different aproach to attract people to steem (blogs, news papers, youtubers, etc). I'd create a attribute url_reference. When a new post is written an a valid url_reference has been entered the payout will be distributed as follows: 1/3 for the author, 1/3 for the curators, 1/3 for the url owner.
In this way, blogger, youtubers, tweeterers, newspapers or companies can be rewarded just due to the fact that someone is pointing to your content from within a steem post.

This url owner rewards would be then automatically transfered to a steem account who identifies as legitime owner of the content refered by url_reference.

Legitimation could be also automated with the already known back-linking method.

The effect is that people still outside of the steem and even without knowing that steem or steemit exists could be earning rewards just due to the fact that steemit posts refering to their content are getting rewarded.

Imagine what would happen if, for instance, successfull youtubers discovered that they have hunderds of SBD waiting to be transfer to them as soon as they legitimate linking the refered steemit url on their youtube video

This also could created a sort of third rolle in steemit: referrers or reviewers or discoverers. . Authors who discover good content outside of steem and are also rewarded for it.

I actually thought by having github issue #325 we sort of started thinking about exact same structure of payouts. I might be wrong but I support this because each new or starting projects on top of Steem, one way or another having issue with project development funding and sustainable revenue model around it, beside steemit. There are some other ways to have revenue model for eSteem project for example that I have been thinking for a while now but they are far from being ready and userbase doesn't really support it at this stage. Embedded comments are really another service we can explore by building plugins which I think is great idea for a project.

Great ideas. Steem blockchain is a great backend for content publishers and producers. They don't have to worry about censorship or backups because everything is on the blockchain. It's quite unique value proposal and should be one of the best marketing points for Steem (of course other people have talked about this too, but Steem is the first to implement this and also easy to use).

The question is, how hosting private keys would be solved? If will integrate comments, then to be able to comment there I would have to:

a) register new account through his website - but then I will have a trouble to gain significant SteemPower there, and.. only author of blog would have a significant impact for rewards of new guys
b) share my posting key with potentially not trusted webstie

What we need is SteemConnect on steroids - decentralize solution, what I believe is very challenging if even possible.

For sure a possibility of having multiple posting keys would be helpful. Compromising one posting key, should not have impact for main posting key.

Hi @noisy - the question is touched on in one of the comment threads above (including a reply from Dan). Multiple posting keys seems to be the direction it would head. I share exactly the same concerns as you do though!

I just figure out that from user perspective, dealing with keys is already something difficult and new, and introducing even more keys could be really confusing.

I believe this could work, that user should be able create new "slaves" account and link them to original account (via steem connect or steemit). Then user would have a possibility of setting a rule for particular slave account (behind a scane of course additional keys would be used). Then blockchain after noticing any action from slave account should trigger proper action on main account, of course after checking whether permissions of particular slave account allows to take particular action.

This will allow keeping slave keys by each service individually (ideally not even by them, but by browser).

What do you think?

It's a good suggestion. I agree 100% that whatever solution they implement, it is probably going to complicate things! I hope they can come up with a good solution that strikes the right balance.

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