In case you hadn't noticed, you now get some Liquid Steem as part of your author rewards, alongside SBD (Steem-Backed Dollar) and Steem Power (SP). We'll call that LS. And I'm going to explain why it is happening, how much of it you'll get, and where it's headed. Maybe.
Before we get started:
This only applies to author rewards, because the LS rewards are replacing SBD rewards. You don't get SBD rewards from curation rewards. Ergo, not relevant there.
This post assumes you know how the author reward splits work. Well, not really, but it's nice to know what form your payments come in, isn't it? Check this post if you'd like to know.
This has nothing to do with SBD's price. Pegging it won't help. I'll actually explain this, but I thought it'd help to get this out of the way for everyone who won't be reading through all of this.
SBD was designed to be pegged to be worth $1. Well, to be exact, it's insured to always be worth at least $1 USD worth of Steem. That means that there needs to be enough Steem around, that all SBD could be converted into Steem worth at least as much USD as said SBD. Assuming the SBD is worth $1. So if we have 1 million SBD, there needs to be at least $1,000,000 USD worth of Steem for it to be converted into.
Actually, the ecosystem is designed so all the SBD should be worth no more than 2% of Steem's market-cap. Any more than that, and less SBD is getting produced, so the system will return to a state where the amount of SBD would be exchanged for less than 2% of Steem's market-cap.
The amount of SBD getting printed gets lower, and the amount of Liquid Steem (LS, remember?) goes up, from the starting point of 2% of Steem's market-cap, to where if the amount of SBD around is equal to or higher than 5% of Steem's market-cap, no SBD gets printed at all.
Remember that post on how your author reward gets broken down? This is where it gets relevant. How much LS are you going to get? Well, depends on how much of Steem's market-cap % the SBD count is at.
If we reach 3.5%, which is the middle point between 2% and 5%, 50% of the rewards you'd normally get as SBD would come as LS. How much LS? The same logic as applies to your SP rewards: Suppose you were to get $100 USD worth of SBD, which at current SBD/Steem prices ($1.7 USD for each, about) would've amounted to, well, 100 SBD, worth $170 USD? You'd instead receive 50 SBD (worth $85) and $50 USD worth of LS (50/1.7 = 29.4), worth $50. For a total of $135 worth of currency.
A loss to anyone who receives author rewards on the platform.
When would this end? When the amount of SBD going around falls down to below 2% of the Steem's market-cap.
Here is the math for how to find the figures involved. Figures of current data pulled from steemd.com.
Figure 1: market_cap.
This is the current Steem Market Cap, as defined by the current 3.5 days' witness median price.
Current data: $535,119,854
(This figure is had by multiplying Virtual Supply (271,084,019.468 STEEM) by Feed Prince (1.974 SBD).)
Figure 2: current_sbd_supply
Unsurprisingly, this is how much SBD is floating around. Total.
Current data: 10,798,075.803 SBD.
The "Steem Ecosystem SBD "Debt":
Figure 2/Figure 1.
Or [SBD Amount]/[Steem Market Cap]
Current data: 10,798,075.803/535,119,854 = 2.018%.
As you can see, just a smidge over 2%, so we're here. Now what do we do about it?
So, what two factors can move, to bring this situation about, remove it, and make it better/worse?
Steem's Market Cap, and SBD amount. As you can see, how much SBD is worth is irrelevant. The system was designed as if SBD is worth $1 USD, so nothing really assumes it's worth anything else in the system.
Steem's value plummets, as it did over the past couple of weeks? Well, it market-cap plummets, and thus, the "debt" rises, in terms of relative percentage.
So one thing that can be done is have Steem's market-cap rise. If Steem's value keeps falling, expect to make less SBD - both because your posts will be worth less STUs, and because less SBD will get printed, to cover your actually owed STUs.
Print Less SBD! Sounds simple, right? But nothing controls how much SBD gets printed directly. Those who believe in pegging the SBD down to the $1 USD again can't actually have it be printed as Steem does, without reworking the entire system. They can do that, mind, but that won't peg the SBD. That'll only make SBD into a coin worth exactly as much as Steem is worth, or artificially give us less rewards.
There's the suggestion to increase Steem's price, which will then lead to more SBD getting printed (because the higher Steem is worth, the more STUs are handed out, and the more SBD relative to Steem that pump out), which should hopefully lead to SBD's price going down - increase supply, lower demand, lower prices, right? Well, I've had some thoughts about that before.
Anyway, do you see the problem here? Aside from SBD prices having nothing to do with this phenomenon (remember, only Steem Market cap and how much SBD is going about!), it'll actually increase the amount of SBD. Which would make this situation worse. Which would result in less SBD getting printed. Which won't work for those hoping to pump the system with more SBD.
What can we do? Hope Steem's price goes up, and thus its market-cap goes up.
If not? Expect the double-whammy of reduced rewards, both due to less STUs (such as $100 post rewards 5 days ago reading more like $80 now, and going to keep going down as the price feed updates), and less SBDs, which we got as higher-amount of rewards.
Good luck, and stay informed!
And thanks to @eonwarped for his talk on these matters, as always, which helped me get to the bottom of things. Image taken from him, with his permission.