Steemit for Dummies (like me) - Everything you need to know in simple terms

in #steemit6 years ago (edited)

Alright Guys and Gals. Steemit is blowing up!

People are making thousands of dollars and if you’re reading this, I’m willing to bet that you want to be a part of this incredible new community too.

But (and it’s a big but) it’s super complicated and can be confusing as all hell!

Well fear not my fellow aspiring Steemers. I’ll break it all down for you.

And I won’t get too technical because I’m not an expert.

But I can give you the simplest version of everything that you need to know to get started! 

What is Steemit?

 Steemit is a social network that looks and functions a lot like Reddit, but with one HUGE difference:

Steemit pays both the content creators when their work gets upvoted, as well as the people who curate the best content on the site by upvoting others work.

This is possible because the Steemit platform is built on top of a new kind of digital currency. (Think Bitcoin, which is another kind of digital currency that has been around for a while.)

Every day, new units of the currency are created by the network and distributed to its users, who can exchange these digital currency units for actual real money.

And it doesn’t cost a dime to get started.

You can create a Steemit user account for free, right now, and be publishing your content directly to the site within minutes using Steemit’s built in blogging/publishing tools.

If you’re skeptical at this point, I get it. I was too.

But it’s definitely the real deal.

So let’s dive in. I’ll show you how it all works.

How does Steemit work?

In some ways, Steemit is similar to other digital currencies. For example, Steemit currency units can be traded, bought, and sold on the open market just like all of the other digital currencies.

With other cryptocurrencies like Bitcoin, the actual currency units that are created each day are distributed to the people who run a special bitcoin software program on their computers that perform a process called Bitcoin Mining. The amount of computing power you have dictates how much money you get.

Steemit allows for currency mining as well, but it’s not the primary way to earn money. Every day, new Steemit currency units that are created by the network and distributed to the people who engage with the site. The more you engage, the more you get.

People who create content are rewarded for their content. People who upvote content are rewarded for helping to curate the best content available on the site. Commenters who add to the discussions are paid too.

The 3 Steemit Currency Units: 

The first thing you need to understand is that there are three different kinds of Steemit currency units.

We have Steem, Steem Power, and Steem Dollars.

Confusing right? It was for me. But it will all make sense in a minute.


Steem are the units that are bought and sold for actual money on the open markets. You can trade them as you would bitcoins or a company’s stock.

But you don’t want to hold on to these for too long because more Steem Units are created every single day. If you hold onto Steem Units for a long time, they will become diluted and lose value.

Steem Power:

Owning Steem Power Units is essentially like making a long term investment in the currency because you can’t sell Steem Power Units for 2 years. But there are a lot of good reasons to have Steem Power.

By keeping your currency as Steem Power Units, you will be able to make considerably more money in the long run because you essentially have ownership in the network. As the network grows, so will your piece of the pie.

And you’ll be heavily rewarded along the way. The way things are set up now, 90% of the new Steem Currency that is generated every single day is distributed to the people who already hold Steem Power Units in the form of additional Steem Units. (The other 10% goes to content creators and curators).

Half of the pay you receive for your content will be in Steem Power Units.

Also, the more Steem Power Units you have, the more your curation vote will count. You will have more influence on the site and you will also get paid more for upvoting other people’s work. (When you upvote someone’s work, they will get paid more as well.)

Steem Power Units also play one final and very important role. They prevent massive price swings and volatility on the open markets. Because everyone is locked in for 2 years, we can’t all sell our currency all at once if the market starts to dip, which would crash the price were it to happen.

Steem Dollars

Steem Dollars are the third and final form of the currency and never get diluted or lose their value. They are designed to be a stable currency that you can sell at any time. When you create popular content, 50% of your pay will be in Steem Dollars.

And you’ll be rewarded for holding Steem dollars too. It’s not nearly as much as the rewards for holding Steem Power. But because it still keeps the currency in the network, holding Steem Dollars pays 10% interest.

When you earn Steem Dollars for creating content, you have three choices:

1) You can convert the Steem Dollars to Steem and sell it immediately on the open market for real money, essentially cashing out.

2) You can hold the Steem Dollars, which keeps the money in the network and pays you 10% interest. You can sell them at any time. If you think the value will go up and want to sell at some point in the near future, this is your best option.

3) You can exchange your Steem Dollars for Steem Power. If you want to invest in the future of the currency and reap the biggest rewards, this is the way to do it. 

How are the newly created Steem distributed each day?

Every day 90% of the new Steem units are rewarded to the people who hold Steem Power Units.

10% of the new Steem units are paid to content creators, curators, and commenters.

When you create content that actually earns money, 50% is paid to you in Steem Dollar Units that can be exchanged for actual money right away (or converted into Steem Power). The other 50% is paid in Steem Power. The Steem Power Units are locked up for 2 years. 

How to cash out your earnings:

Once you start earning Steem and you want to actually cash out, what do you do?

Well lucky for you, several other Steemers have created fantastic guides for doing just that. So rather than go all technical on you, I will pass you along to the people who can explain it better than I can.

Now you’ve been paid in steem dollars an What should you do?

BlockTrades adds support for directly buying/selling Steem

Where does the money come from?

Steemit user @Steemrollin has written a fantastic explanation on this:

Steem: Where DOES the money coming from?  

Why you should start now:

The short answer is that you have nothing to lose. It is 100% free to join and you can actually get paid for your work!

Unless you are a professional writer, you’re not going to find this kind of action anywhere else.

Also, Steemit is growing at an explosive pace! Hundreds of new users are flocking in every single day. And even though it’s only been around for a few months, it’s already become one of the top five digital currencies in terms of market capitalization.

In the last 24 hours alone, the value of a Steem has increased a mind bending 277%!!! 

Remember, Bitcoins were basically worthless early on, but are now worth close to $700. You have the opportunity to get in on the ground floor of a new currency without spending a penny, but also to be a part of an incredible new social network.

How to get started:

First things first, you need to setup your account. You will need to use your Facebook account or Reddit account as you do this to verify that you are who you say you are. Your account will be very valuable so make sure to set a secure password.  

Your Steem account is worth money! How to secure it with a new owner key to keep it yours forever

Creating your first post:

To start publishing content, all you have to do is click "Submit a Story" at the top right of the screen.

When publishing content, it’s important to format your articles in a way that will make them easy to read. Use images, headings, and subheadings to break up long blocks of text.

Use the “” button in the editor to activate the quote feature when quoting someone. And give the quote its own line like this

(The quote formatting button looks like this

No one ever wants to read a solid wall of text, so taking the time to format your article in a way that makes it pleasant to read will be crucial.

Posting Images:

As it stands right now, there is no way to upload your images to the Steemit website so posting images in your articles will require a workaround. The easiest way is to use All you have to do is create a free account and upload your pictures.

(It seems like the serveres at are down. Use instead. It's a great alternative.)

Once you have an image uploaded, simply click it, and copy the URL for the picture. Imgsafe gives each picture its own unique URL that you will use in Steemit to insert the picture into your post.

In the Steemit editor press the insert image button and paste the copied image URL. (If the URL starts with HTTP:// change it to HTTPS:// when you paste it into Steemit.) 

What to write about?

That is the million-dollar question, isn’t it? The best advice I can give you is to explore the trending topics/tags as well as the trending posts within those sections and see what kind of content people are responding to.

The introduceyourself tag is hot right now and a great place to start.

Here is my introduction post as an example.

This may be helpful as well: The Secret Formula to a Successful "IntroduceYourself" Post...And The #1 Mistake to Avoid.

Try to remember that it’s not about how much time you spend creating a piece of content, but how valuable/entertaining it is to everyone else. Try to create content that delivers the most value.

So my fellow Steemers, I have one question for you: what are you waiting for? 

Get out there and start creating! 

As for me, I’m in it for the long haul. See you all on the other side!    


Wow. There's so much to learn. I just by accident realized that my phone is linked to the account. Steem is still a little foggy I'm almost blind. I keep bumping into more stuff I don't know. Thanks for the tips

You're welcome man! I wish you the best of luck on the platform!

This post was helpful for me to come to a decision. I determined to power up my steem power. Actually it is a long term investment.

Same, I was able to understand the value of steem power. Now I want the power!

Where are you getting Steem power is locked up for two years ?

Yes, you are right... we have to keep on digging our hill to have something in due course of time...

Keep powering up

Good information is always timeless. Thanks for this piece. Helped me alot

100% agree. Perfect education for me.

Glad I could help!

Great stuff thank you! THis really is forever and timeless stuff thanks for making it easy for a fellow 'dummy'

Thank you for the intro..Very informative

Thanks for the quick lesson. It was very helpful.

Good read. A month later and your still helping people with this post . Thanks

11 months later and he still is :-)

Another 11 monther at this stage. :) Quality post and introduction! Thanks for the article!

Indeed! Sending this to my friend to help him understand steemit.

a year later and still going!

And still!

a year later he still namange to help people with this, great content

This is the best post I've read so far!

10 months later and they are still helping people with it :-)

Thanks @ian.wash I appreciate it!

a year for me bro... good job!!!

Hello, are you looking extra money? i recommend Clixsense. Free to sign up by clicking above link.

Its interesting to go back and look at this and see how relevant it is as the year has passed. It still hold up after all this time for the most part
Here is my take on what Steemit is

Thank you, gracias, merci, danke schon - I finally get it and from what you said, the key is STEEM POWER!!!!!!

posting images is not working for me as mentioned in your posts, seems something is not right.

try to turn of add-blocker it might help

It seems like their servers crashed use this instead for now:

Hopefully imgsafe will be back up soon.

I can't seem to get an image on to display in a post - when I copy the url into the image url box and click the checkmark nothing happens. Anyone else have a similar experience?

Once it uploads, try right clicking the image and select copy image address. Then paste that as the steemit image url. I was running into the same problem, but that definitely fixes it!

Thank you for your reply! I was going nuts and can confirm your tip works! I found this tutorial and can confirm it works as well:

"Remember, Bitcoins were basically worthless early on, but are now worth close to $700."

Lol, look where we are at now... ($4434.47 AOW)

Good post for the new one...thanks a lot!

Thanks for posting this as it helped me get up to Steem. Even 11 months later.

Googled "how steemit works" and this is the first post that came up. Still a very useful post even after a year :)
Helped me a lot to understand how this thing works. Thanks!

Thank you very much for this infomative post! seems to be overloaded, due to steem?! Do you know another method of uploading pictures?

Hi @mindover. I remember reading your post when I first joined steemit. I was browsing "new" and saw this post which contains some stuff lifted word for word from yours: h

Thank you so much for clearing things up!

Thanks for the help. I am powered up with steem and ready to go. See you all out there!

That's awesome. When you create your first post, post a link!

Thanks @mindover
Just joined yesterday. This has definitely boosted my confidence. Excited to be a part of the community!

That's very helpful. I really appreciate it.

Thank you so much. As a complete newbie to Steem and cryptocurrency in general, you post and links are very helpful

currently i am 0 years old, each vote = 1 year.

This post is more than a year, yet still helpful especially for beginners like me

Thank you so much for the informative post! Upvoted!

Thanks @mindover for a good, simple and easy to understand explanation of what Steemit is. I'm a new user and I am find it a bit confusing and this helped clear some things up! I appreciate it!

Fantastical write up - especially for a noob like me :D spanks!!

Great article even after all this time.

Two years in tech is an eternity, so well done

Thanks for the article, as a new user

It's been a year, but this post is still helpful. That's obvious of course as the information is timeless - mostly just commenting to do my small part in keeping the post active as I'm sure glad this was a top google result for "How does Steemit work" Thanks @mindover !

Awesome post @mindover I was really struggling to understand how steemit works. Thanks man, this is a really well written beginners guide for... well, beginners!

A big THANK YOU. I was so confused with my Wallet that I started to look at everyone else's Wallet. I couldn't understand why some people were transferring their Steem Dollars to their Steem Power. I understand now :-)

Do you happen to know how I transfer my steem in and our of the platform?

Thank you for helping us noobs understand this platform!

Best one I found so far regarding the introduction to steemit. Newbie here. Thank you for this post @mindover !

Hey! It's really a nice post and it explained everything. I was having trouble but now it's gone. Thanks....

Great job! 1yr later and your post is still helping dummies like me. 😂

Thanks for the education! However I'm confused by what appears to be a contradiction? At one point you say not to hold Steem because "If you hold onto Steem Units for a long time, they will become diluted and lose value." But later in the piece you say "In the last 24 hours alone, the value of a Steem has increased a mind bending 277%!!! " So buying Steem and holding it should be winner, like if you bought bitcoins 5 years ago and had them now, you're doing great. Right?

He adviced to not hold them for too long.
Being a tradable currency, there is volatility, so of course it can go up and down.
Steem units keep being created, the chance is at a moment there could be more offer than demand and the price will go down. The point is when.
But if you are there to invest and make money, feel free to define your own strategy.

Or as written by @steemrollin in his great post Steem: Where DOES the money come from?
Steem is similar to publicly traded company shares. The amount of Steem doubles each year so there is signficant dilution for those that hold Steem, however like many fast growing startups a rapid increase in value may outpace the dilution. Just like company shares (ie. stocks) these digital assets have value as more people use and contribute to the ecosystem. The estimated value of the total outstanding Steem assets is currently about $20 million on"


Does bitcoin work the same as steem ? are new bitcoins continually created?

New Bitcoin are being created, but the Bitcoin supply will be capped at 21 Million, as of now there are 16,397,150 Bitcoin that have been mined.

Hi am new here , and the truth is that i was looking to understand, how all this works, perhaps i fall on this article that explain and give a good introduction to neewbies like me..... Thanks to the creator

thank you @mindover im a begginer really helps me..keep it up :)

I think I learned more in the five minutes it took me to read this than the hours of searching I did previously to try to figure out what steemit is all about.

Wow thats awesome thanks Mike. Glad I could help!

Thank you, very insightful. Here my journey begins!

you clearly demystified steemit for a beginner

Very well explained thank you :)

@mindover Very glad I found your post! I recognize I'm roughly 2 years late on a platform that has been so fruitful for you and the long-time Steemians. I hope you continue to share your content, I see it's been a little while since your last post. All the best to you!

dude in 2 years we could be like hell yeah

Haha, we can only hope. For now Steemit is a fun hobby.

Thanks for this great article as it sure answers many of my questions about steemit. I am still confused about the economy of the whole project, but hey, i am only 2-3 days into this, and I am supposed to be confused, right? :)

Was curious about how Steemit worked and I stumbled upon this post. And a few days later, here I am! This is so well explained I just had to upvote this! Keep it up!

:) Glad I could help!

Thank you very much! Very useful and informative article!

Its only a few days since i had registered and there are questions on my mind regarding steemit . I had registered with steemit way in December 2017 but only this February 2018 that i had been active. I am involve with bitcoin an enthusiast and want to earn with the new currency. The dollar vigilantes latest video about " The planned collapse of the economy"

when i was viewing catched my attention when he said about Steemit .

Now i realized that i had forgot about Steemit then i went back and found out that i was already registered. Back to some questions in mind about "Steemit" i had to start with articles that are good for starters so i posted the questions which i found out in FAQ's . I also did this research and your article had answered a lot of my questions . What is steemit, when did it start, how to earn from it and your links to other topics is a big help , thanks for the article ..GOOD JOB award_medal_red_good_job.png

Thank you, as a new Steem user this has really clarified a lot of things for me. I think that Steem could actually become one of the next big internet things.

Thanks buddy for your step by step guid to new steem world how nicely you have explained the minute things it means a lot to new steem buddies .thanks for clearing the facts like crystal clear it means a lot to me and new steemians entering to this new world.

A very helpful post! Thank you so much for sharing!

I wish I could get it to submit.For some starnge reason, it will not accept a post from me.Frustratingly weird!

ok.finally got it to work.I narrowed it down to one single 'keyword', and I was able to submit it :-)

Thats so weird. Dont know why it wouldnt work with more than one keyword but glad you got it working!

Excellent read, I know this is an old post but the way you broke down the 3 different currencies on SteemIt made perfect sense to me.

This was the most helpful guide i have read so far! Keep up the great work!

So glad! Thanks Karen I will!

Thank you for this post, it was very helpful. I posted my first post but didn't see options for adding in things like headers, or bold. Maybe I'm just going blind, but where are the options for stuff like that?

Could you explane, please, what is ESTIMATED VALUE? and how can I use it?

Are you referring to the estimated value in your Steemit wallet? If so it's an estimate because the market price of steem is constantly fluctuating, so they give you an estimate of what your steem/steem power/ steem dollars are worth. See this post for more:

Thank you so much for this guide! This cleared up so many questions for me.

You're welcome! Glad it helped you figure it out.

Minor correction:

The way things are set up now, 90% of the new Steem Currency that is generated every single day is distributed to the people who already hold Steem Power Units in the form of additional Steem Power Units.

should read:

The way things are set up now, 90% of the new Steem Currency that is generated every single day is distributed to the people who already hold Steem Power Units in the form of additional Steem Units.

Much appreciated! Fixed. Thanks djleo!

Great share on how steem works. I am all the wiser now. :)

Awesome this will be helpful in pushing my Facebook friends to jump on the steem train. Woo woo!


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Awesome tutorial, bro. Thank you!

Thanks Raz, glad you liked it!

thanks, very nice writeup, but does steem dollar always 1 to 1 to US dollar ?

I believe that it's not exactly 1 to 1 but it is designed to remain very stable. According to the white paper, it's like holding convertible debt in a company. You hold a note worth a certain amount and you are paid interest on it. The price does fluctuate a bit though. According to right now 1 Steem Dollar is worth $1.19USD.

Thanks for sharing it chooseyourselfer, I just signed up to witness and be part of the action.

You're welcome! It's definitely an exciting time to be a writer. For your first post, you should definitely do a introduceyourself post. They tend do much better than most of the other posts. And link it up here if you write something!

Here is my first post. Following your advice, here is the link

Thanks for everything

Such a good, straight to the point write up.. just helped me and my girl figure out how STEEM works. Thanks a boatload!

No problem! Glad I could help.

Thank you for this, was very informative!

My pleasure! Glad I could help explain everything!

Good guide - thank you very much.

Thank you for this great post :) Full of great tips to start on Steemit...
If I purchase Steem on Bittrex, can I send them to my account and exchange them for Steem Power?

Hey charles. You can. I haven't done it but I've seen a few users mention that you can send Steem from your Bittrex wallet to your Steemit account.

do you know where to find your address to send it to?

Thanks for the introduction to steemit, @mindover
Followed you here from the nation of side hustles :)

Welcome! And glad I could help. The community here is growing so fast it's pretty crazy. There's more competition now but also more potential.

Thank you so much for this. Very informative and it helps me a lot.

My pleasure. Glad I could help you out!

A very good guide - thanks.

You're welcome! Glad I could help!

you did a great job with this and thank you it really helps me

Glad I found this! You saved me a lot of time trying to know how this works :-)

Bravo for this informative guide in layman's terms!

Thanks! Glad you found it so informative.

Great article, thanks for writing it! is down right now. Is there another alternative to posing pictures?

I just updated the post. You can use instead. It's just as good. Easier even.

Hey, the question might be outdated and I understand you can't mention all picture sites... but just in case...
At, you can refer to individual pictures too... both directly as in the context of a particular album. E.g.
Greetings :) !

Just what i was looking for! Great post!

Thanks! Happy to help.

Thanks just the info I needed. You save a lot of time and pain, thanks

Glad i could help! Good luck!

Really cool tutorial, mindover! Thanks for the help. I just joined, will follow your guide :)

No problem! Happy I could help you get it figured out!

Thanks for the tip on pictures. Steemit Chrome problems anyone?

No problem! And I use chrome on my macbook. No problems so far. Is it not working for you on Chrome?

Thank you @mindover i am new to steemit this post really help me alot and clears my almost all doubts about steemit. Thank you again! keep posting such educating content.

Guy, you have done a wonderful job for this explanation. You made everything about Steemit as simple as it never was. I am two month old in the world of cryptocurrency and I have seen the good and bad side of this digital currency. By been scammed a huge sum of money by so called cloud miners is a bad experience within the first month into the world of cryptocurrency. However, I strongly believe in it as a good source of passive wealth if not the other way round. Nevertheless, thank you for your time. I hope to ask you some more question when I am lost.