Exploratory Analysis of Benefactor Rewards Shows Dramatic Impact of Downturn on DApps

in #utopian-io2 years ago




Benefactor rewards all Authors to share rewards with other STEEM wallet holders.  The feature is not available on Steemit.com, but you can create your posts on other user interfaces and set the benefactor’s rewards so that earning from a post is shared.

We have seen this be used a lot with DApps.  By using benefactor rewards, DApps can charge for posting via their interface.  But this option is not limited to DApps.  Anyone can author a post and share rewards by setting the benefactor rewards

Prior to HF20, all benefactor rewards were paid out in STEEM Power (SP), however after HF20, the rewards are paid out in the same ratio of SP to Liquid that the Author selects on their posts.

Aim of Analysis

With this change in mind I wanted to explore the Benefactor rewards table in steemsql to see

• How many authors have used the feature of paying benefactor rewards?

• How many posts had shared rewards

• How many benefactors have received a share of another account’s rewards

• How much has been paid to benefactors in VESTS

• How things have change over time for 2018


Initially I will look at data over all time, and then I will take a zoom in for 2018 and the top 20 benefactors in terms of rewards.



The above is a simple overview of the data in the benefactors table.  84K distinct Authors have made 2M posts sharing rewards of 960.28 M Vests with 3258 benefactors.

Time Series


The above charts show the time series of the same data that’s summarized above.

The red line is the number of posts and we can see this increase from October 17 to March 18 and in general a decline since then.

The distinct author count follows the same trend.  The blue bars show the VESTS paid to benefactor’s, and the grey bars in Oct 18, show the potion of this that was paid in liquid funds due to changes in HF20.

Beneath this we can see the number of actual benefactors, this peaked in April, a month after posts, authors and pay-outs began to drop.



The pie chart above shows the benefactors based on their share of benefactor’s rewards paid.  Combined @Dtube, @utopian.pay and @esteemapp have earned over 57% of the benefactor rewards paid out.

2018 ZOOM

I decided to zoom in to just 2018 and visualized the year to date values for the top 20 benefactors in terms of earned benefactors’ rewards.


The GIF shows the year to date growth in count of posts against the year to date growth in benefactors rewards earned in vests.  You will note the size of the markers change, the larger, the more rewards earned that month, the smaller, the less rewards.

We can see clearly Dtube race ahead in the rewards earned and we can also see esteemapp rise considerably above others in terms of the number of posts.

The GIF below shows the year to date Author count against the year to date number of posts.  The size changing based on the vests earned.


Its rather obvious from this esteemapp is way out in front in terms of usage,

This all looks rather okay really, however the time series trend shows a downturn so I though it would be interesting to view these GIFs month on month

Lets first look at the number of posts per month and the vests earned.


We can see esteemapp starts the year as an outlier in terms of number of posts, but by October, it has seen the biggest reduction and is now clustered with other Dapps.  Utopian.pay and Dtube also see big movements in terms of monthly vests earned.

Th GIF below really shows the contraction is usage for all the Dapps.  This is the monthly author count by number of posts and the size varying with the vests earned.


84K distinct Authors have paid benefactor rewards on over 2M posts , with Dtube earning by far the most.  

The downturn that we see for the usage of apps can be seen across most of STEEM and this downturn is not isolated the benefactor rewards.  However, we can see that some apps have been hit harder than others.  I think the GIFs really show how dramatic activity has reduced.

I hope over time to see more collaboration between authors, where people do guest posts, and ghost writing with rewards shared via benefactor payments.

The Data and the Query

I have used STEEMSql held and managed by @arcange to collect the data. I then used Power BI to analyse and present.

The M code used to gather the data was

    Source = Sql.Database("vip.steemsql.com", "DBSteem"),
    dbo_VOCommentBenefactorRewards = Source{[Schema="dbo",Item="VOCommentBenefactorRewards"]}[Data],
    #"Changed Type" = Table.TransformColumnTypes(dbo_VOCommentBenefactorRewards,{{"timestamp", type date}})
    #"Changed Type"


Hi @paulag, super interesting topic and great visualizations with the gifs! Two things immediately stood out for me: Utopian (involuntarily) switching from posts with beneficiaries until around June (IIRC?) to optional beneficiaries by posting via steeditor/steem-plus, and dtube reducing the beneficiary share from 25 to 10% a few weeks ago. So what is seen as a downtrend for these two in the gifs may partly be also due to these changes. I wasn't aware that esteem is so far ahead the other dapps by the number of posts. I assume that a good fraction of those is from comments, which is of course not easily distinguishable via the benefactor rewards (and makes not really a difference when looking at the total rewards...). A few benefactors could maybe be combined by vests for the correlation with apps, esp. if the same app sets multiple beneficiaries. Great work!

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Thank you for your review, @crokkon! Keep up the good work!

Hello @paulag 😉 I never knew how easy to understand the statistic information through graphics, bars and pies until I read yours and Asher, it is become easier when the colourful balls jumping on the chart.

Do you count it based on the tags or users information. Sometimes I posted something using steemplus but then edited and updated it with esteemapp.. does it makes any different in counting it?

Good question

very good question. I have taken all the data from the benefactor rewards table. These rewards are set at time of posting so it includes posting and does not include editing

But does editing with a different interface change the rewards ? ie, if first we post with esteem app and then with say, steempeak, what is the expected behavior ?

from my understanding, No. When you edit a post, you edit the body. unless you manually change the benefactor, it remains the same.

However the edit, and the record on the block should show the app the edit was made it

editing with a different interface typically does not change the reward settings and there are strong limitations on what can be changed at all, esp. once the posts have votes or replies. Benefactors, for example, can only be set once and can't be modified/extended/...

Great GIFs to show these changes visually. I hope we start to see some stabilization from the dapps as they add users directly to their communities and support them and foster growth across the ecosystem.

static charts such as the time series above, don't really show the dramatic reduction as the GIFs do. Yep, lets hope there is some stablilzation

I thought content creators were losers and the apps and proof of brain were the future. How can it be that the wonderful, wonderful apps are in a downturn?

Mza Aya hi

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Hi @paulag!

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A great presentation and a Ned resteem.
Not sure should i say thx for the info or congratz first. :)

I'm loving the visual presentations on this contribution. So easy to spot when the beneficiaries were changed on dtube :)

what we can not see from this is activity on new apps, such as parkito, that do not charge a beneficiary. I think i will run this again but this time using data from the comments table. We might find then that the downturn in activity is not as drastic as shown above, as other apps have gained market share in terms of posting and commenting.

Hey, @paulag!

Thanks for contributing on Utopian.
We’re already looking forward to your next contribution!

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I’m wondering how benificary payments correlate to SP/delegation to the dApp account. For example does DTube voting on posts with DTube set as benificiary create a sort of circular self-paying loop?

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