If you hold Steem Power, you're earning STEEM automatically

in #steem3 years ago (edited)

I realized recently many people don't understand this and many (including myself) get confused by it and think in terms of "interest" instead of "inflation." Let's break it down a bit.

If you Google for "steem interest" or "steem interest rate" or "steem power interest rate", a post I wrote almost two years ago is still the top result.

It's more accurate to think of this as inflation because the STEEM blockchain is creating new currency all the time. That said, some people still like to think in terms of interest to answer the question "How much will I gain via interest if I hold this token?"

As Steemit, inc announced on November 18th, 2017 the STEEM blockchain inflation is now:

Inflate at 9.5% APR narrowing to 0.95% APR by 0.01% every 250,000 blocks (Roughly 0.5% per year).

Since that rate is decreasing all the time, let's go ahead and calculate what it is right now.

Steem Inflation Rate

current_inflation_rate = (978 - (head_block_number / 250000)) / 100

(from this excellent post by @penguinpablo)

Using head_block_number from steemd.com as 22,230,359 we get:

current_inflation_rate = (978 - (22230359 / 250000)) / 100
978 - 88.921436 / 100 = 8.89078564%

So the total STEEM inflation right now is around 8.89%

The STEEM blockchain is creating new currency every block (every 3 seconds) and distributing it as follows:

  • 10% to Witnesses
  • 75% to authors and curators
  • 15% to Steem Power holders

Again, this is from Steemit's blog post.

@dan-atstarlite did an excellent video which I highly recommend watching: How Steem's Inflation Works which breaks this down visually and explains how the actual inflation rate my be different than this due to how SBDs are printed and whether or not they are converted to STEEM or held.

As I was recently thinking about this, I was a little confused because steemdb was showing different numbers than what I expected:

Speaking with @jesta to make sense of this, he realized he was dividing by 30 instead of 12. He updated that so now we have something a little closer to what we expect, though it still doesn't show 15% (I'll explain in detail why below):

So how much money can we make just by holding Steem Power anyway?

At first I thought it was as simple as saying "15% of the total inflation PERCENTAGE goes to Steem Power holders" (that would be 15% * 8.89% = ~1.33%), but that is not correct. It's 15% of the total amount of new token inflation at that time based on how many people hold liquid STEEM compared to Steem Power.

Huge shout out to @preparedwombat who pointed this out in the comments and to @smooth who chatted with me about it as well. We'll have to get a little dirty to figure out the real number, but first let's look at some real data so we'll have a benchmark to check our findings against.

As I mentioned at the end of this old post, I put together a PHP script to save the current Steem Power balance of an account to a text file every five minutes. I used that against @freedom's balance to see the inflation in real time:

Raw Data:


Total Steem Power:

7714363.5358808 - 7714361.1336359 = 2.4022449

2.4022449 SP          X
------------  = ------------
517 seconds      86400 * 365

X = 146532.292391489361702 SP

7714361.1336359 + 146532.292391489361702 = 7860893.426027389361702

------------------------ = 1.018994741087837


So the actual rate we're seeing is 1.899% APR at this time (note, that will decrease over time).

So if you have 50,000 Steem Power as an example, you'll get ~949.7 SP a year or ~18.3 SP a week. This shows up automatically in your wallet without any transfers at all.

How does that happen?

I'm glad you asked. Now we get to nerd out a bit about how the STEEM blockchain works under the hood. You may have heard the term "VESTS" or "MVESTS" and scratched your head. The official developers documentation glossary describes VESTS as:

Vests is underlying token that STEEM is derived from, and are share in Steem Power

If you look at the global properties of the STEEM blockchain (@jesta has a cool tool here to track property changes over time in his labs), you can see steem_per_mvests which at the time of this post is:

"steem_per_mvests": 491.20620385283575615

That means that 1 million VESTS are equal to ~491 STEEM.

That's how you get more Steem Power in your wallet without any transaction taking place. If you have 1 million VESTS today, in one year, that conversation rate will change by ~1.899% so the same amount of VESTS will be worth more STEEM.

For example, next year the steem_per_mvests will be closer to ~500.

Back to our example above, if we have 50,000 Steem Power today, under the hood we really have 101,790,245.33448255 VESTS (or 101.790245 MVESTS) which we get by taking 50,000 and dividing by steem_per_mvests. Next year, if we did nothing else but hold our Steem Power, we'd still have the same amount of MVESTS, but the conversion rate would have changed. So we'd have 101,790,245.33448255 * 500.536538515759653 / 1,000,000 = 50,949.7 Steem Power.

I hope you found that interesting, and if you didn't previously know, now you do: Just by holding Steem Power, you can increase your STEEM holdings.

Okay, so now let's dig into the actual code that makes this happen and why we can't just say, "Hey, what's the current inflation rate of STEEM?" (~8.89%) and then say "Okay, so I heard 15% of that goes to Steem Power." The current inflation rate is based off the number of blocks and virtual steem, not actual VESTs.

Starting here with process_funds() in database.cpp and pulling in some variables we need:

#define STEEM_BLOCKS_PER_YEAR                 (365*24*60*60/STEEM_BLOCK_INTERVAL)
* At block 7,000,000 have a 9.5% instantaneous inflation rate, decreasing to 0.95% at a rate of 0.01%
* every 250k blocks. This narrowing will take approximately 20.5 years and will complete on block 220,750,000
int64_t start_inflation_rate = int64_t( STEEM_INFLATION_RATE_START_PERCENT );
int64_t inflation_rate_adjustment = int64_t( head_block_num() / STEEM_INFLATION_NARROWING_PERIOD );
int64_t inflation_rate_floor = int64_t( STEEM_INFLATION_RATE_STOP_PERCENT );
int64_t current_inflation_rate = std::max( start_inflation_rate - inflation_rate_adjustment, inflation_rate_floor );
auto new_steem = ( props.virtual_supply.amount * current_inflation_rate ) / ( int64_t( STEEM_100_PERCENT ) * int64_t( STEEM_BLOCKS_PER_YEAR ) );
auto vesting_reward = ( new_steem * STEEM_VESTING_FUND_PERCENT ) / STEEM_100_PERCENT; /// 15% to vesting fund

To find the real inflation rate, we have to figure out how much new STEEM is created with each block (every 3 seconds). I used some values at the time I ran through this.

We'll need the virtual_supply number from the global properties which is the sum of all the STEEM plus all the SBD if it was converted to STEEM at the current price (note, this is based on the blockchain price of SBD which is $1 USD, not the market price of SBD).

virtual_supply = 271750869.726

The code above gives us the formula for finding how much new STEEM is created per block:

new_steem = (271750869.726 * .0889078564) / 10512000
new_steem = 2.298400618547785 (per block)

VEST Rewards:
2.298400618547785 * .15 = 0.344760092782168

From that we can get 0.34476 STEEM per block goes to VEST holders. Depending on what percentage of the total VESTS you hold, you'll get your share of that amount.

Back to the @freedom account we used earlier, they have 4.0362432674167% of total VESTS. That means they get 0.01391535603366 SP per block (2.298400618547785 * 0.040362432674167). Our test ran for 517 seconds which is 172.333 blocks. That means, according to what we see in the code, @freedom should have received 2.398 SP which almost exactly matches the 2.402 SP we recorded.

There are a lot of variables going into all this including how much SBD there is which impacts the virtual supply and how many people are powered up or in liquid STEEM (fewer people powered up means your share of the VESTing rewards will go up).

Don't worry if you head hurt a little bit going through all that. It's confusing stuff, and it took me way too long to wrap my head around this (again). I work on posts like this to help explain complicated things in simple terms and so I can go back and find my old posts later to explain things to myself. :)

Luke Stokes is a father, husband, programmer, STEEM witness, DAC launcher, and voluntaryist who wants to help create a world we all want to live in. Learn about cryptocurrency at UnderstandingBlockchainFreedom.com

I'm a Witness! Please vote for @lukestokes.mhth


What an amazing creation and the review helped a lot with my quest to understand the deeper layers of this technology.

Very interesting. Now I know why my delegated SP has been increasing. It is awesome to know that not only am I receiving a higher interest rate than the bank pays but that my purchasing power can actually increase even more as Steemit grows and Steem Price increases.

Thanks for always sharing your valuable insights.

Yeah, it's a beautiful thing. Voluntary inflation can do some cool stuff when a community gets behind it and uses it wisely.

It's a great system to encourage investing in steem.I will be investing as much as I can into the steem blockchain now that I know about it.

Great information, I had no idea that this was happening or even how. Time to crunch some numbers myself and maybe power up a bit more. Thanks for breaking down how this interest works on SP and making it simple to understand!

This is especially great information for you and @treblemakur. I'm somewhat familiar with this, but it's fantastic @lukestokes gave us this great break down from an Interest and APR perspective.

Thanks for the tag. I will review this information in a bit.

Always i asks myself : What will happen if the steemit site closes one day? is it a good idea to build your business on this site?

Steemit is not the Steem blockchain. Steemit could close tomorrow but that are tons of other apps on the blockchain that we could still use. Busy.org, Steepshot, D.tube. D.Sound, Utopian.io and more. This is the power of steem. It doesn't need 1 site or one particular use to be successful. Steemit can very well be replaced tomorrow and all our information would still be on the steem blockchain readily accessible.

So yes it's a good idea to build your business on the Steem blockchain, but you don't need to solely rely on Steemit. You could build your own app for your businesss that can access the steem blockchain for as long as the blockchain exists which could very well be longer than steemit.

As @nwjordan said, Steemit is not STEEM. You can learn more about that here: STEEM Is NOT Steemit. STEEM Is More Valuable Than Steemit.

This makes sense. I have been mentioning an "interest rate" of around 7% annually but I now see that the numbers say it is 1.33%. Thanks for working through the math and giving an accurate assessment of the amount of Steem Power we're given as a result of inflation, which is similar to "interest".

Yeah, I've incorrectly used that number also at times. It took a lot of work to get my head around all this so I could understand it and talk about it plainly.

Not that much, but it’s better than negative interest rates!

I have about 70 Steem Power and I'm getting about 0.004 SP added every day or about 0.120 per month. :D

To the moon!

Excellent information....it is help full all steemer

very helpfull post for me i wanna hold my SP thank you sir @lukestokes

Thanks for that very useful info, I am still trying to figure all of this out. Do you reccomend transferring Steem to Steem Power or Steem Dollars or should we keepnit as steem?

Power up to Steem Power so you can earn through this inflation and so your vote will be worth more to the authors you support. In addition, you'll earn more in curation rewards as well. Definitely power up. SBD is over priced and I sell it every time I get it. Hopefully we'll eventually bring it back down closer to $1.

Interesting! I here I am hoping the steem dollar keeps going up! That is how we are making some very much needed money because each steem dollar right now is worth $3 U.S. But you are saying in an ideal situation you would want it to be lower? That must be only for buying situations not selling that you desire this right?
and Thank you I will power up :)

Here's a very long discussion about the SBD peg. It's designed to be worth $1 USD and it's currently broken. People getting high payouts on their posts don't seem to mind, even if they are potentially losing out on a huge upside of having a stable coin many other exchanges and individuals in countries with hyperinflation would absolutely love to have (since Tether is not trustworthy).

I sell SBD to try and support the peg as best I can. As more SBD is printed, eventually, the price of SBD should go down (and hopefully the price of STEEM go up which increases the rewards pool all around).

Fascinating- raises spock eyebrow. I will read the article, thank you again for helping me to begin to understand how it all works. Ok, one last question sorry for so many, if the price of steem goes up eventually and sbd goes down should I still power up the steem? It seems to take forever to make that, I wouldnt want to waste it.
Thank you for being a great cheerleader >^.^<

Wow.. This makes a lot of sense... Anyone else would have jumbled this into a long boring and unintelligible article.. But here it is diluted and refined for our easy consumption. Haha

Thank you for saying so! It's a complicated topic with lots of maths and such, so it's easy to mess up. I was just confused myself because I was going off numbers on Steemdb that weren't right, so I had to get it straight in my own head.

Oh great. At least it's good someone actually explained that.

A new revelation! Thanks for the explanation, so now I have some material to dream about ;) Good night

You rock!

Again great info! And appreciate your support. Let's see if Steem holds 3.50 as forecast three days back..and updated..

@lukestokes thanks for posting this important information about steem power. I have scratched my head so many times before reading this post to understand it in detail. I would say you have covered so many important things in this single post.

I would rate this ‘POST OF THE DAY’ on steemit.


Hey its great i found you here hehehe,i finally made a post about your app today as i had promised you!
Thanks for the app.

Thanks @jaraumoses appreciate your efforts to make this shareable for others.

That explains the vest in its current position...was it the token (vest) that could have been mined before Steemit emerged?

Yes, early on there was mining, but not any more.

yes i know that. What i meant is whether the token that was being mined was vest and not steem...its just my curiosity speaking:P

In the very earliest days the mining paid STEEM and you had to power it up to get SP/VESTS. Then at some point (I believe when the first witness election took place) it switched to mining paying SP/VESTS.

Interesting...thanks for clarification...why is there any VESTS then if it anyway is just SP and vice versa and it has been like that since the very start of the Blockchain?

At the blockchain level there is only VESTS, not SP. The SP concept was introduced to make things easier to understand at the UI level. Opinions different on whether it actually succeeded.

Under the hood, it's all VESTS if we're talking about Steem Power, so yes, I think it was VESTS. Accounts that were mining did not get liquid STEEM as far as I know.

haha thus my curiosity has been satisfied...thanks:)

That's the kind of post that is going to be bookmarked because I will have to come back here several times I assume. ;)

Great that you create posts like that to make complicated stuff a bit more digestable.

Hey @lukestokes, I see it's being a long time you did a post on blockchain freedom. Do you have plans to continue the series? Would love to hear from you. Nice post by the way although I still don't get the gist clearly but I will find time to go over it again and hopefully understand SP and steem relationship

I've been thinking about that. I wonder if it makes sense to continue posting under a "brand" like that or what other details I should cover, but yeah, I've definitely been thinking about it. Thanks for asking.

It's like passive income people! :-)

We love our passive income. :)

Realistically, I understood about 10% of this, but that 10% was super helpful. I didn’t know that we get interest for holding SP. I thought that when people mentioned that they meant curation rewards. Thanks so much for explaining this all so well!

You can also get curation rewards as well. I got 70 Steem Power in the last week alone. There are great benefits to powering up.

Global competition is real life

I want to give a glance to all the people who are connected in global Marketing is a big force for a shareholder whether steem power or Steem but this should be a benchmark of success. A very meaningful view in @lukestoke A very important thing we know how to build a power to get through a power globang sea that can memenagkan a competition

What Opinions on the Current Steem?

Something very extraordinary happening in the current world of Steem and Being Something Outstanding All Investors gather to win A global market.

Global Competition Show us the stronger for and we will be the winners

We win together

See you on the top

I have no idea what you just said, sorry.

thank you so much sir @lukestokes its a gtreat advice for us

I hope we can work together. vote my blog and direct me reply @zuhrafriska

yess @lukestokes sir i igree with you
its great idea

This is very helpful Luke. The numbers really illustrate how important it is to get in, stay in, and stay committed to the community. How does delegation work?

I use Vessel for delegation. It essentially means someone else can vote with the power you give to them. When you want it back, it takes 7 full days to return (to prevent double voting) and during that time, no one gets to use the voting power.

Oh that's cool I wonder if I can rent some SP then, though buying would probably be easier and better in the long run.

Tanx for clearing my utmost Ignorance...

Interesting to know about this and a great way to keep on earning from Steem for those inactive accounts, hopefully they still have their passwords stored somewhere.

This was an informative read @lukestokes - I never actually knew that you technically earn based on your Steem Power and I strongly suspect that a lot of people don't know about this either. Seems to be a no-brainer to me that you throw every bit of STEEM you at at powering up your account, because not only are self-votes on your posts worth more, but you'll be earning the more Steem Power you have. I love this platform.

Please, don't self vote. I understand the desire, especially when you're just starting out, but so many here are just self voting to maximize their personal returns instead of thinking long-term about the value of the whole ecosystem. Our voting power is a gift to be given away in order to bring focus to the content we like most as part of the "Proof of Brain" system outlined in the white paper.

I don't self vote and haven't for months because my vote power is too valuable to me for building relationships, helping others, and feeling good about promoting content I like to increase the overall value of my tokens.

Everything that I read when starting out on Steemit seemed to suggest and promote that self-voting your posts was an accepted practice (especially when you're starting out), just not self-voting comments (which are oddly enough also posts in the context of the Steem blockchain). You are correct in that voting is meant to be distributed to align with the whitepaper, but the information out there is very misleading in that it promotes the exact opposite.

I have only been a member of Steemit for 4 months now and while I wouldn't say that self-voting my posts has offered anything substantially valuable, I regularly upvote those who comment on my posts and desperately try my hardest to find other posts to upvote. The problem is most of the content I encounter on Steemit is just plain garbage, especially a lot of the posts that end up on the trending sections. I rarely, if ever, upvote anything on the trending page.

I think up until a certain point that self-upvoting is harmless because votes, in the beginning, are not worth anything, they're sadly just dust. But once you reach the upper echelons of Steemit, that self-voting becomes more about making money and greed than it does benefit the platform.

I don't self vote and haven't for months because my vote power is too valuable

I can see why in your situation you wouldn't self-upvote, your SP is almost 72k plus the little over 6k you have been delegated. A vote from you at 100% is worth approximately $14.26, that is quite an influential vote right now, so it's admirable you choose not to self-upvote. If I had even 25% of the Steem Power that you had, I most certainly wouldn't self-vote either.

I am no longer going to self-vote either, even though a vote from me is worth nothing anyway, you're right in that it's more beneficial for the platform. I do however believe that the Steem platform has bigger issues that need to be solved, namely users like Haejin who are just making a mockery of this site and taking more than they deserve.

The platform needs more people like you, because honestly, I have struggled the past four months and although content quality is subjective, I like to think that I am contributing to this platform by publishing mostly decent content I am proud of.

There is nothing more painful than starting out on a platform, to see people uploading crappy photos of flowers and food, earning hundreds of dollars whilst those of us who invest time and effort into writing, researching and checking our content for spelling/grammatical and formatting errors waste away earning cents if we're lucky.

I still remember the excitement of earning my first $1, it was only a month or so ago. And I still remember the excitement the first time a high powered Steemit user upvoted a comment I wrote and I earned $12 from it, you don't see that happening too much. Most power users seem to vote with small votes as low as 1% voting power, so it was a great feeling.

I have fortunately been accepted into numerous curation groups who have recognised the quality of my writing and while I don't make a lot of money from it, I'm slowly working my way up the ladder. I want to help others and hope one day to get to the point where I have enough Steem Power to adopt and foster a new breed of Steemit authors who want to write quality content, and not upload the sheer garbage that dominates 95% of this platform currently, it's a travesty.

I think one thing we can agree on is, most of those who have broke into the high reputation and Steem Power ranks are not giving back as much as they should. There is still a huge imbalance on this site and I hope that Ned and Steemit Inc are working on solutions to penalise power users who don't give back as much as they should or perhaps even just incentivising participation.

Gave you a follow as well, because you're one of the good guys and your content is solid.

Sweet! A more in depth look at what you were saying on Twitter the other day.

It makes more sense now. I'm gonna need more than 75SP lol

That's my next project actually. I want to be over the fractional voting threshold by the end of the year. Gonna have to step up my steeming :)

Nice! That's a great gamification goal to have, I think. Good luck!

Hello my good friend, I know you do not know me and you are a very busy person, I do not want to bother you just write to thank you for trusting me and give me that support to achieve my dream of being able to donate new shoes to low income children, really many Thank you and God bless you.


Sorry for the inconvenience caused. @lukestokes

@lukestokes thank you again for the clarity. It has taken me a few times reading your well researched content to ‘get it’. It makes me smile when I follow people like yourself and you keep on producing gems like this.

a great calculation. I can see as well more growing SP as more I have collected. Thats a very good feature. Much better as any bank can give outside of the Blockchain @lukestokes thanks for the great info, now can see exactly how much become every day and year

Thanks for explaining this :) tipuvote! 0.5

Hi @lukestokes! You have received 0.5 SBD @tipU upvote from @cardboard !

@tipU pays 100% profit + 50% curation rewards to all investors, allows to automatically reinvest selected part of your payout and other cool stuff :)

If you want to delegate, write a comment: @tipU I want to delegate X SP - where X is the amount of SP, and @tipU will answer you with a link :)

Wow, thanks for breaking that down. Choosing to spend some time figuring out how this all operates before diving into it, this has been a good help. Thank you

Thanks a lot for this post, Luke, it really cleared almost every question I got about this!

Hey @lukestokes

Brilliantly put together, so much so I actually might have started to understand it! 😁

One quick question though. Does it work it out and increase your SP every block or does it change at a different point? Newbish question, sorry.

I'm loving the fact that you chose to not self vote even though it's worth a lot of Steem. We need more people like you, Sir. I don't understand why it's possible to self vote at all. I doesn't make any sense and goes against the whole philosophy of the place. Can it not just be removed?

You are getting a follow and an upvote from me because of all of the above and a thank you for your care of the system and your thoughts of well being for every participant.

Cheers, Gaz.

Thank for this information, i resteem you support me

I did not know that video from @dan-atstarlite, that is a really good video

the only thing I am still missing is where are the market maker fees? I know that they are mentioned in the original whitepaper but have not found anything else on them. Do you happen to know if the internal market pays out market maker fees or not and if so, where does that fee come from?

The market maker fees were removed, so they no longer exist.

Hi @lukestokes ! Its great to learn more about the inflation of Steem and how the vests value increases. I had an idea but this really helped to understand it even more! Thanks!

By the way, I finished the new series of 12 posts regarding promoting activities that even new users with a few steem can do, and can be potentially rewarded by the @steem-ambassador guild!

Series is now Complete - 12 Types of Promoting Activities that can be Potentially Rewarded by the @steem-ambassador Guild

Looking forward to your thoughts when you get the chance!

Regards, @gold84

Thanks for helping us making sense of it, this is not the most intuitive notion on the blockchain for sure!

Lol, this ain't relevant for red fishes. I basically earn nothing 😩🧐

This is very interesting @lukestokes. Now i know more. I can forward this to my chairman who is very much interested to invest in steem.

Wow Luke! I checked in with you at the perfect time! That meaning I got to see you "nerd out" in total Luke Stokes fashion! Trust me that's a compliment. Better yet, I understood most of it! Kudos to me ;)

Vests, I've been wondering what that's all about for a long time and now I get it. Thank you!

I'm sitting in my Dad's living room @yankee-statman, here in Tampa Bay Florida after six months traveling South America. Hope you haven been well and have a great day! -Dan

This might be more than my tiny brain can comprehend, but thank you for doing this work!

The only things I am confused about is what is a "witness" and what is "MVest"?

Thanks for all you do!

Thanks for this! It just answered a bit of a mystery as to why my SP seems to increase slightly even on days when I have been totally "idle."

Whereas I knew about the "inflation," I always had assumed (assumption IS the mother of fuck-up!) that the inflation simply flowed into the rewards and got distributed there.

Thankyou understands better enjoy your day

This is great, thanks you so much! I am just now starting to get into Steemit as a platform, and relative to other crypto based projects, there is a TON going on under the hood. This posts helps shed light on some of these intricacies. Thanks again.

I Agreed With you.

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