Here's why your potential payouts are going down

in #steemit6 years ago

When Hard Fork took place on June 20, we were all very enthusiastic about our potential payouts and the value of our votes. Since then you have probably noticed your vote is worth less and your potential payouts are decreasing. You may be wondering why. The price of Steem is a bit lower. That's one factor, but there's more.
As I hear many questions about this issue I would like to explain how the potential payouts are calculated.


How are payouts calculated?

To calculate a potential payout there are 4 important factors:

  • -1-. First, of course, the price of Steem. A higher Steem prices means higher payouts. It's that simple.
  • -2-. The second factor is the number of rshares you receive on your post. The number of rshares is calculated on each upvote with a formula using the Vesting Shares (Steem Power) of the voter, the weight of the vote and the voting power of the voter. In short: If a whale gives you an upvote, your post receive much more rshares than when a minnow upvotes your post.
  • -3-. The third factor is the reward pool (reward_balance). This is the amount of Steem available to be distributed among all authors and curators.
  • -4-. And finally the total amount of 'rshares' added to all other posts. (recent_claims)

Huh? 'reward_balance' and 'recent_claims'? What's that?

You can search on for 'reward_balance' and 'recent_claims' to find the current values of these important factors to calculate a payout. If you do this again a few hours later you notice that 'recent_claims' is currently increasing while 'reward_balance' is decreasing. This is not a good thing for our potential payouts.

At this moment the reward pool is filled with 1,097,732 STEEM. This amount will be equally distributed among 160,003,173,250,864,636 rshares (recent_claims).

1,097,732 STEEM / 160,003,173 Billion rshares = 0.00686 STEEM for every 1 Billion rshares.

Let's say the reward pool stays the same, but 'recent_claims' increases. Then the amount of STEEM your receive per 1 Billion rshares decreases. So even if the reward pool and the price of Steem remains the same, your potential payouts can change. It depends on how much the whales vote on other posts than yours. If they wouldn't vote at all, 'recent_claims' would decrease, which would increase your potential payout. (unless a whale would vote on your post)

The 'experiment'

That's exactly what happened during the so called 'Whales-no-voting experiment'.
A few months ago, the whales @abit and @smooth decided to start an experiment. They stopped upvoting for a while and began to downvote other whales if they voted with too much rshares. The whales stopped voting, whereby the 'recent_claims' decreased. This was a shift in power from the whales to the minnows. Since the whales missed a huge amount of curation rewards, I think we should be grateful for this experiment.

Hard Fork 19

When Steem forked to version 0.19.0 the 'whales-no-voting experiment' came to an end. The whales have started upvoting again which now greatly increases the 'recent_claims'. More rshares are added to 'recent_claims' causing the rshares you received on your posts to be worth less. Besides the decreasing reward pool, this is the main reason for the decline in your potential payouts. The small drop in the price of Steem is only a small factor.

Now what?

In the coming days and maybe even weeks I think we can expect to see the 'recent_claims' to increase more while the reward pool decreases further. The reward pool has to find a new balance where the amount of Steem going in each day will be equal to the amount of Steem going out each day. I have no clue how long this will take. If anyone can explain this to me, please be my guest :)

I hope this post was helpful to understand why your potential payouts are going down. Please share this post when you hear this question being asked.

¯\___(ツ)____/¯ Don't miss out on my next post! Follow me @penguinpablo

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I do not want things to be too balanced. I love whales and I want to be a whale. I love capitalism and money and profits and competition. If I am better, I want more money than others. I do not like it if everything is equal. Some will make a lot of money and some will be very poor. I want people to be poor and some to be very rich. Maybe, we will find more balance between shares and money. But I am not too sure. But maybe we should buy a lot of Steem crypto now and maybe Steem will rise in value in the next ten years by ten to one hundred times its current value right now.

If we don't have some kind of balance then Steemit can't grow and attract new users. At only 200,000 users the project will fail without a significant upsurge.

If earning STEEM for authoring and curating content is what initially attracts us to the platform and that ability to earn is only in the hands of a few whales, then how can the ecosystem thrive? Then it just becomes a centralized hierarchy with little incentive to join it over other social networks that are far more advanced in nearly every other way.

Being around 1 year old Steemit needs to work out its kinks in order to grow and bring on new users. That means balancing the system

First and foremost I think it's important for people to have an understanding of what rewards actually equate to on this platform. It's easy to get distracted by the trending page and think that literally anyone can do that, but five seconds of thought on that idea should dismiss it from your mind. If your interest is in coming somewhere to author and curate where you won't have to worry about being censored, then this is the place for you. If you're here to earn $1,000 a day and you have nary a following anywhere else to support you, you might want to adjust your expectations.

Secondly, as time goes on (and as HF19 has demonstrated) voting power and investment moves away from the majority stakeholders. Yes, it's still intensely concentrated, but power has been steadily and consistently shifting away from the whales to the minnows and dolphins. It's working, albeit slower than some people would like.

Well said, and also encouraging for those that are here for the right reasons.
If you are here just to get rich quick, might want to adjust. Welcome all long haulers!

That's really what it's come down to in my experience. Especially with the uptick in Steem prices recently, there has been a lot of onboarding people (just like we saw last year) that are here to make a quick buck. Some of them get lucky, but most realize that earning money here either requires extraordinary luck, or a lot of hard work. Sure this loses us some folks, but the ones that stay understand the beauty of the platform, and those are the people I want here. :D

I don't think it's about getting rich. It's about understanding what is initially sparking people's interest to join Steemit. Consider the alternative social network options first where all of your friends are, where features are fully fleshed out TODAY. Something has to provide an incentive to join Steemit and it can't just be that it's a new social network.

Feature wise, today, Steemit is similar to what Live Journal was back in the early 2000's. And that's absolutely cool. But, as such, it is competing in a space with options that are more complete, where friends and families are already entrenched.

To start the process of building a new network on a new platform has to come with an incentive because we've seen way too many platforms come up in the past ten years trying to compete without a true value proposition. Being just another "me-too" service they just couldn't get that network effect to work for them and died out. There has to be something unique to catch one's attention to dive in.

With Steemit, I don't know about you, but I was compelled by the idea that it's not ad driven and authors and curators are compensated for the effort they put in. Of course content is great, but to discover that required me to initially have some reason to go through the exploration process.

Now once a user joins and begins exploring they may begin to see that the community is what is keeping them there, which is the case for me, because the content is incredibly unique and rich, with an active and supportive group of people.

Once Steemit reaches a critical mass and the features on the service grow to match other competing platforms perhaps it won't matter as much, and the draw will just be it's such a great place to be.

But to ask a friend or relative to join today, there has to be something compelling or I'll just get the standard response of "Another social network? No thanks." Maybe that's ok for some people on Steemit, but it's not going to help us grow it further.

I'd love to know what you think about how to grow the service and convince others to join so that the user base explodes and we can reach the masses.

Well the big draw for me and a lot of the people I onboarded initially was the lack of censorship. Unlike Facebook and other places where content could be deleted wholesale, the blockchain is forever. Sure, downvotes can take away rewards and reduce visibility, but it's all there. Always will be. Unfortunately, the level of downvoting by certain parties along political lines drove most of those folks away.

Integrating a messenger function into the UI, rather than redirecting to chat via the drop-down menu, would be a tremendous boon. I've been talking about it for almost a year now, and it still doesn't seem to be a point of concern. That, on its own, would go a very long way to making Steemit more usable. Marketplace-wise, I don't think there's much the devs can do. We have a very active app community here bootstrapping Steem; that will come with wider adoption.

The point I was making about "getting rich" was it was the same tidal wave of interest that sparked the first wave of widespread adoption in 2016 that we witnessed this year. I haven't looked at it, but I'm certain as the price of Steem stabilizes, and voting patterns normalize again after HF19, we'll see a large number of inactive accounts again. Likely not as bad as before, but I'm expecting that. It's an effect of the "get rich quick" mindset that a fair number of people joining here have.

Spot On @anarcho-adrei Spot On

I really like how you laid it out here. 100% Agree

After reading your post I absolutely agree with you that If you are here to make your fortune then perhaps you should seek another avenue. I am here because I am tired of FB sensoring and I like to read, write and respond to true emotions.

I agree, balance.
So far I have met MANY people, and From all over the world.
Steem has the possibilities to become much better, but those whom are here just to get rich, gathering a following of hundreds, that just upvote each other without reading anything in the first 5-10 seconds is disheartening to those who are really putting in great work and posts.


I dont see what you are saying happening. I see all the power based on stats ive seen in the hands of .005 % of total. Isnt that the same ole top down program. That also means there is still a sort of regulation of content also based on the controlling few by flagging content and other means. Sorry but the platform has a history of being not so clear and understandable . I am not holding my breath that it will self correct. Pay what you want for the coins but the power needs to be equalised. Majority rules!

It's as if it's baked into the algos (plural of algorithm, not meaning plural as the personification of sorrows and griefs [which are there represented as the daughters of Eris, Greek goddess of strife. Algos in Greek is a neuter noun literally meaning "pain"]).....
Imagine if you will. Fraud Inherent in the System (and hardly anybody sees it, but a few do....).
~ You can set up two different types of Networks, a bot or a human one.
~ Each Network should consist of a set of seven Accounts.
~ You can have 7, 14, 21, or 28 (and so on) Accounts, logisticaly each set of seven would be considered it's own Network.
~ Concentrate each Account on a specialty target - usually blogs about how great the steem platform is, cryptocurrencies, and the markets themselves. Each Network should also focus on recruitment, new user registration (the bread & butter), & encouraging mass investing into the steem system. Best results when your Market is the majority of people who basicly have no clue about finance, marketing, or running a wallet (who treat steemit like facebook and might or might not figure out the markets later).
~ A Network Schedule would be set, most probably in variants of 7 as well.
~ All 7 days of a week each Account would refrain from upvoting or flagging anything, save for one scheduled Account (acct. 1 on Monday, 2 on Tuesday....). ~ Though doing as little upvoting as possible, the other 6 Accounts would primarily comment/engage only with other Accounts in any other of your Networks.
~ The scheduled Account for it's particularly scheduled day would follow the following script:
  1. Allocate the first 72-100% of 100% of your voting power to upvoting your own content. No brainer.
  2. Allocate the next 25- 72% of 100% voting power to upvoting content of other Accounts in your Networks.
  3. Allocate 11-25% of 100% voting power to flagging (this metric can be applied further up or down the allocation chain depending on the value of the post/comment flagging).
  4. Allocate 4-11% of 100% voting power to upvoting Red Rish/Minnow accounts outside of your Network.
  5. When voting power reaches 0-4% (the second an upvote's value is nearing $0.01), discontinue upvoting and let it recharge for the next 6 days.
    ~ Account posting should be limited to 4 per day (remember, any posts after 5 in a 24 hour period exponetially decreases the payout value of all posts in that period).
    ~ The only day any Account should do any active upvoting would be only on it's scheduled upvoting day.
    ~ Occasional flagging of high value content is encouraged to maximize the rewards pool for your Network's benefit. Being careful not to over-use it, most of the time it may even go un-noticed in the longer voting lists. Though not exactly "flying under the radar", maximizing affect in relation to rewards pool is to flag posts/comments who's value are less than your vote's value, essentially only returning all those rewards-from-others to the rewards pool in exchange for your 2% voting power....
    The Witnesses make their pile, anyone running this set-up makes a pile, and a little bit of scraps left for the rest (just enough to keep the masses chasing it).

    Battle of the Bots

    Not even a good, gentle bot can stand up against a bad, malicious Network.

I agree, crypto lends itself to capitalism more so than socialism/communism.

Are you opposed to everyone being rich?

if everybody is rich, then nobody is rich

If everyone is rich no one is poor

but isn't rich :P, if everybody is rich, everybody has the same - and is therefor not rich -just average
i would prefer nobody is poor, as hard workers have to get rewarded (like: being superrich)

but i guess we are thinking in the same direction, and i definatly agree with you

I'd say the best world would be one where hard/good work is still recompensed by said workers being richer than others, but where the poor aren't lacking in housing or food (it's just very "poor" compared to the rich).

that's a world i would like to live in!

Yes. Where perhaps it's about levels of rich'ness based on having a Rich regard for all life here on our planet.

Rich / poor divide reflects a collective cognitive dissonance in my opinion.

But what would be done with people who can't work hard because they're ill or disabled? Are they just unfortunate because they're on the short side of the stick?

i kind of feel the same. It keeps us motivated @joeyarnoldvn

I agree. Its FORCES me to produce and make better content!!! I have no problem with capitalist philosophy!!!!

Very helpful thank you for explaining!

jerry ur damn video got my into steem, i put almost 30k just like u in it already, might have to put another 100k in.

Thanks, so well explained!

Yes this is an incredibly useful post.
I myself have not noticed a drop because I have no way of gauging if my payments are going up or down over the longterm.

is there a tool that provides this function?

Thank you so much for answering so many of my questions.

Upvoted and resteemed

You can check how much your own upvote is worth on I use this as an indicator.

Yeah I love SteemNow and it just stays open in my browser all day long so I can keep track of voting power and what is going on. It's really the ultimate tool and you did a great job making it. I do have one request: There is currently no easy way to find when someone mentions your user name on steemit. Could this be added? Still, I love your app. It's fantastic!

Thank you, good to hear :)
There is currently not an easy was to retrieve mentions from the blockchain for as far as I know. Maybe later... Thanks for your suggestion anyway.

Same here, it has become the most useful tool so far :)

Thank you for the share this tool is amazing!

Great tool. I love it.

WOW!!! Cut and Dry. Thank you so much for this. I have realized a huge change in the Downtrend... Account balance is Lower and Rewards are much much lower... That few day window things seem to be greatly improved, Now the grass does not seem as green.

Thank you very much!!

What are your thoughts on Powering Down?

me personally am just rying to build up my steempower and wont be powering down for quite some time.

Thanks Man' for your opinion. I want to build it up so when the Masses finally catch on this will be epic.

Yes building up now is the best strategy.
Get your sunglasses ready, I think future is incredibly bright.

Best post on explaining all this!!!

great explanation. and thx for

That explains a lot and the comments below make it very clear that there needs to be balance ourelse the steemit community will be crushed under it's own greedy weight.

thank you for getting straight to the point and proving the facts. good blog. I was wondering why they were going down

That was an incredibly well done post. I was not really sure how HF19 changed things, but now I feel like I have a much better understanding. Thank you!

Great explanation!! I've been told that it will likely reach a new equilibrium within a few weeks.

Care to elaborate?

The post does a good job describing the situation. The rewards payouts are recalibrating to the increase in voting activity, as well as the linear rewards formula. There was an initial spike in payouts right after the HF due to the changes, which caused it to start paying rewards from the rewards pool at a faster rate than they were being replenished. I've been told that it is expected to reach an equilibrium point within a few weeks, at which point the rewards payouts should be adjusted to the new level of voting activity and rewards formula.

Yes, thank you, but I was asking whether you have insight on whether they will go up or down. :D

At equilibrium, the total amount of rewards paid out should equal the inflation rate. If we assume that prior to the HF they were at equilibrium (which I am not 100% sure we were) then there should be no net change in total reward payouts after things settle.

What will change is the distribution of rewards. It depends on voting behavior, but most likely authors that were receiving high payouts pre-HF will be getting less, and authors that were receiving lower payouts pre-HF will be getting more. It is obviously an oversimplification which doesn't address all the scenarios, but that is the basic idea of how it should work based on the new formula.

If I still maintain dollar upvotes at 100%, I will still be amazed. I never thought I would achieve that. I was quite excited about the dimes I was giving out pre-HF19!

Yeah I have been trying to work out how it will all play out with the HF and still only be 9.5% inflation a year.

Back of envelope calculations with everyone voting 100% every 5 days seems to break that number...

@penguinpablo i really appreciate the breakdown of how the payouts are calculated. It's obvious the payouts are still a work in progress however I really like this platform hands down over FB amd other sensored social media platforms.
Again thanks for the info and would if you grt more details on this in a future followup.


Well that's a real fork in the ass

your name + your comment.. perfect lol

Lol thanks. This fork has left me starving .

you deserve an upvote for that :)

lol thanks

When the HF hit, I knew that the sky-high levels of payouts were unsustainable. Your article helps put, in plain words, the mechanism of that unsustainability.

Well, that is quite good in term of explanation and I hope we do get a balance in reward pool and reward claims after 1 month cycle. Lets hope for better days ahead.

This comment has received a 0.08 % upvote from @booster thanks to: @cryptokraze.

Thanks @penguinpablo. This really helps me understand why my payout went from about $78 to $48. It didn't make sense to me that it could be just the price of Steem because Steem hasn't gone down by 50%. It will be interesting to see where we find the balance. And I hope we find a happy place soon!

Thank you for explaining it. Unfortunately saw a post go from $350+ to nearly $200, but oh well :) Still good money!

Yup, mine went down from $440 to under $240. Still very good money 😊

I saw my posts go from $5 to $2.85 much more disappointing. How will I buy my crack ?

I've translated your post to Russian language. Maybe for some of your followers would be interesting

Thank you :)

You're welcome

Somebody should bring this info to RU community

@reggaemuffin got you a 100.0% @minnowbooster upvote, nice!

So this is the reason why vote value of every user is decreasing ?

Very interesting and explained in a good and easy understandable way. Brilliant! 👌

It's also worth pointing out that the average price of steem calculated in dollars is based off the Bitcoin price as well. So if you see your payout dropping it is likely due to either the steem price dropping or alternatively the actual Bitcoin price dropping as well because many alt cryptocurrencies are pegged to the value of Bitcoin.

So for instance because of poloniex's trouble and so on with the steem price bumping up and down I've seen my payout change quite a bit and that happened with the bitcoin price dropping as well but since then both have gone back up and my payout is almost back to where it was when I first got the upvotes.

That's right!
If Bitcoin splits in August (you never know) it will have a huge impact on the price of Bitcoin and that will impact the price of Steem as well. Let's hope for the best...

Question about "the experiment".

When the whales voted less, the minnows increased their power. But the total amount of rewards distributed, it was reduced, right?

Let´s phrase it in a different way. The rewards that are distributed are always the same, regardless of how much votes there are?

That's a good question.
The total rewards that are distributed on a daily basis are not always the same. It depends on the amount of STEEM in the reward pool. The amount of Steem that is added daily to the reward pool is always the same. Although, almost the same. It is about 9.5% of the virtual STEEM supply per year, but that percentage is slowly decreasing to 1% in the next 20 years.


And this dayly increase is distributed one way or another, or it might be rolled over if there is not enough voting?

It is being distributed anyway. If nobody votes except one, then the whole pool would go to that one post :)

So if the ammount of steem is ever decreasing.
The reward will also continue to decline?
That would be sad.

Yep, this is probably gonna be the most valuable post today. I haven't seen a better explanation yet

Also worth pointing out that not only did the experiment end, but the voting power change came into effect: accounts were allowed to allocate 4x more rshares per vote. This latter change should be self-correcting because the total amount of voting power each account gets is unchanged.

How it plays with the "experiment" ending I do not know.

Excellent explanation! Thanks for that!

What I've noticed, too, is that the amount of votes per article is decreasing significantly. It seems that people are voting less in general. Before HF19 I always received around 200+ votes per article (sometimes even 300) now they are at around 80 per article. Do you think that is due to the fact that we have only 10*100% votes per day now and the majority of big votes are given to a small group of successful players (trending content)? Another reason might be the fact that a lot of people have started upvoting their own posts since this has become quite lucrative now.
Before HF19 my posts were worth around $200, now I don't even reach $100. That hurts quite a bit :-)))

Interesting times though...

Interesting times indeed :)
I've noticed that too. Since HF19 the daily number of posts has risen sharply, but the number of votes stayed the same. Here are my statistics:

I'm not sure about the cause. I think it's due to both of the reasons you mentioned.

Oh these statistics are simply awesome, thanks for sharing the link!!!

Thank you for this explanation. Yesterday I wrote my observation on this. Not that I won't promote my post, but would be great to see your opinion on my observation and where I might be wrong. I also offer a solution, I would appreciate if you could share your opinion how realistic it is. If you don't have time for that its ok. Thanks again for sharing your knowledge.

This post received a 0.7% upvote from @randowhale thanks to @penguinpablo! For more information, click here!

Hey Pablo.
I have already created the Spanish translation of your post here.
Thank you.

Thank you for bringing this info to the Spanish community :)

Thank you for explaining these doubts.

It sounds like the dip in rewards should level off if/when the whales get back into a regular voting pattern, although I suppose they will take an increasingly large share of the pie until that happens. That being said, the overall growth of Steem contributes to inflation of the overall pie so perhaps we'll reach an equilibrium once enough users jump on board?

Indeed a very useful post, thanks for sharing.
I havent noticed that big difference but im a really small minnow so that's why I guess.

Does anyone know about
I understand they pay content creators in crypto too...

I've heard about it, it seems to be getting some buzz. I'll look into it for sure.

Are you sure that whales have started voting again?

A great explanation.
A solution has to be found for the pursuing problem because reward share is decreasing.

With a larger influx of users, it can also dilute the rewards further. Have to do a little more research to see if that is the case

rshares would dilute, but scarcity of steem would likely increase along with the valuation. there may be lags of course.

Solid point and very true. We're likely facing that kind of lag right at this moment. Then again, STEEM did just jump around 10x within a couple months so perhaps the lag is on the other side where we should be earning less than we were earlier :)

hmm. i just mortgaged my house, wife and children (even my dogs) to put every last penny into steem. too soon? :P

Is that all? If you still own a pair of underwear you just haven't gone far enough :D

fig leaves count? the tree is mortgaged too.

This helps to explain a lot. I knew itt had little to do with price. thanks for info

Congratulations @penguinpablo!
Your post was mentioned in my hit parade in the following category:

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It's bit discouraging that the more I put rewards into my account the more the value goes down because someone else is making huge withdrawals from the pool. Needs getting used to. the same amount of tokens is there but the value of them is decreasing because other people are cashing in. The best way to balance that out is to give the masses of minnows more weight. Otherwise the whales drain the pool when they dive in. That kind of stinks. When people see how unbalanced the reward system is they will exodus. If a few people want to volunteer their skills for an uncensored platform that is fine. I'm sure there are a handful of people who will be okay with that. But that is hardly going to inspire growth.

same here

Thanks for the clarification now it became clear, and then I saw that I had reduced payments in all posts.

Nice explanation. I was ecstatic in the days immediately following the hard fork; I could give someone a whole $25 or so with a 100% upvote; I felt like a mini whale myself. But now that amount has been cut in half and continues to decline, which is disappointing. I can only imagine how much more disappointing it must be for minnows, where every penny counts. But on the other hand, the whales have a right to vote and enjoy the platform just like everyone else. I just hope we find a happy equilibrium soon before the general mood starts getting negative again!

Wow, this is indeed a very vital and useful information which needs the attention of every newby or old time users to adhere to. I must say that I really derived a lot from this, thank you once again for sharing this piece of information to us all.

interesting read, was wondering about that (although it wasn't a big change for me ;) )

thanks for this. i was really wondering what was happening to all my payouts. for posts and even comments all dropping! i thought it was just steem price initially, but i guess not. after reading your post

Thank you I was looking for this! Upvoted and followed! Cheers buddy! =)

Very interesting, I had always thought it was just the value of steem over a 3.5 moving average that determined payout amount.

I thought the same!!

I have had this question for days now. Many thanks for providing me with a viable answer. Upvoted and resteemed, as many more would benefit form it!

Thanks for explanation , i 'm new one on steemit and of course try to learn everything

Good info in the post. My concern is if the average user doesn't have much of a chance of earning, adoption will drop quickly. A lot of people are attracted to the stories of $1500 article rewards, but achieving that now is an extreme outlier now with the dilution of rewards.

I think the typical behavior you'll see is that new users try out the platform, maybe stick with it for 5-10 posts, and then decide if it's worth their time or monetary investment. In the past year, earning just a few bucks here and there motivated people to continue with the platform. Most users now are barely seeing 5 cents per post, so I think the both attrition and slowing of new users are huge risks right now.

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