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 https://steemd.com 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)
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.
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.