STEEM is the native token and unit of account of the Steem blockchain. STEEM can be bought on exchanges, earned through Proof-Of-Brain by generating value on the network, earned by becoming a witness or by receiving an interest rate on vested STEEM tokens.
STEEM tokens are generated at a fixed rate of one block every three seconds. These tokens get distributed to various user accounts in the system based on the defined rules of the blockchain. These users, such as developers, authors, witnesses, and curators, compete in specialized ways for these tokens.
The rate that new tokens are generated was set at 9.5% per year starting in December 2016 and decreases at a rate of 0.01% every 250,000 blocks, or about 0.5% per year. The inflation will continue decreasing at this rate until it reaches 0.95%, after a period of approximately 20.5 years.
STEEM can serve multiple functions depending on how it is used in the system. It can be transferred easily between users. If the token is vested into Steem Power, it will give the holder:
STEEM can also be exchanged for Steem-Backed Dollars which is a financial instrument that holds the value of at least 1 USD.