Journal Paper: “Analysis of Witnesses in the Steem Blockchain”

Barbara Guidi, Andrea Michienzi, & Laura Ricci
Università di Pisa, Italy

Mobile Networks and Applications (2021)


Online Social Networking platforms (OSNs) have become part of people’s everyday life and their usage covers the deep-rooted need for communication among humans. In recent years, as people are questioning more and more OSN service providers, a new generation of proposals, based on blockchain became very popular thanks to the ethics adopted by these platforms.

Steemit is the most important blockchain-based social networking site, which integrates, as main novelty an economic layer to the social media service. Steemit is implemented on top of Steem which, as in other blockchains, awards miners of the blocks with cryptocurrency. Steem miners, called witnesses, are not chosen based on the solution of a mathematical problem, as in Proof of Work-based systems, but must be voted by other users.

In this work, we decide to study the witnesses on Steem and their contribution to the social platform Steemit, and their social impact. We performed a set of analyses to shred light concerning their behavior and to understand how they are socially perceived by other users. Analyses show an important social impact but, at the same time, some of them have a negative social impact. Their discussion is polarized towards content concerning Steem, Steemit, witnesses, and other platforms hosted on Steam.

Keywords: Blockchain social media, Online social networks, Steem, Steemit, Blockchain