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Do Ethereums erc20 tokens work in much the same way that Steems SMTs will work?
Apologies if this is a dumb question as Im still trying to get my head around SMTs and their impact

Yes. They're the same in the sense that they both allow anyone to create and launch arbitrary tokens. As far as purpose goes, both SMTs and ERC-20 Tokens can be used to raise funds through an ICO, build DApps, and even reward users. However, their main difference lies in the fact that Smart Media Tokens (SMTs) are tailored specifically to tokenize publishing and online content-related businesses, communities and platforms, while ERC-20 Tokens are more general-use type of Tokens.

It's important to note that the Steem Blockchain is what one would describe as an application-specific blockchain, while Ethereum is an application-general blockchain. This means that SMTs are a specialized token best-suited for publishers, content creators, and others involved in online content and communities, whereas ERC-20 Tokens are more general-purpose tokens. This is an important distinction because as the SMT White Paper notes, throughout the history of software and hardware development, "specialized systems have the potential to outperform generalized systems".  

For example, while both can be used to reward users, the way SMTs do so allows content businesses to align the interests of the founders and creators of the site with their users. While with ERC-20 Tokens, most of the benefits are usually limited to the founders. That's because unlike ERC-20 Tokens, SMTs can be used to create a rewards pool that continuously generates new tokens to incentivize and reward content creation and curation and at the same time distribute the tokens in the reward pool based on "upvotes" and "likes"-based algorithms. This is different from the "founders first" method of token distribution in ERC-20 Tokens and other blockchains that do not have 'Proof-of-Brain' properties like Steem. Thus, in a way, SMTs are smarter and more social than ERC-20 Tokens. 

Another important point of difference between the two is that SMTs will have Content Management System (CMS) Primitives. What this means is that because SMTs will have both generic data and content-management specific data structures (i.e. Account Names, Posts, Comments, Votes and Account Balance) working in tandem, there is no need to create a second layer database on top of the blockchain to tokenize a content business, which would be needed in an ERC-20 Token. Again, this goes back to Steem's application-specific nature and Ethereum's general-purpose usage. 

There are actually a lot more differences between the two. However, all these differences mostly boil down to the fact that SMTs are specialized tokens, while ERC-20 Tokens are generalized tokens. Steemit Inc. actually released a White Paper for SMTs that I'll link to below if you want to know more about it.

Hope this helps.


  1. Introducing Smart Media Tokens. https://smt.steem.com/
  2. Smart Media Tokens White Paper. file:///Users/denise/Downloads/smt-whitepaper-nov-3-2018.pdf
  3. Steem vs. Ethereum: A Comparative Guide. https://steempeak.com/steem/@bitcoin-journal/steem-vs-ethereum-a-comparative-guide

They are similar but they have some major differences. 

Erc20 token contracts are coded with solidity and they are immutable. SMT's as far as I know won't be immutable. Which means SMT tokens will be less decentralized than Ethereum based tokens. 

The main use of SMT tokens would be to add an incentive layer on websites and bring token economy to content creation ecosystem. Ethereum based tokens are generally used for raising ICO funds. 

So, the two have different uses. Mistakes are not tolerated in Erc20 token contracts. But mistakes will be somewhat tolerated in the Steem based SMT contracts. SMT tokens can add inflation system to them as well. 

A better comparison of SMT is with EOS based tokens. They are much more similar and they are both graphene based blockchains.

1 Comment

Yes, they are similar in principle. SMTs are tokens (=cryptocurrencies without a blockchain of their own) on the Steem blockchain and ERC20 tokens are tokens on the Ethereum blockchain. ERC20 tokens are created, released and sold using user-defined smart contracts. Smart contracts are programs than the Ethereum virtual machine runs. The Ethereum virtual machine (EVM) is an environment in which to execute programs where each instruction is run in lock-step in each of the Ethereum blockchain nodes. The EVM can run any programs. Because the Steem blockchain has no virtual machine it has no smart contracts, either. Instead, SMTs are created via a user interface which requires no programming skills. It's designed to be a turnkey operation ready to be deployed by anyone. 


Yes but smts of steem has proof of brain coded into it making it more advanced in my opinion even better it is built on a scalable freemium blockchain with zero transaction fees compared to the crazy gas fees of ether..


Hi @nathen007. 100% erc20 tokens are on the Eterium block chain backed by Etherium. SMT's are on the Steem block chain backed by Steem.

There is no difference.