Steem has several types of tokens. Steem, Steem Dollars, and Steem Power (a denomination of VESTS).
When you are paid on the website Steemit, you are paid 50% in STEEM Power, and 50% in STEEM Dollars. Example: If you earn $200 on a post, you will get $100 STEEM Dollars, and 50 STEEM Power (assuming STEEM Power is worth $2 each, at the current time).
It's also possible to receive STEEM tokens through other means, such as VESTS through mining, or transferring STEEM Dollars to someone via STEEM Memo.
Steem is the standard cryptocurrency tradable on various exchanges. It's value can fluctuate just like any other coin.
VESTS (Steem Power)
VESTS are a type of token given to miners, witnesses and content creators/curators. They are denominated as Steem Power on the website Steemit.
They are non-liquid, thus must be "powered down" before being able to trade them. Powering down Steem Power (VESTS) takes 3 months, and is paid out as 13 weekly payments. The power down rate will stay the same if you earn more STEEM Power while powering down, thus it's recommended to re-power down after earning a large amount of fresh STEEM Power.
STEEM Power gains interest over time, and usually gains interest faster than the power down rate, thus you will still be earning interest while powering down.
SBD (Steem Dollars)
Steem dollars are a currency which is pegged to the US Dollar. They can be converted on Steemit into STEEM Power (powering up), or into STEEM (easily tradable on various exchanges).
- Steemit : https://steemit.com
- Steem.io : https://steem.io
- Steemithelp.net : Basic concepts in the Steemit ecosystem Retrieved in March, 8, 2017.
- @thecryptofiend : The Missing FAQ - A Beginners Guide To Using Steemit September 2016
- @charles.ponzi : Understanding the economic engine that Steem, Steem Dollars, and Steem Power is composed of in <12 min February 2017.
- @transhuman : Steem Is Smartmoney... Let's Change The Narrative To How It Should Be March 2017.
- @steemitguide : Steemit Financial Instruments: Steem, Steem Power & Steem Dollar Explained May, 20th, 2017.
- @sykochica : Answering common questions - Steem - Steem Power - Steem Dollars and what should I do with them May 2017
- Craig Grant : Dan Larimer talks about STEEM blockchain and Steemit Edition of the video interview with Dan Larimer hosted by Alex Sterk. Edited (only parts about Steemit) by Craig Grant (@craig-grant) and published in 5/18/2017
- Andrew Levine YouTube Channel : Steemit 101 - Steem, Steem Dollars, and Steem Power Video by Andrew Levine, published in 7/15/2016
- CoinDesk : Steemit Bridges Blockchain and Social Media, But How Does It Work? Written by Jacob Donnelly (@jaycodon), published in 8/13/2016
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If you're already a steemian you can be rewarded with steem, see how in @steemcenterwiki.