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Memo is generally a short sentence written down to help your memory or to leave a message to a person in same office/organization.

In Steem platform, it means a short message which can be attached to transferring Steem tokens. Payees are easily know the reason for payment by seeing attached memo. It was inherited from BitShares and is a great feature not implemented in major cryptocurrencies like Bitcoin, Litecoin and Ethereum.

Typical use cases

  • Description of payment reason.
  • Deposit to/from the exchange account.
  • Direct message.
  • Encrypted message
  • Request to upvote bots.
  • Spam

Transfers / payments

A Steem Exchange can give a user text field (does not require programming experience) allowing adding an optional Memo to transfers of STEEM:

Normal users should be careful and treat the message like a normal *Public* Steem post.

Direct message

Steemit currently does not have a direct messaging function like that in other social networking service such as Twitter and Facebook. Instead, we can use memo as direct message. In current version, transferring with 0 STEEM/SBD is not permitted, so at least 0.001 STEEM/SBD is required to send memo. It is about 0.1 cent. If there is a reply by the memo, the expenses will be get back to your account.

Encrypted memo

Memo can be encrypted by the memo private key. The encrypted memo can be read by only receiver, so it serves as private message.

To encrypt memo, login with memo key (or owner key/master password), and include # as a first character of your memo.[1] To read encrypted memo, memo private key (or owner key/master password) is required. When you logged in with posting key or active key, you cannot read encrypted memo. In that case, Steemit displays login to see memo in your wallet. Also displays random phrase as encrypted memo.

If you change master password, encrypted memos will not be readable. To protect from leaking by cracking, you can delete messages which are include critical information by changing password.

In September 19, 2017, third party wallet Vessel supported to encrypted memo.[2]

When you deposit to Bittrex, you can encrypt memo to hide your Bittrex address.[2]


Memo is often used for spam and fraud. Even if there is temptation like "send 1 SBD to me, and you'll get $2 worth upvote", you should never send it. There is also a case to request the SBD as fee for resteem your posts. Sometimes you may be guided to a phishing site.[3]

Steemian @netuoso has announced daily top 25 users who have large amount of bytes of memo they sent. [4] Many of users in the lists are not abuser, but almost memo spammers will be included in them.


  1. How to encrypt a memo when transferring Steem Written by @dantheman on Steemit, October 10, 2016
  2. 2.0 2.1 Vessel 0.0.7 - Account Creation + Encrypted Memos (Bittrex) Written by @jesta on Steemit, September 19, 2017.
  3. SCAM ALERT and WHITE HAT COUNTER-STRIKE Written by @arcange on Steemit, October 10, 2017
  4. Top 25 Users That Sent Messages In Transfers Via Memos for 2017-10-11 Written by @netuoso on Steemit, October 11, 2017


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