Moving forward I see STEEM more as a utility token that you need to transact on the network and that will be the main trading pair for SMT's/Steem Engine tokens than anything else.
But for now, many people still see it as the token they can earn making content on Steemit.com.
Regardless of HF21, STEEM would always be harder to earn in the future than it is today.
The new inflation goes down every year with 0,5% and with more and more people competing over a reward pool with less STEEM in it it's easy to see that STEEM will be harder to earn moving forward in time no matter what.
But HF21 will accelerate this process.
The change in reward curve will mean that every content creator will need an initial amount of votes (with SP) to be eligible for rewards.
If you don't have the SP to do that yourself you will need to bring enough value to Steem to attract the upvotes of those that have it.
If you are a big content creator from outside of STEEM that can bring a lot of eyes to Steem this will be easy. If you are just starting out making content than it will be very hard.
With the change in curation rewards going to 50/50 it will also be easier for investors to upvote the content of the people that bring a good value proposition with them (either followers or another form of bringing in revenue). They will get a decent return under HF21 for upvoting the content that will bring the most value to Steem.
I think the time of earning STEEM blogging about your cat is coming to an end (unless you are Beyonce, and you have a cat). It will require a lot more effort.
I talk about HF21 freely in my vlog.
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