I just made $222 for writing on the blockchain. This is just the beginning.
Yesterday, I sent $222 to my bank account. I earned it for my writing, thanks blockchain technology. This is just the beginning.
I’ve been a self-employed independent creator for 10 years. My posts here on Medium have been viewed probably a million times, collectively providing years of entertainment and intellectual engagement to readers.
Except for a few commissioned posts, I haven’t earned a dime for that writing. That’s for thousands of hours of work.
Until now, the writing itself hasn’t made money. Instead, it’s supposed to be a marketing strategy for selling other things—books, courses, or referrals to affiliates, for example.
Just because that’s unsavory doesn’t make it wrong, from an economic standpoint. The market doesn’t care what’s right or wrong. But, thanks to blockchain technology, I believe the market is changing. This is just the beginning.
Where does this money come from?
- I wrote posts on a site called Steemit (you can follow me here)
- I earned a cryptocurrency called STEEM for the performance of my posts. The same way Bitcoin is “mined” by computing power, STEEM is mined through actions such as creating content, upvoting, and commenting.
- STEEM tokens essentially represent shares of the collective project that is Steemit. The tokens are traded on the market, and have value within the site for promoting content.
So, that’s where the money comes from. The tokens have value because people believe they do, the same way Facebook stock has value because people believe it does. They also happen to have utility because they give you influence within the network.
In theory, the tokens could have no value, and it would still work, kinda like Karma on Reddit, or Claps here on Medium.
But, right now, they do have value. That’s how I earned the money. I converted the STEEM to Bitcoin. I then converted the Bitcoin to U.S. Dollars.
To me, this is a very exciting way of distributing compensation for the value that each member provides to a network. On Facebook, or even here on Medium, for the most part, we have to settle for “ego capital,” or find some other way to make money off of our content.
You don’t get compensated for your content. You don’t get compensated for promoting another creator’s content. Facebook is left with little choice but to sell your eyeballs to fund development of the platform.
Medium doesn’t like that model, so they’re experimenting with other things. They tried sponsored content. Now they’re trying a subscription model, where customers pay for premium content, and creators get paid for “Claps.” Some creators rely upon Patreon donations.
These alternatives to the ad model all have a lot of friction. There’s a “tragedy of the commons” where there’s little incentive to pay, when there’s so much free stuff. Additionally, if you share a creator’s content, aren’t you entitled to something?
This is where the blockchain, and a cryptocurrency like STEEM comes in. I won’t go into all of the details, in part because I don’t feel like I know all of them. Just like it took time for us to figure out what the Internet was, it will take time for us to figure out what this is. But, I think this is just the beginning.
If you’re interested in an overview of STEEM, I interviewed one of the founders »