DEVTOME.COM HOSTING COSTS HAVE BEGUN TO EXCEED 115$ MONTHLY. THE ADMINISTRATION IS NO LONGER ABLE TO HANDLE THE COST WITHOUT ASSISTANCE DUE TO THE RISING COST. THIS HAS BEEN OCCURRING FOR ALMOST A YEAR, BUT WE HAVE BEEN HANDLING IT FROM OUR OWN POCKETS. HOWEVER, WITH LITERALLY NO DONATIONS FOR THE PAST 2+ YEARS IT HAS DEPLETED THE BUDGET IN SHORT ORDER WITH THE INCREASE IN ACTIVITY ON THE SITE IN THE PAST 6 MONTHS. OUR CPU USAGE HAS BECOME TOO HIGH TO REMAIN ON A REASONABLE COSTING PLAN THAT WE COULD MAINTAIN. IF YOU WOULD LIKE TO SUPPORT THE DEVTOME PROJECT AND KEEP THE SITE UP/ALIVE PLEASE DONATE (EVEN IF ITS A SATOSHI) TO OUR DEVCOIN 1M4PCuMXvpWX6LHPkBEf3LJ2z1boZv4EQa OR OUR BTC WALLET 16eqEcqfw4zHUh2znvMcmRzGVwCn7CJLxR TO ALLOW US TO AFFORD THE HOSTING.

THE DEVCOIN AND DEVTOME PROJECTS ARE BOTH VERY IMPORTANT TO THE COMMUNITY. PLEASE CONTRIBUTE TO ITS FURTHER SUCCESS FOR ANOTHER 5 OR MORE YEARS!

Fat Cats and Mercenaries

The DVC thread on the Bitcoin Forum has been heated today. There’s the usual outrage about the amazing opportunity for writers that the Devtome represents, fueled by the longtime downward trend in the value of Devcoins relative to Bitcoins. And there’s the outrage over what I would call missed opportunity, mainly that those who complain about it aren't taking full advantage of it for themselves.

The Opportunity

The Devtome may be one of the most controversial phenomena on the Internet right now, and at first glance it makes no sense. At this point anyone, and I really do mean anyone, can register an account, then contact the appropriate admin through the Bitcoin Forum and request to be made an author. The only qualifications are that you can write a complete grammatically correct sentence and that you’re not a troll. Once accepted you can then write about whatever you want, and get paid anywhere from the equivalent of $100 to $500 a month for it.

A writer with any experience trying to sell content on the Internet is likely to take one look and say “too good to be true” because getting paid that much for Internet content, especially with no strings, is unheard of. On the Internet writers are cheap. It’s marketing that pays as that’s what leads to traffic, page views, and hopefully sales.

This opportunity, while good, is definitely true. I have been paid quite well for three rounds now, and I've been given no limits to what I can publish.

The next question then becomes: is this amazing opportunity sustainable?

Sustainable?

The jury is still out on whether or not this is sustainable, and most of the arguing on the DVC thread at least includes this issue, if not fixates on it.

My initial judgment was that this can’t possibly be sustainable. This was before I really understood how Devcoin mining worked and how the payments were actually made, so I made some assumptions based on how people typically are paid for their work, which aren’t exactly true in the case of the Devtome. But leaving that aside, there is the question of what happens to my writing after I submit it. Who’s going to read it? And if no one “out there” cares to read it, then how can it possibly benefit anyone, especially the people who are paying me for it.

After four rounds of writing and three rounds of getting paid, I’m starting to see that this could be sustainable when you take a long term view and when you look beyond the Devtome itself. Paying writers is actually a way to spread the Devcoins around beyond those computer programmers who might be inclined to mine them. That is the purpose. The more people who have Devcoins and the greater variety among them in terms of personality and interests, the more likely it is that Devcoins could become integral to an actual viable economy. It’s the same reason why there are so many Bitcoin faucets and other sites where people are practically giving them away. They want lots and lots of people to get their hands on them and develop a taste for them.

Sustainable or not, the opportunity is a genuine one for now, and once I determined through actually trying it that it was for real I decided there’s no time like the present to make the most of it.

Greed and selfishness

Apparently, jumping on this opportunity and taking full advantage of it puts me at odds with two groups of people. The first are the writers who have been with the project from the beginning. They were writing for the Devtome long before writing for the Devtome was cool, and they were easily collecting several million DVCs per share back when DVCs were worth upwards of 200 satoshis. They were making out well, and now the new writers such as myself are diluting the value of their shares so they don’t earn as many DVCs for the same amount of work. The second group is made up of those computer programmers who are busy writing code and doing other intense computing work to help advance the Devcoin project and in exchange for bounty shares. Since the bounty shares are currently not separated from the writing shares, the recent influx of writers producing lots of content has also diluted the value of their shares.

To add insult to injury, many of the new writers including me are selling our DVC earnings for either Bitcoin or our national currencies. This constant selling on the exchange is causing the price of DVC to go down, and people are genuinely worried that it will drop down all the way to zero and never recover.

The concern is definitely understandable, but the expression has been rather interesting and not exactly rational. In one day, I got called a fat cat on the top of the heap and a mercenary. Neither of these were personal insults; they were directed at writers in general. We’re just in it for our own personal selfish gain. All we care about is making some quick money and we can’t wait to sell off our Devcoins to the highest bidder so we can take our funds and run. We care nothing about the project or the wellbeing of Devcoin. We just submit garbage and fluff; all we do is churn out content. We don’t even care if anyone reads it because that so far has had no bearing on our payouts. Furthermore, since we’re not willing to publish content on the Devtome for free (at least I wouldn’t be doing it if it weren’t for the payments), that makes us mercenaries. Apparently we’re supposed to love this project so much that we’d give generously and freely of our time and resources in order to be counted worthy to be paid at all. The only problem with that way of thinking is that the reason we know anything at all about the project in the first place is because of the opportunity to earn by writing. Now we’re getting paid and learning all about it as we write.

The fat cats on the top of the heap insult was delivered in the context of the large number of writing shares diluting the fixed share number bounties offered to the computer programmers and coders who are developing software and hardware that will help move the Devcoin vision forward. They are understandably upset that their pay has been precipitously reduced and they vent their frustration by blaming and insulting the writers who neither set up the reward structure in its current form nor have any power to change it.

Self interest can lead to altruistic action

Many of the people who are involved in the Devcoin project are amazingly idealistic and willing to make great sacrifices in order to move the project forward. I find this admirable, though I don’t share it in this case. I will be totally honest by saying that to me the Devcoin project and specifically the opportunity to get paid to write for the Devtome is something I am approaching with self-interest, particularly self-improvement. Specifically, I’m looking for a greater degree of financial stability for myself and my family and I see this as one way to move towards that goal. I primarily invest my earnings, either as Devcoins or after trading them out for Bitcoins. And it’s starting to pay off.

But is that so bad? Is it really something that should be punished by insults and advocating for all sorts of “incentives” that are meant to discourage such self-interest?

While it may be a tough transition for those who were with the project from the beginning, I actually think that the current involvement of people who are motivated by self-interest rather than altruism is a good sign. It means that we see some intrinsic benefit to the Devcoin project. If we didn’t see it as beneficial to us right now we wouldn’t be involved.

I believe this is the sign of the early stages of a healthy and viable economy beginning to take root. Although these beginnings are largely invisible, they are worth celebrating. History has shown that economies built solely on altruism and sacrifice tend to not be viable, and eventually people’s good will has to be coerced, sometimes brutally, just to keep things going for a little while longer. Strong economies tend to be built on many people looking out for their best interests while also maintaining a sense of responsibility for society as a whole, as in refraining from taking actions that obviously are harmful to others.

But in the case of Devcoin, self-interest actually is already strongly encouraged to turn into altruism, in the sense of being motivated to work not just for one’s own immediate interests but also for the benefit of the Devcoin project as a whole. Why? It’s simple. When you start getting used to getting paid day after day, round after round (I’m currently receiving payouts for my third consecutive round), you start to think about how wonderful it would be if this cash cow could last forever.

Remember how I said I didn’t initially believe that writing for the Devtome could be sustainable? Well, now I have a very sincere and strong desire to make it sustainable. Now I have a strong desire to do something that would add value to Devcoin, even if it doesn’t immediately benefit me (though there is no reason something I do couldn’t accomplish both).

Do you not see what just happened? My self-interest has just morphed into altruism. I suspect this evolution is happening inside the hearts and minds of many other Devtome writers as well.

Freedom is vital to the process

How did my self-interest manage to become altruism? The first thing is that I was never under any pressure to be motivated by anything but self-interest, as long as I don’t count the mostly idle forum thread suggestions to the contrary. I was allowed to write to my heart’s content, collect payments, and do whatever I wanted with them.

In the nurturing arms of such freedom, a conversion process of sorts was free to take place.

And yet if one reads the DVC thread it seems that this vitally important freedom is the first thing that people who are concerned about the plight of Devcoins want to do away with. It is not easy to trust a process one has no control over. One would rather be in control, and succeeding in that quest for control leads to the death of freedom, and in the end the death of altruism.

The original inventor/developer of Devcoin seems to understand that, and among other things, it’s his unwavering commitment to such freedom which has made Devcoin the third longest lasting cryptocoin, right behind Bitcoin and Namecoin.

Taking the money issue off the table

In the long run, I don’t think it’s going to really matter if the Devtome project succeeds or not, though I think the odds are in favor of its success. The really important thing that is being accomplished through the Devtome is that Devcoins, and lots of them, are being put in the hands of a growing number of people. Because these people are already willing to get involved in cryptocurrencies, they already have a certain propensity to think outside of the box and try new things. And they are writers. In other words, these are creative people who are getting showered with Devcoins.

These are the exact sort of people who have big ideas and who would accomplish great things… if only they could figure out a way to raise the cash. Sadly, creative people are not especially noted for their stellar fundraising skills. Also, because they often chafe at dedicating themselves to a high paying corporate job, they are often chronically broke or barely getting by. They certainly often do not have extra cash lying around to start up a venture for any reason. And yet they are willing to try. And I speak from personal experience here.

What happens when such creative people start getting paid for doing what they do best? Amazing things, actually. Suddenly, they have a source of cash for some of their big ideas. Suddenly, something that might have been unattainable before, such as a dot com domain name and a year’s worth of hosting, is now doable. All you have to do is sell off some of those Devcoins to pay the fees. In short, the issue of money is now off the table. Perhaps not entirely, but significantly so. Enough to make a world of difference.

Will writers see this right away and start immediately spending their earnings on big and beneficial ventures? Not necessarily. It takes a while for the reality to sink in, and in the interim a number of foolish purchases and other mistakes might be made, but that is part of the learning process. Fortunately income lost from those mistakes can easily be replaced in the next round as long as the writer keeps on writing. In fact, developing the discipline of writing consistently in and of itself will do good things for the writer but that is another story, covered in greater depth in Your Devtome Writing Success.

The bottom line is that writing for the Devtome actually nurtures a number of important growth areas for the writers who are involved, and it nurtures those things in an environment of nearly complete freedom and with no strings attached. The opportunity essentially takes people from wherever they might be and however selfish or short sighted their attitude might be, and in an environment of unconditional acceptance and complete freedom gradually and gently moves them towards a more altruistic and longer term attitude which is then equipped with the resources to actually do something constructive about it.

And that is the essence of what is so radical and special about the Devtome opportunity. And it is this which is worth maintaining and continuing for the long haul. Already the fruit of this opportunity is becoming evident as people who started off as Devtome authors are on their own starting to set up businesses and other ventures designed to both benefit them and bring Devcoins into even wider circulation.

What about the real fat cats and mercenaries?

Will every writer taking advantage of the opportunity truly grow in the way I described? No. The downside of freedom, of course, is that it allows people to make the wrong decision. For this reason there will always be people trying to game the system and whose involvement will probably cause damage to the development of the project as a whole. To some extent these people can be screened out, but some will get away with it. Some will set things back significantly.

Despite all that, they too need to have the freedom to be who they are, just like the rest of us do. The price of taking away freedom is simply too high. It is worth letting a few bad guys get away with it in order to maintain freedom for everyone else. Even Jesus Christ allowed Judas Iscariot to do what he did. Not only that, He brought great good out of it that reverberates to this day.

This isn’t to say that there shouldn’t be rules, or that scammers shouldn’t be screened out. As some of the obvious and malicious gaming of the system comes to light (as in round 24), standards and the manpower to enforce them can be put in place (and have been), and such people can be encouraged to move on. But cracking down on every last possible scammer should never be the top priority. Nor should the freedom granted to writers ever be sacrificed for the sake of propping up the price of Devcoins. Devcoins too need the freedom to grow into their full potential organically and freely.

Devtome


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