We had quite the interesting discussion on the Devcoin thread of the Bitcoin Forum a few weeks ago when the price of Devcoins was really tanking. This particular message made me pause and think about what it means to me to be getting paid in Devcoins for my writing on the Devtome, in particular the fact that I am free to publish content that I have previously written.
Essentially, the claim made is that whatever payment an author might earn on the Devtome is purely icing on the cake, an extra bonus for some writing whose purpose was already accomplished, sometimes years ago. In the previous round I published a few essays I’d written in college that I am especially proud of. In the round before that I published a short story I’d written in high school. All of this writing had already been graded (A+), so one could argue that I’d accomplished the purpose for that writing at the time that I received my grade. I certainly thought it was a done deal when the English classes were over.
But then years later, the opportunity I could have never imagined back when I was in high school and college came up, and not only did I publish my previously graded work on the Devtome, I’ve gotten paid for some of that work already, and expect to be paid for the rest of it in the coming month. Payments for round 25 are just starting to roll in, and Devcoins are being generated to my wallet with even greater frequency. My writing has been repurposed. Now in addition to that A+ I get paid.
The question now is how do I view getting paid for repurposed content? Do I view that as extra? And if so, could this view have contributed to the falling price of Devcoins–i.e., I’d be willing to sell my Devcoins at any price, even next to nothing?
When I first started writing for the Devtome, I very much held that view. First of all, during the rather long gap between starting to publish and actually getting paid, I had some concerns about the legitimacy of the whole thing. It wasn’t that I had any suspicions of it being an outright scam, but I wasn’t entirely sure that it worked as advertised (it does!). Naturally, I didn’t want to put in a lot of effort into something that might not work out, so it made a lot of sense for me to publish old content. For a minimal amount of effort I could test the process. Most of the content I published in the first round had already been written. I took stuff from other websites I own and made a few revisions and published it.
I did much the same for Round 25, going back to even older content, mainly because I was quite busy with the rest of my life, but I saw the opportunity to do quite well in that round if I could just publish thirty thousand words or so.
Then I started getting paid.
My first thought was that yes indeed, writing for the Devtome works as advertised. My next thought was that I needed to do whatever it took to keep publishing content in the next few rounds so as to keep this going. More writers are joining the Devtome every week. It’s going to get harder to earn as much for the same amount of writing if all those writers keep at it. The price of Devcoins could at some point drop so low as to make it not worth the effort to get paid in them. I could completely run out of content ideas. Any number of things could happen, and for the time being I do view this as an opportunity I’m glad I jumped on when I did and one which I don’t know how long it will last.
Because I viewed writing for the Devtome (and to some extent still do) as a temporary window of opportunity, I knew from the beginning that I didn’t just want to cash out my earnings to pay bills and survive one more day in the rat race. I wanted to invest my earnings into something that would better my life, something that would still be there if the flow of Devcoins from the Devtome to my wallet ever were to end. This meant that I sold off most of my Devcoins for Bitcoins so that I could invest in some BTC-denominated securities I judged to be good investments. However I have also bought quite a few of the available DVC-denominated securities.
When the price dropped below my comfortable threshold I had to rethink the strategy, and I had to ask myself exactly how much is my writing worth to me anyway? Do I just get whatever I can out of it as fast as I can? Or is it worth holding out for better prices, or even hanging onto those Devcoins because of their very high future potential? Am I just trying to exploit a potentially temporary income stream? Or am I going to become an actual believer in the currency?
It is true that old content has already served its purpose and that anything I earn from it is extra and can be treated as such. However, there’s going to come a time when I run out of old content. At that point everything I publish on the Devtome will have to be original content–stuff I actually wrote during the current round. As such, it will take me actual work and effort to come up with the ideas, to sit down and type them out, and to consistently come up with fresh content. Ideally, that would be around 2,000 words a day.
I’ve known from the beginning that I will eventually have to be always publishing new content. When Round 25 ended and Round 26 began I decided to try it out. So far, everything I’ve published for the current round has been new. I publish it first on this blog and then I republish it on the Devtome. I still have some old content I can repurpose, but I’m trying to “save” it for a true writing emergency, such as a bad case of writer’s block or a period when I truly do not have the time. So far, neither have happened.
But I’m definitely working harder to publish the content I’m currently publishing, and so I’ve noticed my threshold of what price is too low has increased. I’ve also seen a pump and how during that time a number of sell orders I thought were so ridiculously high it would take months to fulfill them could have been fulfilled all at once had I placed them. Now that I’ve seen it, I have all kinds of sell orders at “in your dreams” prices and I have no doubt they’ll be fulfilled at some point, perhaps overnight or during a time when I’m busy doing other things.
In that sense, you could say that I value my writing more than I used to. However I think a lot of it has to do with having gained some experience on the exchange and seeing what sorts of sudden movements in the exchange rate are possible. Also, interacting with the Forum members who are holding onto their Devcoins and buying more as fast as they can because they believe they will be worth tons more in the future has rubbed off on me. I can’t afford to hold onto all my Devcoins in the hope of them growing in value enough to make me a millionaire in the future. However, I see the wisdom of holding onto and investing a significant number of them, while also taking advantage of the investments that become possible from trading them for Bitcoins.
An interesting aspect of all of this is the sheer number of potential exchanges that have to be considered when it comes to making an objective valuation of my Devtome earnings. I’m paid in Devcoins, and I switch most of them to Bitcoins, invest them in Bitcoin securities and other investments, and eventually those investments should pay off enough to then trade a significant number of Bitcoins for Dollars which I can then spend to better my life, starting with paying those pesky bills. There are two exchange rates, all the risks inherent in stocks, especially brand new ones, not to mention all kinds of excitement and uncertainty over the future of cryptocoins in general. The number of potential variables is astounding, and the whole enterprise seems shaky and risky to me.
In the end, it’s really not so much about how much I value my writing, as it is which opportunities do I see as being the most beneficial to me at this time in my quest to better my life. There’s a lot of risk and factors beyond my control involved, and the best I can do is try to spread out the risk by building as many pipelines (income streams) as possible, both in Devcoin and in Bitcoin, and as much as I can paying attention to what is going on in the cryptoworld. My writing is a tool. Devcoins are a tool. Bitcoins are a tool. Crypto-securities are a tool. Currency exchanges are a tool. I have had to learn how to use a whole bunch of new tools in an unbelievably short amount of time. Hopefully I am learning well.
Read The psychology of earning Devcoins from the Devtome on the Devtome!