ADMISSION: I'm here for the Money/Currency

2 mo (edited)
13 Min Read
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"I'm only here for the community. Getting a bit of crypto is just a bonus. If you do this for money you came to the wrong place!" You hear these sentiments across the Hive blockchain, and for years on Steem before that. It is the most popular - and only widely-accepted - opinion on the topic. Those here to profit from the place aren't held in high regard, and most users tend to broadcast the "I'm not trying to make money" vibe. But why?

Are we afraid to admit we want to earn something for our efforts? Are we ashamed to value our skills and time? After all, the community was formed on the promise that "your voice is worth something". Posting to big tech sites without being paid was ridiculous, according to common blockchain wisdom. Come and get paid for your photos, posts, comments, and other contributions! And indeed, in the early days people could afford nonstop travel lifestyles merely by posting photos of their adventures and earning hundreds of dollars. Now, only a small percentage of Hive users are bringing in serious payouts on a regular basis, but it's still happening. Some people ARE able to earn something here. Even those whales/farmers who make $100+ for every shitpost are known to say they're only here for the community, or for the dapps, or the games... never to profit. It has become taboo to seek to earn a living (or even anything) on the blockchain.

Well, I'm here to buck that trend.

I admit it: I'm trying to make money (currency) here... and I've been doing so for 4 years now! Guilty as charged!

But perhaps admitting that isn't the right thing to do. If people who ARE making money here are claiming they aren't trying to... maybe that's the best way to go about it?! Should I start pretending I don't care about payouts, that I don't want support, that I'm not trying to make money? (I'd rather not, because I don't like being phony or disingenuous.)

It used to be a sign of good character and proper upbringing, for a person to go out into the world and eagerly try to provide something others need, in order to make an income, to feed oneself and one's family. Where did our hatred for honest work come from? On the blockchain, why is it wrong to want to work and be paid?

Some go so far as to burn (delete) their earnings, often to the applause of others. The more you destroy, the more the community seems to love you (and give you). The psychology behind this is mysterious to me, unless it's some kind of virtue signalling phenomenon. "Look at me, I'm so against the idea of profiting here, I've turned off payouts on most of my posts, and I'm burning 10% of all my earnings!!" There are entire (very successful) campaigns, collecting HIVE (and other crypto/tokens) and publicly burning it. People are becoming rich running these crypto-burning projects, claiming they'll re-balance things and fix the crypto economy. We looooove to act like we don't want money and aren't doing everything we can to get it! A culture of mass-false-benevolence.

Money... and trying to earn it

As my followers know, I have an unique relationship with (and understanding of) money. In short, I believe money is a tool for savings of intrinsic value, and currency is a tool for exchanging value. I believe the love of money (greed) is the source of almost all human evil. I personally do not invest (buy in and out of things to profit off others). I believe in earning money/currency through useful work, and supplying goods or services others demand.

Back in 2012, I had already put in five years of full-time content-creation for YouTube (mainly silver stacking and related videos). My reach was growing, but my personal finances were beginning to suffer. I asked: Is there some way content-creators can be compensated financially for their efforts, to keep the bills paid while important videos are researched and produced? Wow, I was CRUCIFIED! The idea anyone "charge" for content (which wasn't even what I was suggesting) enraged almost everyone who heard it. I was called a freeloader, a scammer, a fraud, a thief, a deadbeat, a loser, and so on. Many turned their backs on me, permanently. I found another way to contribute content (without taking in donations), but regrettably had to scale back my involvement so I could keep my personal finances in order. It was demoralizing but I never gave up trying to have my voice heard and advance my message of Liberty.

Within a year, sites like Patreon (essentially exactly what I had been suggesting) were helping content-creators earn an income. You couldn't hardly find a channel that was NOT saying "I can't do this without your support, so please visit my Patreon linked below!" And it worked, many people love contributing one time or on a regular basis to their favourite content-creators. I had been too early with my belief that content-creators should be compensated. When Steem came along, I jumped at the opportunity, because the blockchain seemed to be (and claimed to be) exactly what I had been waiting for.

And yes, I do value community. Yes, I do value connection. Those things exist on this blockchain, no doubt about it! But those things exist all over the internet, and beyond. Saying I'm here, specifically on Hive, for the community... would be a lie. It's a great community, but we aren't the only quality people out there! There are many excellent communities and platforms, similar but different to ours. What this platform offers, supposedly, is the chance to earn cryptocurrency for content and curation. THAT is what was different about Steem (and Hive), and it's why so many of us are here.

Let's face it, there are other blog sites that do everything Steem and Hive do. The code was relevant and fresh in 2016, but in 2021 there are now hundreds of options. Even for years before all that, platforms have existed that do everything this one does.... except for the cryptocurrency aspect. It's the cryptocurrency that makes this blockchain different from thousands of other platforms with similar functions. Crypto was the game-changer that made Steem special. Not the up and down arrows, not the front page, not the URL, not the font. It was the crypto.

Imagine this blockchain without it for a moment. Just posts and comments, no voting, no curation or curation rewards, no whales, no investing, no payouts, no wallets, no transfers, no tokens, no internet 3.0, just text and links to photos. We're struggling as things are now - down from #15 to #285 by market cap in the time I've been here. Without all the above - without crpto - this site would be a complete ghost town! It would never have been noticed. We wouldn't be having this discussion right now.

For this and other reasons, I openly admit: I AM here for the money! (Technically, it's currency, I know!) And I seriously doubt I'm the only one, although at times it feels that way, with most people for some reason trying to hide that they want to earn something.

My experience on this blockchain, financially, can be summed up:

  • joined mid 2017 and began posting
  • went full time posting, commenting, and curating late 2017
  • spring 2018, invested my crypto life savings (0.2 BTC or about 4500 USD) into STEEM
  • always converted all SBD and tokens into STEEM and then powered it up, never selling or using any
  • continued full time providing content and curation without a single day off through 2018, 2019, 2020, and 2021
  • converted my STEEM to HIVE and moved my online presence here when Hive started
  • other than buying a Venezuelan village a new water pump to bring running water back to several families (several thousand STEEM), every unit of crypto I've ever earned has been reinvested in my account here
  • I upvote 10 times per day, dishing out rewards to others on the blockchain, based on my growing investment here, currently about $3 per day
  • I now have 15000 HIVE, currently worth about 4500 USD

HIVE pushed me to produce more (and better) content than I have at any point in my 15 year career. In order to succeed, I knew I had to give it my all - so I did. I produced thousands of high-quality photographs, dozens of videos, scores of GIFs and other media, hundreds of research articles, and piles of stories, reports, analysis, charts, interviews, art, documentaries, and more. My posts are some of the highest quality you can find on the topics I cover. Some go viral on FaceBook and other big tech platforms. In my niche, I am one of the best, and I have a massive track record to back that up.

But the proof is in the pudding. 4 years of nonstop effort - hours every day - has only brought me 1100 followers, most of whom no longer use the platform. I have perhaps 5 regular commenters (who are rewarded for each comment they leave on my posts). I've been through an entire 4 year bull/bear crypto cycle while providing high-quality unique content here. I'm known in my tiny corner, at least by some, but generally speaking this blockchain has been a dead end for my content, my activism, and my message. I have lost any momentum I had going when I came here. I'm not blaming anyone but myself, I'm just describing my experience here.

Financially? As you can see above, I've turned 4500 USD worth of crypto into 4500 USD worth of crypto. Effort, time, risk, opportunity, and capital were expended and I have nothing to show for it. I've given this platform 10% of my life at this point, and never received anything in return. I've never made a withdrawal, never made a purchase (except the water pump in Venezuela), never paid for votes, never pulled funds out of the blockchain. All my funds and all my effort have gone 100% into Hive, and I have been burned badly for my loyalty.

If I had just sat on that 0.2 BTC, I could have put FOUR YEARS of my full-time work into other things, and I'd still have 7200 USD worth of crypto! By doing nothing. Instead, I've still got 4500, and a worn-out PC and camera.

Currently, this blockchain is one of the worst financial decisions I have ever made. I say that not to upset anyone, or lay blame. It is merely an objective truth. It's hard to imagine anyone putting money into crypto for 4 years and not winning, but I've managed it.

So, why am I still here? Why haven't I sold my 15000 digital nothings? Am I bullish on the price? Hahaha, no. I don't believe the past 4 years were just a coincidence. I'm quite certain now that, at least for me, there is no way to earn anything on this blockchain. I'm not saying others can't do it. I'm saying I can't. I have given it my all, for years, and it isn't anywhere near enough. I'm still here because I can't figure out how to get my funds out. Back then it was easy to get them in, but now it's hard to get them back. I don't use banks or smart devices (I believe in privacy and decentralization), which makes it very hard to do anything in crypto nowadays. Sadly, crypto has moved away from those core values, toward being mainly an investment vehicle for most users.

If I ever figure it out, I'll likely cut my losses here, and move into something that isn't going toward zero. My savings are not safe here. I should have noticed that 3.5 years ago - after the first 6 months - but better late then never.

"If you do this for money you came to the wrong place!"

Why do we parrot this nonsensical mantra to each other? Where's the logic in that? If we're honest, "this place" had only one thing everywhere else didn't, and that was the idea that "your voice is worth something". In theory, this place is exactly the place to be if you're trying to earn cryptocurrency for posting content, and yet, many users here (including whales and veterans) make the opposite claim! "It's not about the money!"

Well guess what, for me, IT'S ABOUT THE MONEY!

I have a crippled wife, and a busy toddler, and I myself suffer from chronic pain, PTSD, fibromyalgia, spina bifida, and an undiagnosed neurological condition like multiple sclerosis. I'm not complaining, but I refuse to apologize for trying to scrape together a few bucks online to buy groceries! I'm able to use my camera, I'm able to type, and my brain still works. I'm doing everything I can to try and make this happen, but year after year I'm letting myself and my family down. This isn't working for me. I could have made far more (ie: more than zero) if I had just parked myself under one of those crypto faucets I've heard about, looking at ads once an hour for money. In fact, I could have made far more by just doing nothing at all!

Attempting to make an honest living by creating things other people want/need/enjoy should be valued by our society. Creators should be uplifted and rewarded. Instead, we seem to value those who "invest" by taking currency out of markets, enriching the house (banks/exchanges) in the process, and then using it to procure resources for themselves. Those who "succeed" at the game are adored. Those who toil for nothing are forgotten. I'd love to see people who create content be rewarded for it, based on the merit of their content. But that's not currently how this platform functions.

If all you hear is whining, you aren't really listening.

And please note, I'm not claiming that every contribution should pay out. I'm not saying everybody who wants to make money here should be able to do so, regardless of their level of talent, or skill, or effort. There are no guarantees, and I wouldn't want there to be. In fact, I'm kind of grossed out by a lot of the useless crap I see making large payouts, but that's another matter. I just want to compete for my portion of the reward pool, fair and square. I don't want special consideration. I want to work hard, and provide something people benefit from.

And yes, I still love "the community" and any people I've met here over the years. I'm thankful for the support I do receive. I believe this platform has things others don't, and that it has merit. But I am one of the few here who admits he is here for the money, and unfortunately, it just ain't happening for me.

Thanks for listening, and all the best to you with your goals!


( Original abstract artwork, inspired by a series of posts I did this year. )

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