Content safe at home, rewards evicted

8 Min Read
1606 words

One of the interesting changes that is slowly starting to gain traction is the value of ownership. Well of course, ownership has always been sought after, like in the case of property, but what "property" is, is also changing.

On the centralized platforms, end users own nothing, including the accounts that they might have been populating with content for many years. At any point, the platform can delete the account for whatever reason they see fit and even if it is a business, they can shut the flow from the money tap with a click of a button.

When it comes to real estate, I have had friends and have entertained the idea myself that renting gives mobility, rather than having so much money tied into a physical location. This is true in many ways, as a house isn't liquid and comes with many obligations, while a rental agreement can be dropped on short notice.

But, when considering digital real estate, the game gets turned on its head, where it is ownership that brings mobility and it is the renter that is tied to a location.

For example, the monetized accounts on Instagram or YouTube are renters and own nothing of the platform or their accounts at all. They have little rights whatsoever and any point, if they annoy the landlord, they can be evicted at any time, with little recourse for action and very little chance of starting afresh somewhere else, as their audience will very quickly be offered "approved content" to replace what was banned and most followers will not be committed enough to follow to another platform. Essentially, the accounts on these platforms are held hostage by circumstance and their income stream is always up as a point for ransom.

However, on a platform like Hive, an account created here is owned by an individual and as long as they are able to transact (have a few HP for Resource Credits), they can write to the chain and no one can do anything about it. Not only this, everyone is potentially monetized by the staked community, and anyone can own a piece of the network itself, to be able to direct the flow of value on the platform to or from accounts.

This is not the case on the second-layer tokenized communities though, as the community owner has a lot of power to do as they please, and many do. Second-layer tokenized communities on Hive-Engine for example, are centralized, as they are built around a single owned account, giving the people with account access full rights to act as they please. This is why it is prudent to have a good understanding of who you are getting into bed with, before buying a second-layer token. Trust is paramount and if you do not trust the owners and large stakeholders, it is likely better to steer clear. Remember too, many people act quite differently once they get a taste of money or power and what they said they Would never do, could become their default behavior.

But this aside, one of the core usecases and draw points for crypto in general is the ability to own property and do with it as one pleases. It doesn't matter if it is a Hive account or a few satoshis sitting on the Bitcoin chain, it is owned by an individual who can treat it as they please.

On Hive, this means that they can say what they want without fear of being evicted, but, this doesn't mean they can't be demonetized, if they are currently earning. There are various ways this can happen and on the second-layer, a community can mute any account from their interface and stop them from posting, earning rewards or even curating and earning curation if they have stake. As centralized entities, it is their prerogative to do as they please and it is up to the stakeholders whether they support what they do. In general, the people who will stay within a platform with a poor behaving authority, are the people there for money, who are generally not the types of people who are going to actually buy tokens - they just want to earn tokens. This is a generalization, but often the case.

On the Hive layer however, nothing can really stop someone writing anything to the blockchain, even though individual interfaces can mute if they like. Also, no one can stop an account from voting on the content of their choosing, but they can redirect the rewards away from that content during the 7-day negotiation window. Always remember, that the potential reward on a post is not realized until the post closes and the value is transferred from the rewards pool into the various wallets as author or curator rewards. It is only once that HIVE hits a wallet, that it becomes someone's HIVE.

However, demonetization can happen quite easily on Hive too, but it isn't as easy as on the centralized platforms and it is going to mostly be limited to post rewards, as affecting curation rewards is much harder. What this means is that someone who owns their account can earn with their content, but they are not owners of any rights on the distribution of rewards unless they have HIVE POWER, which gives them relative access, according to their stake in relation to all other actively voting stake at the time.

A lot of people seem to think removal of rewards is taking away freedom of speech, but they are mistaken, it is taking away rewards, the words are still there. If a person is going to change their words because of the fear of losing rewards, that is on them, it is self-censoring. To be free to speak, one can't also need to earn on those words.

However, earning is possible on Hive without even speaking, if an owner, as it is possible to vote on content and get curation, which as said, is very hard to affect much, unless the person is voting on content that is easy to target and take away. If however, they are voting on decent content or popular content, their vote will be positioned with many other voters and with likely earn something. This can be protected even more, since it is for example, possible to delegate stake to a curation initiative for a return paid directly into the wallet - which means it is never exposed directly to the rewards negotiation, as it is a step removed and doesn't need to write anything to the chain itself.

As you can see, ownership and censorship protection is one thing, but income protection is something completely different, though some people seem to get these things confused. There is no income protection for author rewards, as it is not income, it is reward. That reward will be in negotiation for the week and once it is paid out, it becomes owned, meaning it has ownership protection.

While there are no mechanisms to protect rewards at the blockchain level, there are ways to protect them at the social layer using the age old law of, don't be a dick. Generally, the people who aren't dicks will not only get support, they won't be targeted in the first place by someone looking to take rewards away during the negotiation. Those that are dicks, well they can post and say all they want, but their post-negotiation earnings might be affected. With diverse communities though, they can possibly have one token removed from their earnings, but earn on another.

On Hive, the biggest risk to earnings is to be a renter who relies on others to issue rewards for earning, because while the account is still owned by an individual, the reward pool is owned by staked rights, meaning there are many landlords with the power to both provide value, and evict value on a post. But, a lot of people don't want to risk being an owner, even though it is a way to lower their exposure, depending on how one looks at it.

For me, I have a fair bit of earned stake and a good chunk of bought stake I have acquired over the years. This brings me a significant amount of earnings protection, because the stake is mine, meaning at least my curation value is relatively steady. My author reward earnings are not protected by the blockchain, but since I have built up a fair amount of trust and social capital over the years through my content and interaction, there is some kind of stability, although that can change at any time, in many ways.

Digital ownership is going to become vital for many people in the coming years and it is going to attract more economic value to it, as people recognize the value of owning their content, experience and parts of the networks they interact on. The centralized platforms that do not offer what is effective property rights to users and a high degree of profit sharing of their revenue, are going to start struggling, as the ownership model will offer something they can't, property ownership that still has the freedom to move globally.

It might be an account on Hive, it might be an NFT like a Splinterlands card, but the importance of that ownership is growing. A lot of people get stuck on the weekly returns and miss the bigger picture that there is an industry forming that is going to affect everything and they have a chance to own a piece of it.

[ Gen1: Hive ]

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