Writing for the Devtome

Author's note: This article is part of an ongoing blog about my adventures in the world of alternate currencies.

Of all the ways to earn cryptocurrencies that I have come across, none is as lucrative as writing for the Devtome. The impact of this did not really sink in until after I'd been at it for about five weeks and began to see my first payments rolling in, 45,000 DVC at a time, adding up to around eight or nine dollars a day in the first round in which I got paid.

Round 24 was actually a rather poor round as far as payouts go. Still, it was orders of magnitude better than anything I'd been able to earn on any of the other websites in that same amount of time.

When I first started looking into Bitcoins I saw an ad for writing for the Devtome. Earn Devcoins by writing for the Devtome, the banner ad said. My first thought was I don't think I can handle learning about another cryptocurrency right now. Only, I didn't even know the word “cryptocurrency” so I'm not sure what word my mind used, but that was the idea. I passed over the opportunity and started happily accumulating Bitcoins through the other opportunities.

Then I had my unfortunate experience with getting scammed, which brought me to the Bitcoin Forum. While I was just hanging around reading posts in the Newbies section I came across this thread 1) which went into more details about what writing for the Devtome entailed. Granted, this thread is somewhat over hyped so I'm not recommending every word on it. However, it reminded me of the banner ads I'd seen previously and I decided to give it a shot. The part that convinced me to go for it was learning that I could write about any topic I chose, even fiction stories.

Having so recently been scammed I decided to play it carefully. People mentioned having to wait a long time before that first payout, adding that it was worth it. I decided I'd submit content I'd already written so I didn't have to put in too much extra effort. Any content I added to the Devtome would also be published somewhere else, or at least be on my hard drive. Then if it turned out to not pay as advertised, I would immediately remove all my content and all I'd lost was some time.

If you look at my Devtome profile 2), you will see that all my content is still there, so you can know from there as well as this article that the Devtome payments work exactly as advertised, though I learned some of the finer details as I went along.

Getting set up as an author

It's a bit of a process to get started, though definitely simpler than what you'd go through to get a job. Since you will be paid in Devcoins, it is important that you obtain a Devcoin wallet. Although normally I'm a big fan of web based wallets (Coinbase is my absolute favorite for Bitcoins), in this case the wallet has to be the kind of client that lives on your PC and nowhere else. The reason is that the way that you are paid is through newly generated Devcoins which require 120 blocks to “mature,” and web based wallets cannot handle the 120 block wait. According to the Devcoin Forum, the latest wallet client for Devcoins is this one 3). Once you download and install the wallet client, it will generate an address for you. You can test this address by using it to request 5 DVC from this Devcoin faucet 4).

The next step is to register for an account on the Devtome 5). Then, if you don't already have one, register for an account on the Bitcoin Forum 6). Why do you need an account on the Bitcoin Forum? Because once you have your account on the Devtome, you will need to contact one of the Devtome Administrators personally by sending them a message through the Bitcoin Forum messaging system. Who you contact depends on what letter your name starts with. How this works out is explicitly spelled out here 7). In your message to the appropriate administrator, request to be added as a Devtome author and include a small sample of your writing, or a link to where your content has been published. The message does not need to be fancy or a full blown cover letter. At this point barring an obvious red flag, the answer will be yes.

Once you've been approved as an author, you will have the ability to set up your user page. The most important thing is to add your Devcoin wallet client address to the “tip” section of that page.

Then you start creating articles. The way to create a page is to type in the following: http://devtome.com/doku.php?id=your_article_title (use the underline key in between words) and hit “enter.” You will get a message that says “This page doesn't exist.” However, if you are logged in, you will have the option to create the page. Click on that link and an editor will come up which you can use to compose your article. The syntax page goes over the details of how to format the article to look attractive and user friendly to visitors. Be sure to bookmark it.

In order to get paid for the article–you are paid one generation share for every 1,000 words you write–you need to reference the article on your user page, which becomes your invoice. Link your article by typing it like this (no space between the two brackets): [ [:your article title] ]. If you are using content you have published elsewhere (perfectly acceptable as long as it's OK with the site where it was published), attribute it by linking directly to the web page where it was previously published. I republish a lot of material from my own websites and blogs onto the Devtome, and you can see how I attribute my source for each article by looking at my user profile. If the Devtome is the first place the article was published, then simply type “original” instead of copying and pasting a link.

If you are able to publish links to any page of the Devtome on another website, then you will want to add a section for links to your user profile where you post a link to each page which contains a link back to the Devtome. The reason for this is that you can also get paid for those links, but only if you invoice them by including them on your user profile.

This is my version of the process of becoming a Devtome author. You should also refer to the official Devtome articles detailing this process and the requirements. The articles are Earn Devcoins by Writing and How to get setup Earning Devcoins by Writing. If you are a good writer and enjoy it, this is a great opportunity. You truly have the freedom to be creative as you can publish and get paid for content on any topic you want including fiction and poetry. However if you are just interested in publishing a lot of spam or drivel, then forget it. You will get caught and banned by the diligent Devtome administrators. One working theory is that part of what made round 24 a low one in terms of payouts was that there were several very prolific “authors” who published (and got paid for) drivel. Fortunately the admins cleaned things up and round 25 is going to be a real windfall for me and other genuine authors who consistently published good articles without authors of drivel diluting the earnings.

What to expect in terms of earning

The Devtome uses a pay period cycle that is roughly one month long. Each cycle is 4,000 blocks. Earnings for round 24 are currently being paid out between blocks 96,000 and 100,000. As I write this we are at block 98,171. However, the earnings were calculated previously. The earnings for round 25 (which has not yet paid out) got calculated at block 97,300, just a few days ago. They will be paid out between blocks 100,000 and 104,000. If you signed up now, your articles would be included in round 26 which will pay out after round 25 is paid out.

What this means to you is that it will take a while before you get paid for the articles you publish. During this time you may feel doubtful that this opportunity is real, worry that you might be getting scammed, or for other reasons feel like giving up. Just hang in there and keep writing and publishing. You will get paid. You can keep in touch with other Devtome writers as well as the administrators through the official Devcoin thread on the Bitcoin Forum 8). On this thread you will be given links to files detailing the progress of all the writers and how many shares have accumulated for the round so far. By the time you start getting paid you can have a pretty good idea of what you will earn and when it will show up in your wallet as it is all thoroughly documented and publicly available. I wrote blindly for my first round (round 24) but for round 25, I had a particular earnings goal in mind and kept a close watch on the files showing what my earnings would be so that my writing could keep pace.

How earnings are calculated

This is the part where writing for the Devtome can become unpredictable and risky. Every 1,000 words is worth one share. You can think of a share as a piece of a pie that is a certain fixed size. The more pieces there are, the smaller each piece is. The size of the pie for each round is 180,000,000 DVC. The amount of DVC in each piece (share) is 180,000,000 divided by the total number of shares. Writers get the bulk of the shares. However, there are also shares allocated for administrators, marketing (those links you need to put on your invoice if you are linking to the Devtome from other web pages), bounties for various open source projects and a few other things. The file containing the ongoing receiver lines tally and the file detailing the various earning categories for the round you are on are the ones to watch. They both update daily.

What this means practically is that the more writers there are and the more content they are publishing, the smaller your shares will be. If a lot of content is being published, then you will have to publish more to earn the same amount you would if less content were being published. This is an important point to realize because depending on how well the value of DVC holds up relative to Bitcoins and fiat currency, if the Devtome keeps adding more authors and they are all prolific writers, there comes a theoretical point at which publishing on the Devtome is no longer worth it. I say “theoretical” because the reality is that writing consistently is a discipline which is not easy, and writers do burn out. I have already seen from the files that some writers who publish 50,000 words in one round then publish less than 10,000 words in the next round. And now that the administrators are more diligent about flagging and removing drivel, some authors are disqualifying themselves. The shares in Round 25 were worth over twice as much as the shares in Round 24. I wrote slightly more in Round 25 and I will be earning three or four times as much. The most important thing is to just write consistently. Don't try to write an entire novel in one week. Publish a couple thousand words each day and before you know it you will have thirty or forty shares to your name. There is a cap on 80 shares per writer per round.

Getting paid

After about six weeks of writing steadily, the moment of truth arrives. The final file with all the receiver lines tells you exactly on which block you will “generate” 45,000 DVC. It's an Excel spreadsheet with a different address on each line. You can search for the address you provided in the tip section. Before you begin to receive the generation shares, you will be sent some small amount of DVC to test your address. I got 11 DVC for that purpose. I mention this because some new Devtome writer at one point expressed dismay that this was all he or she was getting, and had to be reassured that no, this was only to make sure his address was valid.

When a block with your address is opened, your wallet client will show that you have generated 45,000 DVC. However your wallet balance will not reflect that new amount until the newly generated Devcoins “mature.” It takes 120 blocks for them to mature, and the client will maintain a countdown of how many blocks to go until they mature. Once they mature, their number is accounted for and you are free to send them to a different address if you so choose. When I saw my very first baby Devcoins in my wallet, I felt like maybe I should feed and water them or something. But all I had to do was wait. A few more sets of 45,000 DVCs were generated before the very first babies “grew up.”

Once you start getting paid, as long as you keep up with writing and publishing content to the Devtome, the pay will be continuous. It is now really fun for me to turn on my computer in the morning and see how many baby Devcoins were generated as well as how many babies grew up during the night.

The real fun begins when I get to decide what to do with all those Devcoins coming in.

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