The First Decentralized Writing Platform That Pays Writers Is Here

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The First Decentralized Writing Platform That Pays Writers Is Here

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Photo by Lance Anderson on Unsplash

  This is a simplified guide as to what it is and how it works. There are so many ways for writers to earn money from their stories.

Writing online is full of bear traps.

Once you’ve been writing for a while you will no doubt experience the following:

Your content being deleted or moderated.

A ban from a platform.

Poor quality content that exploits readers (intentionally or unintentionally).

Misinformation and conspiracy theories.

Weaponized comments pointed at you.

Other content creators who troll you for likes.

These challenges are normal. It’s no platform’s fault and it’s not intentional. Jack Dorsey, who co-founded Twitter, reflected on the difficulty of running a social media platform after the Trump ban when he said:

“The reason I have so much passion for #Bitcoin is largely because of the model it demonstrates: a foundational internet technology that is not controlled or influenced by any single individual or entity. This is what the internet wants to be, and over time, more of it will be.”

Jack goes on to say, “Twitter is funding a small independent team of up to five open source architects, engineers, and designers to develop an open and decentralized standard for social media. The goal is for Twitter to ultimately be a client of this standard.”

Mirror.xyz is the first decentralized writing platform for writers

I watch the blockchain space like a hawk. Recently, talk about a new platform called Mirror.xyz started to simmer on Twitter and in Slack channels.

Their mission: “Through a decentralized, user-owned, crypto-based network, Mirror’s publishing platform revolutionizes the way we express, share, and monetize our thoughts.”

There isn’t a lot of information about Mirror.xyz or even reviews of the platform yet. It’s like a secret society for writers that spreads by word of mouth. A Reddit user goes on to explain that it’s built on top of Ethereum and essays/stories are NFTs (Non-Fungible Tokens), and can be crowdfunded.

The radical difference with Mirror.xyz

When you become a writer on the platform you become a co-owner. The platform is run and built by its contributors. So the contributor’s interests are at the front and center of the roadmap. To join the platform there is a process to go through “to ensure a quality foundation.”

On newer social media platforms like Clubhouse, you needed an invitation. Invitation spammers flooded platforms like LinkedIn with their loud personal brands. The result became a trashy community.

Mirror.xyz uses crypto tokens. When you possess the $WRITE crypto token you are given the ability to publish on the platform. This allows you a custom domain for your own publication. The publication can simply be your name.

The creators of the platform were worried that if they selected the writers to join the platform beyond the first group, the content would reflect their taste and knowledge. So they created a writer race so the community controls the direction going forward.

The Mirror.xyz community votes for the writers they want to join the platform. Ten writers per week are chosen and given a token. One token equals one publication. Genius. You can gain tokens to vote for writers by connecting your crypto wallet or joining the waitlist.

This is the best part about a writer race

The outcome of the writer race isn’t known.

Maybe the prominent voices will reign supreme.

Maybe an up-and-coming voice will climb the ranks and blow our minds.

Maybe you’ll discover a writer you’ve never heard of, whether they get in or not.

Maybe your favorite writer will get in.

Maybe you’ll get in.

Image Source: Mirror.xyz

How to make money from Mirror.xyz

I’m tired of companies like PayPal charging 4%-5% simply for the privilege of getting paid as a writer. Or foreign exchange companies charging absurd fees to convert from U.S. dollars to another currency. Or companies like Western Union that help send money to places like Africa and charge 10% for the privilege because many of the citizens don’t have access to a bank account. It’s financial discrimination.

Platforms like YouTube can often offer false hope to content creators who want to make money from their work. “96.5% of YouTubers don’t earn enough to cross the poverty line,” according to a recent study. Mirror seeks to democratize revenue streams for creators. It’s still a work in progress.

Writer Koopa Troopa explains the difference between social media built on Web 2.0 vs Web 3.0.

“In Web 2.0, creators monetize their work via a SaaS model, where they’re paid for a newsletter, artwork, or craft on a regular basis.

In Web 3.0, creators monetize through the issuance of a social token or NFTs, with non-fungible tokens acting as digital media ownership.”

The best part about Mirror is you will be paid as a writer in cryptocurrency (Ethereum). This is a dream for me. The ways you can earn money on Mirror are wide and varied from what I can see.

Quick note to simplify what you’re about to read: an NFT is a smart contract that reflects digital ownership. An NFT is then stored on the blockchain, making it easy to transfer and divide up into smaller pieces.

A piece of writing can be an NFT. WOW.

You can earn money on Mirror.xyz by:

Getting tips from readers.

2. Your story becomes an NFT. An NFT can be sold at an auction to readers who seek to own it, or the NFT of your story can be sold to a publication. The beauty with NFTs is there are options for the creator to keep making money into the future. Each time the NFT is sold, the original creator can get a percentage of the profit.

3. You can crowdfund a story idea and readers can pledge money for you to write it. When the story is finished the readers get a percentage of the story’s profit. Mind blown.

4. You can embed your own NFTs or those owned by other content creators in your story and make money from them. (Think of it like this: the more an NFT is shared of a written story, jpeg, or mp3 the more value it has.)

5. No doubt the ability to make money from ads or charge a subscription to your writing will come later.

6. You can add an old-fashioned call-to-action link at the end of your story that leads to an email list where you sell a course, eBook, or coaching.

There is a split feature too. You can see at the end of a story where the revenue from the content goes. You could co-write a story with a friend and set the split of earnings from the story as 50/50.

You can even add a charitable split to your story, so, for example, 20% of your story’s earnings go to a cause you care about. Your stories could literally fund homeless shelters. Or the topic you passionately write about can become part of the solution to the problem through the money it creates. Any sources or people you cite in your writing could also receive a portion of the earnings. Here’s what an earnings split among writers and sources looks like.

Screenshot of “The Rise of Micro-Economies” on Mirror.

Making money as a writer is about to get interesting. The ways content creators get paid is about to transcend what many of us thought was possible. It’s essential as a writer to be hooked into new ways of earning money online, to be able to live with less stress and pay your bills.

Writers deserve to be paid for their writing. Decentralized writing platforms enable new business models for creators, finally.

How I’m thinking about Mirror.xyz

As a writer for the last seven years, I’m not quitting LinkedIn and Twitter to join Mirror.xyz. I am keeping an open mind. I am going to experiment with the platform to see how it works.

Many social media apps die an early death or never find a community that is willing to invest time in them. The same could happen with Mirror.xyz.

It will be interesting to see if the recent boom in NFTs combined with blockchain is a way to solve some of the common problems writers face. For example, could clickbait be dealt with by a community of writers? Could features like engagement, time spent reading, and user behavior determine whether a piece of content is harmful or helpful, or even clickbait?

The side effect of decentralized writing platforms

I’m not sure Mirror becomes the platform we writers go to for a way to earn money from our work, yet. What will likely happen is centralized platforms will voluntarily migrate to become decentralized platforms, inspired by Jack Dorsey’s announcement to look at making Twitter decentralized.

Decentralization may become a mandatory feature among readers and writers, rather than an option. The benefits of decentralization became clear with Bitcoin and Ethereum. Blockchain could become a writer’s best friend.

Mirror.xyz gives writers a new way of thinking about making money online.


 

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