Cedric Fung

Mixin me 25566

A Writing Incentive Token

Jul 05, 2020

After I made an announcement to write an article everyday, I have thought about an idea to issue a token for my readers, they bought one token for some price, and if I failed to produce enough good articles within the year, they could get their money back by returning the token. Further more, they could even get back double the price they paid, to punish my failing.

Subscription Insurance

At first it was just yet another idea flashing around, but when I broke the consecutive writings the day before yesterday, the idea appeared again and I realized it more interesting than what I thought.

The first impression of it is more like a bet on something, readers bet one buck on my future works and if I failed they would get two bucks back. But the difference from a pure bet is they could get something, e.g. reading my thoughts. I’m not saying I’m a genius or fame that my thoughts are important and whenever you read you earn something, treat me like a normal author and the readers someone who like my stories, they pay upfront to buy out my future publications.

Imagine that you love a novel very very much, a series, e.g. A Song of Ice and Fire, and you are eager to read new chapters, but the author keeps delaying, even years after years. However if you pay upfront, it’s like many people make a subscription contract with the author, and they would be incentivized or pushed harder to finish it, otherwise the author must refund the subscription payments, and even a double punishment.

When treating the idea as a subscription advance payment system, it sounds familiar and much more reasonable and feasible, better than a pure bet. It acts as the insurance both for the reader and writer, reader would be guaranteed with good content or money back, and writer with income assurance for their future works. To make things easier for both parties, they could set up a soft cap, e.g. if and only if more than 1,000 readers paid or $100,000 money received, the contract would become effective, otherwise disqualified and hurt nothing. This much money guarantees the writer to work full time on the story, win-win.

Blockchain and Token

Cryptos are only useful when they are used in a useful situation, i.e. the situation would go very well without any cryptos inside, and cryptos or blockchains are just something to make things better and easier, not to make up some things. The idea described here is of course a useful and meaningful one. But I don’t believe it needs a new blockchain to make things better, a simple transparent token would fulfill all good additions.

Readers may be afraid that they paid upfront and the writer take all the money without delivering anything, and the punishment won’t work neither. Obviously they should rely on some agent or platform to escrow the payments, then the problem becomes the trustworthy of the agent or platform, what if they stole our money, even if they won’t do bad things intentionally, they are still likely to embezzle the fund to do something else. Then they ask another accountant party to guard the agent’s bank account, all seems good now. Assume the accountant is good enough at the work, they would be expensive. Both the agent and accountant cost lots of money, and still they are not transparent for readers and writers, considering the high possibility of frauds in stocks even if such strict SEC rules and laws.

A writing incentive token would solve all the problems.

  1. Issue the token with a smart contract on some decentralized blockchain.
  2. Readers pay BTC to buy tokens.
  3. If not enough tokens sold during a period, contract refunds automatically.
  4. If enough BTC received, contract goes effective.
  5. All BTC is locked by the contract for 1 year.

Then all money and token are transparent on blockchain for anyone to audit at any time, and almost free, only a few bucks of blockchain transaction fees. They can add more rules, e.g. allowing the writer to withdraw some limited BTC from the contract to cover their daily expense, or allowing the readers to vote for an early refund if they realize the writer produces nothing or worse updates.

So good.


Many people familiar with blockchain may have heard about the steemit blockchain, it describes itself as, “Steemit has redefined social media by building a living, breathing, and growing social economy - a community where users are rewarded for sharing their voice. It’s a new kind of attention economy.”

Most people’s first impression about steemit is spam, many many spam, wether the article, or the comments, or even the votes. This destiny is written in its mission, users are rewarded for sharing their voice, all determined by the system. The system has some decentralized rules written in the code, to judge whether an article or comment is good, to determine the score of a vote. The result is spammers could easily pass all the rules and produce good spam to trick the system, and consequences are good articles disappear because they can’t get enough attention economy.

Spams are so popular not just because the judgement of the system, mainly the $STEEM reward. The system issues some new money everyday, to reward the users for sharing spams. Though they are new issued money, but every $STEEM in the world will be diluted every single day, so the spams are actually rewarded by all $STEEM holders though they never read that article. How come you reward something you never read? Because the system believes that spam is good and you should reward the author, you can’t find anything like this to use your money to encourage and produce spam automatically, not surprisingly the $STEEM price keeps dropping. Maybe most people actually cares about the $STEEM price instead of spam.

Steemit is a failure and deserves it, because it tries to reinvent something useless. Most blockchain projects try to do something with the technology, just because they guess the technology is cool. At most time the correct way to do things is exploring the reality to find something people actually need, and make it better with some technology. Something then technology, not technology followed by something. iPhone and Tesla are commonly treated as the most breakthrough tech innovations in recent decades, and they still follow this order.

Steemit is a failure, so are all steemits.

About the Author

Core developer of Mixin Network. Passionate about security and privacy. Strive to formulate elegant code, simple design and friendly machine.

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