Devcoin Review - An Ethical Digital Currency
A Beginner's Guide to Devcoin
Devcoin is an ethical digital currency designed to support open source projects and creative commons media producers. It was one of the first 'alt coins' to be created as an alternative to Bitcoin, and remains one of just two digital currencies whose initial distribution, by which I mean the creation of new currency units and the process to decide who gets them, is geared towards rewarding people for making a valuable contribution to society rather than rewarding people for owning powerful 'mining' computers (the other being Ripple's XRP, which is given to people who donate their personal computer's spare power to science).
The Devcoin 'cryptocurrency' was created in 2011, and based on the 'blockchain' technology of Bitcoin. This means that users can store coins in a software wallet on their computer (or online or in an app with a third party service provider), and send them as payment to people using the wallets' community verified encrypted communications.
A generous 90% of all Devcoins which are created are given free to people who create free open source software and hardware projects, or free creative commons media such as writing, music, videos and so on. This means that many people earn Devcoins rather than buying them - something which sets it apart from other digital currencies and lowers the barriers to new people getting involved. You can earn Devcoins from anywhere in the world by contributing to open source and creative commons projects (see below). You can also send Devcoins to anybody in the world over the internet, or use them to pay for products from a small but growing number of online stores.
The other 10% is given to 'miners' who are needed to maintain the distributed operation of the system.
Interestingly, the Devcoin community has a long term ambition to create an open source spacecraft capable of taking two people into space and back!
Woah, Wait Up - What the Hell is 'Open Source' Anyway?
I understand that not all of you will know what I actually mean by 'open source', so here is a brief explanation.
If somebody invents a new product, and then makes all of the inner workings of that product freely available online so that anybody else can make their own, or tweak it to create a spin-off or improvement, then it is said to be 'open source'.
The term itself comes from the 'source code' used to run computer programs, because the idea originally came from software developers. There are now loads of large and successful open source software projects. which are usually given away for free as consumer products as well as having their source code available for other developers.
Today there are also many open source hardware projects, which empower anybody to build their own version of a product at home based on freely available blueprints.
The open source movement is closely related to the development of creative commons copyright licenses. A creative commons copyright, which can be applied to any media, means that a creative work is given away for free for anybody to enjoy, use and build upon. Sometimes there are no restrictions placed on this, sometimes the original creator stipulates that they must be given a name-check called an 'attribution'.
Open source and creative commons projects have already done a huge amount to foster a spirit of innovation and cooperation, as well as providing consumers with a wide range of free products.
Do You Support Open Source?
Writing for Devtome & Devcoin Bounties
There are many ways that you can earn Devcoins. One way is to complete one of the tasks on the list of official 'bounties'. If you are a software developer this is a great way to earn money whilst contributing to the success of open source projects.
You can also earn Devcoins for writing on the Devtome wiki. Anybody can request an account on Devtome, where you can publish articles on any subject you wish. Any article published on the Devtome wiki is obviously made available under a creative commons license.
In order to receive payment for your writing you must have the Devcoin wallet installed on your computer. Payments are sent out monthly, and depend on the number of words you ave written on the site, the number of people who read your articles, and the quality of your work (correct spelling and grammar are required to get the highest payout level).
The great thing about writing for Devtome is that you can earn a good wage for your work whilst also getting that warm feeling that comes from supporting a worthy cause.