Meet the Trader 04: witcoin, Necrodearia

Meet the Trader is a weekly interview I have started to help the providers of the Bitcoin economy gain exposure.

witcoin, Bitcoin meets content submission

Episode 04:  necrodearia (aka “mizerydearia”) of witcoin .

This is the story of a unique idea and the man behind its early development.

[Update:  It has come to my attention that necrodearia may be male or female.]

{ Introduction }

It’s a simple idea: witcoin is a socially driven content site like Reddit, only that when a user “replies to” or “upvotes” content–that user is contributing a fraction of a bitcoin to the author of the post. (It costs a small sum for the author to make the original post as well.)

This way, each community member has a real stake in what he or she says.  witcoin is not a zero sum game because there’s both an incentive for users to contribute quality content and a big reason for spammers/trolls to stay away.

I was drawn to this story because witcoin is a different species of web service.  It exists in this kind micro-micro-payment space.

For example, in replying to a particular post I actually made the smallest transaction of money I have ever made in my life. (Here is the link.)  My experience only validated what I already believed: that witcoin is opening the doors to a whole new arena, lighting the way for what could be the world’s first true micro-micro-economy.

As with any social site, there is the chicken and egg paradox and it goes like this:  to have users, you need content — but to have content, you need users.  witcoin is on its way to overcoming this issue, with hundreds of users, a fundamentally different contribution model, and a lead developer focused on improving the product.  It’s only a matter of time.

A couple final notes on witcoin:  1.)  Its log-in/sign-up implementation could not be simpler or more accessible.  Using OpenID, logging-in (“getting wit it”) is a breeze–the user doesn’t even need a username/password.  Web app developers take note.  Pretty slick.  2.)  It recently added an option to include charities in the distribution of proceeds, an interesting idea in and of itself…

The man, mizery, necro:

The man behind witcoin, “necrodearia” (aka “mizerydearia”), is a creative coding beast, and has churned out so many Bitcoin projects that his servers can’t host all of them simultaneously (lack of resources).

In his own words (from the interview below):

My focus for witcoin is to create a platform that allows users to profit from their participation.  I think that is the next step for community-based sites that we’ll see grow over the next few years.

But necrodearia’s roots extend beyond witcoin into a wide range of other contributions.  There are so many clients/bots/services he’s conceived; one could say that he’s the “baby-daddy” of the Bitcoin community.  It also makes him one of the community’s most dedicated and steadfast contributors.

Necro’s focused to the point of having a lopsided and slightly ironic life.  He’s smart but broke.  He’s socially withdrawn but the operator behind a social content sharing site.  I give you, necrodearia:

______________________________________________

Spencer: So “necrodearia” (aka “mizerydearia”), who the hell are you?  Where are you from?  What’s your background?

Necro: Hmm… I am …  I’m not sure who I am.  This type of question is always difficult for me.  Perhaps I can define myself by my experiences, which happen to be primarily sitting in my room (when I have one, which I do for now) at my computer either working on web development and other developmental activities or idly and enjoyingly surfing the Internet, reading amongst various other user-generated content type of sites.

I am from Milwaukee, WI, which happens to be where I am currently staying, existing, just after living in Appleton, WI for about six and a half years.  My history consists of primarily sitting at my computer desk and actively playing around with scripting, web development and sometimes games.  I used to play games quite a lot as I was younger.  Now I try to focus on more productive things.  I try, but I occasionally fail.  And if I’m not playing a game, I’m instead surfing the Internet for something amusing or entertaining, which has had an influence in my excitement for establishing witcoin as it is.

Spencer: What are your personal drivers?  Monetary gain?

Necro: Hmmm… I am not so sure.  It must be some kind of passion.  I would love to establish success from the site.  However, I kind of strive for a minimal influence of monetary gain by focusing the profit-sharing to include participating users as well as allowing for charitable donations to participating organizations and charities.  I guess what drives me is success.

I would love to become successful and not have to be concerned about struggling, but I don’t want to establish success in a way that stems from or promotes greed, evilness, lying, cheating, stealing, corruption, control, power, slav…oops, I’m rambling.

Spencer: How do you think of witcoin?  A project, a business, other? And how does that fit into your vision for witcoin?

A penny for your ideas.

Necro: Well, before and at the time that I began working on the site, I was working on a few project ideas, primarily dedicating all or most of my time towards working on them.  The same has been true for witcoin, in which I have established more passion and effort to work on and establish.  It is a kind of project that I would like to establish successfully not just for myself, but for the participating community, of which there are about 200 users so far.  In a sense, I consider it as a kind of job or responsibility:  a responsibility to continue establishing and developing the platform so that the community’s investments are worthwhile and beneficial to them.

Spencer: You are a man of many Bitcoin projects (IRC Bitbot, Stats Control Panel, MtGox Market Bot, please.bitcoin.me, and the Bitcoin Gentoo Ebuild).  Two questions:  What got you so involved with Bitcoin?  What caused you to settle down with witcoin?

Necro: Well, as I first encountered an article about Bitcoin, I became instantly excited, participating like many others by running Bitcoin miner and generating Bitcoins.  However, I additionally began using my self-established skills and interests to contribute towards the establishing Bitcoin community in ways that I enjoy.

Initially I established running an IRC bot and combined it with working on a series of statistical and informational web pages. Initially for the IRC bot I expanded developing single-serving pages displaying real-time data which users could monitor in their web browser.  A website allows for the display of more data than is suitable for an IRC environment.

When I first ran the Bitcoin client (I think version 0.2.0) I ran the Windows version using wine.  The Bitcoin client was fairly unstable and occasionally crashed causing wallet file corruption a few times.  I wasn’t able to use the linux binary in my gentoo linux environment.  So, I began learning how to write an ebuild for gentoo portage and came up with this.

After having generated some Bitcoins and also receiving various donations for my developments/contributions, I began playing with the market at Mt. Gox.  I wrote a bot using Snoopy to buy and sell for me, although, it wasn’t very profitable and I ended up losing more than I made.  Until then, most of my ideas and efforts were by myself.

[Critical connections were made that would lead to more projects and then witcoin.]

In September of last year I responded to one of noagendamarket‘s posts looking for someone to help establish a Bitcoin business directory website.  [This led to further project ideas.]  At first the projects were simple kind of like proof of concept types of sites such as http://please.bitcoin.me/ which allows users to edit the content on the page by paying a Bitcoin amount greater than or equal to the last user that submitted content.  Then I began working on a project that was more involved and in depth, Pizza4BTC, which was meant to be a pizza exchange market.  I haven’t finished it yet, but someday I would like to rewrite it.  I had initially established it using Drupal, and have found the CMS to really show how bloated and slow it can be for data intensive types of websites.  At one point and for weeks I had grown quite frustrated from the vps becoming inaccessible due to running out of memory from only about six simultaneous browser tabs to edit content nodes.  I had eventually learned to edit only one or two nodes at a time, but later decided or realized that if I were to establish the site successfully that I would have to prepare a more efficient environment/platform….

Just at the end of last year, “noagendamarket” (IRC nick) blurted out one of his ideas, witcoin.com, and I instantly recognized how exciting and amazing the idea would be.  At first the idea was a kind of question and answer site.  The idea was very similar to one that I had previously, even before encountering Bitcoin.  The idea or focus of the site has since evolved into a user-generated content type of site and I began to establish the idea of rewarding users for their content.  theymos helped me to establish the idea of distribution of profits; e.g. the cost of upvoting being equally distributed to all previous upvoters and the poster.

Armed with that idea and my excitement and determination, I dedicated all of my time to work on the site.

Spencer: In your own words, what does witcoin bring to the content sharing model?

Necro: As a user-generated content site, witcoin brings the opportunity for users to establish profits from participating in trending and hot topics, but also the opportunity to lose from participating in dying or unpopular topics.  This helps to minimize undesirable spam.

It brings in all sorts of things.  [hehe]

Thanks to “noagendamarket” (IRC nickname) for pointing out the recently submitted article on Social networks: “We’ll take data as payment.”  I think there is a noticeable distinction between social networking sites and user-generated content sites.  Both allow for user-generated content, but user-generated content sites focus less on private or personal content and more on providing awareness of trending or hot topics.  I recognize that witcoin’s profit sharing model may help to reestablish using money instead of user data as payment.

Spencer: Do you think of witcoin’s struggle as “Reddit vs witcoin?” How do you frame the competition?

Necro: Not really.  I am a fan of Reddit and also StackOverflow and have allowed their influence to help shape witcoin.  I do not consider or focus on other community sites as competitors.  My focus with witcoin is not to compete with existing sites, although there is some overlap in functionality and style of content which provides that opportunity.  Instead, I am interested in focusing on making it easy for users to profit from their content from within the environment of the site.

Many bloggers or users that submit content on user-generated content sites may not establish any profit or get paid for their submissions (content or writings).  My focus for witcoin is to create a platform that allows users to profit from their participation.  I think that is the next step for community-based sites that we’ll see grow over the next few years.  For now, I don’t think this type of idea exists at other sites.  I imagine at some point other sites will crop up providing similar ideas or implementations and additionally existing community sites will integrate profitability from participation in some fashion.

Spencer: Are you working on witcoin full time?  How is it financed?

Necro: I think it may be okay to refer to witcoin as a job.  Otherwise, I don’t have a job.  I also have no money (other than some bitcoins and witcoins).  And also recently I have been homeless and struggling to continue working on projects, not to mention other things that I normally took for granted.

As stated in my previous answer, working on witcoin, or working on Bitcoin-related projects in general (and currently dedicating my efforts solely to witcoin) must be some kind of passion, because even through struggling to survive, I still managed to find a way to continue working on projects and developing witcoin.  However, currently I am being supported by my Father, but only for living expenses.  I am unsure how much longer that will last though.  The site and projects are funded entirely by noagendamarket.  He has funded all project expenses since I initially contacted him about working on the Bitcoin business directory website.  He is not wealthy though and has his share of struggles as well, thus he has a kind of passion also!

Spencer: For witcoin, what do you need most at this moment?

Necro: On investments: Well, I am not too familiar with investments, venture capitalists and the like, and I definitely do not want to find myself or witcoin being compromised by one or more investors that manage to use their investment as a way to manipulate and gain control over the direction of the site.  Even without any investors other than noagendamarket, I have experienced some rather strong arguments regarding a particular implementation being better or more successful than another implementation.

Their efforts towards stressing the importance and value of their argument were not influenced by any monetary investment, but instead also by a kind of passion that they have for the site to succeed.  I imagine that if they had established offering a monetary investment and were to argue similarly, that it would complicate things and potentially result in an awkward situation, at least initially.  However, it may be useful or beneficial to establish investments.  I’m not sure.  I am inexperienced in the world of business, yet, I don’t want to be taken advantage of, and I feel it’s fairly easy to do so.  So I will probably remain skeptical and inquisitive about any potential investment offers.

On content: The site could always use more content, however, I think more content will come from more users, which will come from the site establishing as a platform that attracts and entices users at their own efforts and interests.  I don’t want to implement the site poorly or prematurely, “spamvertise” it everywhere and expect and obnoxiously strive for more users and content.  That would be obnoxious.  Many Internet users have evolved successfully enough to recognize such obnoxiousness.  However, there are many more that seem to still remain naive and gullible and even argue supportive of their naivety and gullibility not entirely aware of it.  Many times I am naive and gullible too, but if you’re a venture capitalist …..

On translators: Recently I have been looking for translators specifically for the help document that briefly (for now) explains how the site works.  Eventually I will establish better multi-lingual support so that non-English content producers may also participate at the site in their native languages.

I think publicity for the site will come when the site is worthy of publicity.  It is like trending and hot topics that appear at user-generated content sites.  I intend on establishing witcoin as a platform that is worthy of such publicity.  At least, I think I will or that it will be possible.  The site is unique and I believe it is the first to establish a profit sharing model without advertising revenue.

Spencer: Thanks for your time and doing this interview!

Necrodearia (mizerydearia): Thanks for the interview, it was fun answering.  ^_^

 

- End of Interview

 

Mizery would like to thank  theymos, noagendamarket, ducki2p, tcatm for their contributions to witcoin, its design, promotion, and underlying ideas.

Personal thanks to: ducki2p and sgornick for help with some of the questions.

 

If you would like to be interviewed, please contact me here.

For those of you that have yet to build your service, remember to tell me when your finished!

 

 

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