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Did I Say We Were Back? That Was Hubris

An entirely new work crisis has developed; the only good news is this one won’t steal time for me any later than tomorrow. As it stands, I have time to point you at something interesting, and then back to the crisis.

Rob Balder of Erfworld has bee cranking out a deep story with huge amounts of lore (and terrible, terrible in-jokes) for more’n ten years now. For most of that time, he’s been trying to find ways to pay for the strip’s art contributors and support himself via a non-sucky mechanism. Having finally had it with his ad networks pulling crap that is beneath contempt (pop-unders, sound, fake virus scams), Balder is trying something new. It’s kinda premised on being able to ride what’s likely fake money, but bonus points for a) trying something new; b) to keep crappy ads away from his users, and c) gamifying it.

He’s letting his reader voluntarily mine cryptocurrency:

It definitely worked in alpha. We mined enough Ethereum to be worth it. Not everybody’s computer could manage it, but nobody’s computer broke, and there’s no reason it should have. We learned some things that let us make a plan. Everybody who participated in the test got sent some goodies (thanks Renter, Bandaid, Danielle, Omnimancer & sdub!) and I created the Special: Digging badge for them:

There’s the gamification; Balder’s created a displayable badge within the forum structure at Erfworld, and if you mine Etherium for support of the site, you get the badge, and you get a random chance at other shinies you can show off. He’s got his users organized into teams, with bragging rights associated for the team that does more successfully. He’s got a trading mechanism set up. And a day into the beta, it appears to be working.

I’m deeply dubious that Balder can keep ahead of the crash points and the scams and the instability and rampant thievery that are endemic to cryptocurrency¹. I’m deeply troubled that the environmental overheads in crypto mining (as a whole) are causing measurable and accelerating damage to our commons (ie: Earth) and contributing to global climate change. I can’t fault him for trying, but I also can’t but help hope that he finds something better to meet his costs (and food, and rent) quickly.

Spam of the day:

Navigating the Next Phase of the Influencer Era

Shut up, shut up, shut up, I hate you douchecanoes.

¹ Although it is hilarious to watch the religiously-fervent cryptobros learn firsthand why financial regulatory schemes exist.

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