Moving from Decentrex to EtherDelta

So, I’ve been having problems with Decentrex over the last few weeks, where sell and buy orders don’t seem to stick. I’ve decided to change exchanges so that it’s easier for people to buy and sell EvanCoin.

You can still keep using EvanCoin on Decentrex; I can’t and won’t keep people from trading EvanCoin wherever they want. But the links on evancoin.com are now pointing to the EVAN-ETH exchange on EtherDelta.

I don’t know what the problem is with Decentrex, and I don’t know if people should use it or not. But I’m shifting to a more reliable platform for me.

Well, that was exciting

It’s been a pretty whirlwind few weeks, and I realized I haven’t updated this blog in a while. I want to give an update on what’s been happening with EvanCoin and what’s going to happen next.

Press coverage

The big news is that there was an article by Scott Rosenberg in Backchannel on WIRED about EvanCoin, “This Techie Is Using Blockchain to Monetize his Time“. It’s a well-written article, but I expect nothing less from Scott, who is one of the most thoughtful people writing about technology today.

This triggered a whole stream of press coverage. Rusty Blazenhoff did a story at Boing Boing, “Buy this guy’s time with his own personal cryptocurrency“. And Matt Levine scolded my economics in “Coal Mines, Robots and Psychopaths“.¬† I think he’s wrong, and I’ll say why in a future blog post.

There’s also a long and libelous Slashdot thread, because yes, there is still a Slashdot.

Circulation

All this press attention meant that a lot of the cheap EvanCoin has sold out on Decentrex. Only a few of EvanCoin in the 0.15 ETH (~US$45) sell order are still available. The price will probably go up this week.

I’ve also had a flood of requests for free EvanCoin¬† from total strangers. Most have explained what they would use my time for, and for those I’ve given 15 or 30 or 60 minutes of my time. Others have asked for tens or hundreds of EvanCoin, without explanation, and then got cheesed off when I said no.

Them: “Work for free for me for hundreds of hours?”

Me: “No.”

Them: “You’re a jerk!”

What next

I wrapped up the 30-day challenge that led to EvanCoin last week. Overall, I’ve been happy with the results. Probably the big thing that I’ve enjoyed was realizing how little code I really needed to do to get this project off the ground. The other thing that’s been great is stimulating conversation with my friends, family, and Internet strangers about the tangled knot of time, friendship, work and money that EvanCoin represents.

I’m going to continue to sell EvanCoin (there are still hundreds of hours available on Decentrex) and redeem EvanCoin for hours of my time. I’m also going to give it to people and projects that I want to devote my time and attention to.

I don’t think the project requires a lot more technical work, though. I still have to configure the code to automatically burn¬† one month’s worth of hours as each month goes by, but once that’s done, I think I’m finished with code for EvanCoin. I’m not going to work more on the marketplace code, since there are already good ERC20 token marketplaces like Decentrex I can leverage.

If there’s anything I’d like to do, it’s to make giving away EvanCoin easier. It’s 2017, and telling someone to set up an Ethereum wallet and send me their address is just too hard for most people, still. I’m going to experiment with doing paper wallets, or putting wallets on USB keys, so I can physically give them away whenever I feel like it. But it’d be nice to figure out an easy way to send them by email, Twitter DM, or Facebook Messenger.

Thanks for reading this far. Hope you’re finding this process as interesting as I am. I’ll keep you posted as news develops.

Almost done with the deeply discounted hours

It’s been interesting seeing the level of activity on the Decentrex EvanCoin/ETH market this weekend. Several more trades have been made, some of which I cleared by hand others of which were cleared automatically. All the small lots of $15 EvanCoin have been scooped up, and now the bigger lot is decreasing. Soon, we’ll be moving into real prices!

I also took some time today to put EvanCoin into an EtherDelta EvanCoin/ETH market. ED seems like a fork of the Decentrex codebase, or maybe an ancestor, but since Vitalik Buterin apparently uses it I figured there was some cachet in having a coin for sale there. I put up 25 EvanCoin for the next discounted price above $15.

Oh, and I got a friendly poke from my friend Michael Lewkowitz, who bought an hour and is figuring out what he’s going to do with it. Cool.

I’ve also been reaching out to projects that I work on to offer EvanCoin to be managed by the project lead — pump.io, ActivityPub, and also the SocialWG at the W3C. My friend and colleague there, Sandro Hawke, agreed to take over the management of my remaining time — about 40 hours spread over the next 3 months or so.

I’ve got a few more people to reach out to. Hopefully they’ll be willing to put up with some hassle in exchange for my time.

Paying to have lunch with Evan

I’ve had quite a few questions from friends and strangers about some of the uses of Evancoin. Why would I make someone pay me a coin to have coffee or lunch together?

I guess this comes down to confusion about what I and other entrepreneurs do on a daily basis. In any one week, I meet with 3-5 people for coffee or lunch to talk about their start-up, investment fund or other technology project. I’ll have advice, give ideas, and offer to help with connections or other follow-up help.

Partly I do this because it helps build my network. People I help out this way often have ways to help me in the future.

Partly it’s for friends or friends-of-friends. They’re people I care about and who I want to succeed.

Partly it’s curiosity. I like finding out about new things.

And partly it’s altruism. Especially for Open Source projects or for first-time entrepreneurs, I want to see them make it, and avoid mistakes I’ve made.

I think of these sessions as donations of my time. And it’s not insignificant. Like I said, about 3-5 hours a week. For average projects, I’ll put in 5-10 hours of work overall to help move a company or project along.

So, I think it could be fun or interesting to formalize this process by literally giving 5-10 Evancoin to founders, funders and project leaders I meet. Most of the people I meet with are technologically sophisticated and interested in crypto-currencies.

It also gives me a chance to check myself. At my current consulting rates, these commitments are worth thousands of dollars. Am I really willing to invest or donate that amount of time into each project?

Putting a price tag, if only in hours, makes it more explicit for me. And those decisions get clearer. And, also, it provides a filter. People who don’t want to play along probably aren’t my kind of people.

Would I meet with investors, founders or Open Source leaders who had bought Evancoin on the market, instead of receiving a donation directly from me? Yes, definitely. In fact, I think it would give both sides more of a sense that we had to use the time wisely.

For me, social and business engagements sometime overlap. But they are distinct in a lot of ways. I’m not going to charge my kids to play catch or make my Mom send me 0.25 Evancoin for a phone call.

I hope this clarifies things. I think it’s caused a lot of unnecessary consternation.

Ethical use of time

I had an interview request today from a broadcast news network asking about Evancoin. I told them it sounded like a 2-hour commitment so I would send them 2 Evancoin for free and they could spend them as they see fit.

They wrote back that their journalistic ethics require that they don’t exchange money of any kind with the interviewees!

I’m still doing the interview, but we won’t be exchanging Evancoin. I think it’s kind of hilarious that they feel free to spend my time, but not if we formalize it with the exchange of a digital token.

EvanCoin is active

I woke up this morning with quite a few requests for free EvanCoin. I’m happy to do this for people I know or for groups I support. If I can have lots of EvanCoin circulating, it boosts the value and makes it a real currency.

I also had some sales activity on Decentrex! I realize there’s a steep curve to actually getting EvanCoin, so I was glad to see that it moved.

If you’re interested in following how EvanCoin is moving, I recommend checking out the cool EVAN token tracker on etherscan.io.

EvanCoin is live!

So, I’ve finally launched EvanCoin. The contract is live on the Ethereum blockchain, which means that anyone can start buying and trading EvanCoin immediately.

That’s the idea, anyway. Right now, my account holds the vast majority of EvanCoin that’s available. But I’ve put some available for sale on Decentrex in the EvanCoin/ETH marketplace.

I decided to give some incentive to people who try it out quickly, by making about 20 hours available at a living wage (about US$15). I then did a gradually increasing set of sell offers at different rates, up to my current consulting rate.

In order to make this work, I’ve written up some how-to guides.

Please feel free to let me know what you think. I’m excited to start using this currency for matching my time.

I don’t need to do my own marketplace

After looking around, I realized there are already some distributed token marketplaces available. I had thought they’d be as complicated as trading national currencies for cryptocurrencies, which is a major pain. But, in fact, there are some relatively easy-to-use apps for trading crypto tokens.

The one I like the best is Decentrex.com, an open source marketplace. It’s got a terrible UI, but it lets you add arbitrary tokens to the marketplace, so it’s probably a good place to start.

So, new new new design is just a regular ERC20 token, which I’ll offer for sale on Decentrex.com and maybe other exchanges. I’m going to make it burnable, so on a regular basis I can burn some of my own balance so that the total supply stays about equal to the number of hours until October 1, 2063.

I feel close to where I want to be with this. So I’m going to push the token soon. Wish me luck!

Getting down to work

So, I spent a lot of time working on the design I spec’d out in a marketplace for hours as digitally unique objects.

Working with Truffle is fun and interesting. It’s a great system for building applications on Ethereum, and I’ve learned a lot using it.

I started off building a marketplace with asks and bids for individual hours of my time. You can see the resulting contract at evanp/marketplace on Github. Ultimately I realized that it had a few problems.

  • It’s not really scalable. It’s unlikely that the value of one of my hours is going to go up an order of magnitude or more over the next couple of decades. That’s just not how time works.
  • It’s complex.
  • It’s trying to fit a lot of out-of-band communications into the contract.

So, I decided to do a simpler design. I’m back to doing an ERC20 token, which means that EvanCoin will work inside your Mist wallet, in Metamask, and in other (?) wallet clients. It also means that it can be traded externally. I’m going to initially have 45 years worth of hours, most of which I will keep.

But I also decided to implement an ask/bid market system, so you can buy and sell EvanCoin (for Ether) directly through the contract and the related front-end app. Instead of doing a crowdsale, I’m just going to make a large initial ask of a few hundred hours, which should make it “easy” for people to buy hours at a reasonable price.

(“Easy” defined as “easy if you already have Ether.”)

My hope is that if I tokenise this time, and put good effort into supporting the currency, I can make it scale past what its value would be otherwise. I’ll still accept EvanCoin as payment, but maybe other people will find EvanCoin valuable as an exchange mechanism, too.

My big concern about the version I have now is security. I want to make sure it’s as close to bulletproof as humanly possible. Hopefully a lot of eyes will help make that the case. I am still shooting for a 1 Oct 2017 launch, but I’d rather have a review before that time. I might launch on one of the test networks at first just to shake out any vulnerabilities.

I have a number of outstanding issues to resolve, and I need to finish the Web interface, but I’m feeling very positive about this version. Code is at evanp/evancoin and I’ll have a sample version up on the Web “soon”.

Getting started with Truffle

I’ve been getting a little daunted by the amount of work it will take to get this design going. I was really happy to see the awesome Truffle Framework for making Ethereum applications.

I’ve been reading through the tutorials and I think it will be nontrivial but tractable to get a calendar app + marketplace working.

I’m looking forward to putting together a first version on a test network over the next few days. Wish me luck!