A guide to Hive - from my experience
I have helped lots of people to get started on this platform. If you are not used to blockchain platforms then it can be very confusing. I will try to answer questions a newbie might have. My plan is to keep updating this post rather than creating lots. I lose out on rewards doing it that way, but I think it is better to have everything in one place. Feel free to correct me on anything or suggest things to add.
I am not an expert at all the financial aspects of Hive, but I can still earn and enjoy it. I hope this can build into a reference to help others do the same.
A lot of this information can also be found in existing documentation. I would recommend looking at:
If anyone wants to translate this then please go ahead. I just ask that you mention me, but if you can allocate me a share of the rewards that would be great.
Welcome to Hive
I am assuming you have just acquired an account. Number one priority is to secure your keys. If you lose control of them then you have no access, but someone else may. The owner/master key should only be used for tasks like changing your keys. Never enter it into a site you have not verified. Ideally you should store it somewhere off-line such as a flash drive, with a backup.
You should get the Hive Keychain extension or mobile app to store your posting, active and memo keys. Then you should not have to actually give your key to dapps (distributed apps). You will just have to give your used name and confirm the transaction to log in. Various blockchain actions, especially those involving moving funds require a transaction to be signed and so you will have to confirm those too.
The various keys are as follows. You will want at least Posing and Active set up in Keychain:
- Owner: Keep this very safe as it controls all the others. You should only need this when changing your keys. Otherwise never enter it online.
- Active: Used for any financial operations such as transfers.
- Posting: Used for posting, commenting and voting.
- Memo: It is possible to encrypt a message in a funds transfer and this with decode it.
A few dapps use Hive Signer instead. This stores the keys within the browser, but give it the lowest level access necessary.
You may find at first you cannot comment much as you run out of Resource Credits. This is like a battery that powers your account and it needs time to recharge. That happens quicker when you have some Hive Power. If you have none then you can get a free temporary delegation from Gift Giver. I often delegate to new people to get them started. Power up anything you earn and you can stay active.
If you need an account
There is a cost to creating a Hive account, so generally you will have to either pay or give some personal information such as an email address. There are various ways to create an account:
- Signup for Hive lists several.
- LeoFinance allows you to create one based on your Facebook or Twitter account.
- If you have a friend with enough Resource Credits they can create an account for you, but make sure you update the keys.
How do I make money?
This is likely to be one of the first questions. Hive is a blockchain, somewhat like Bitcoin, but unlike many blockchains it allows anyone to earn, so you do not need to actually buy any of the cryptocurrency to get started. When you create a blog post on Hive people can vote on it for a week, after which it will be assigned a share of the daily rewards. How much you get depends on how large a stake those voters hold.
Your funds in Hive fall into one of three main types:
- HIVE (using caps to distinguish from the platform) is the main currency. When it is in 'liquid' form (not powered up) you can transfer it to another account with zero fees in just a few seconds. The value fluctuates according to how the markets feel.
- Hive Power (HP) is the 'staked' form of HIVE. You 'power up' to get it. This determines the value of your vote. When a post pays out a share goes to those who voted for it, so as well as rewarding others your can earn from voting. Be very aware that it takes thirteen weeks to totally 'power down', so be sure you do not need the funds urgently. This is partly to prevent speculation by moving between HIVE and HP to take account of price changes. You do earn a form of interest on your HP.
- Hive Backed Dollars (HBD) is a sort of stable coin that is supposed to stay at around $1. I do not fully understand how that is done, but there will be posts about it. You can move HBD to savings where it earns interest. The rate may seem good, but with careful curation you can earn about as much from voting and holding HP.
Depending on the state of the market your post may pay out in a combination of these three, but there is an option to get it all as HP.
NOTE: The rewards shown on a post are what is split between creator and curators, so you will only get about half that amount after a week.
Some cryptocurrency exchanges support HIVE so you can trade it there. One of the main witnesses is Blocktrades who offer a simple tool to convert HIVE or HBD to other cryptocurrencies.
There are various ways to convert cryptocurrency to fiat (£/$/€ etc). I use Wirex by using Blocktrades to convert HIVE to Litecoin and send it to my card.
What is a dapp?
Distributed apps are those built on a blockchain and Hive has dozens. You can find most listed on Hive Projects. I will summarise some of the main categories.
These dapps let you read, post, comment and vote the social posts of Hive. They all have the same basic functions, so you should try them and see which feels most comfortable.
- Hive.blog is the default interface, but it still offers all you really need.
- Peakd is my preferred desktop web interface. It has more options for how you view posts and tools to view your stats.
- Ecency has a web interface as well as desktop and mobile apps. By using it you earn tokens that can be used to 'boost' posts.
The are also specialised front ends that are dedicated to particular topics or forms of content. Some have their own tokens you can earn as well as HIVE:
- 3speak is a video platforms much like Youtube.
- Leo Finance is all about money, including cryptocurrencies.
- STEMGeeks covers science, technology, engineering and maths (or math if you prefer).
More are listed here.
I will say more about blogging later.
There are lots of games on Hive. In these you can earn tokens that can be exchange for HIVE (see below). The games will use the Hive blockchain to hold details of transactions of tokens as well as game items so it is not possible to people to take them from you. I only play a few of the games, so I do not have experience of all of them. These include:
- Splinterlands is a monster battling card game and the biggest blockchain game out there with hundreds of thousands of players. You choose a set of cards to compete against an opponent, with various criteria, and can win tokens as well as items that include cards. Some of the cards sell for huge amounts. You do have to pay for an initial pack to start playing.
- Rising Star is based around the music industry. You start as a humble busker and work your way up by running missions. You can buy cards to speed your progress. It is what some may call an 'idle game' in that there is not a lot of interaction, but you still need to find a strategy to progress. There are various optional elements to earn or collect special cards. It is free to start playing.
Other games are listed here.
There are lots of online tools to monitor your account. These include:
- Hive Now
- Hive Tasks
- Hive Buzz. This also shows you badges you can earn for achieving various milestones with your account as well as for attending events. Those badges have no monetary value, but people like them anyway.
Should I blog?
Not everyone may consider themselves a blogger, but it is a way that anyone can earn on Hive. It is not necessarily somewhere you would post personal stuff such as pictures of your kids as there are no privacy controls like some of the other platforms. Everything is public and unfiltered. That means people can be nasty if they want to, so it may not be suitable for young kids. Pretty much anything goes, so you can find porn there as well as recipes, art, travel, gaming, politics and anything else you can think of.
I always tell people to make it fun, so you should follow people whose content you enjoy. I would recommend looking at what others do before you dive in. Do not expect to make a lot initially as you have to build an audience. You can do that by engaging with what others do.
A good place to start are the many communities. Many are dedicated to a particular topic. There are some where people just post hoping to get votes, but you may get less engagement there. Note that most communities have rules and moderators can exclude you for breaking those. Peakd and Ecency have the option to cross-post to communities so you do not need to (and should not) duplicate a post. Cross-posting makes a post appear in multiple places, but only earns once. That can get it seen by more people, but putting it in too many may be considered spam.
There are also many contests offering prizes. With those too you need to check the rules.
The main parts of a post are:
- The title. This should be something attention grabbing, but be honest rather than spammy.
- The content. This can include text, images, video (from 3speak, Youtube or elsewhere) and audio (Soundcloud). See this guide on embedding from other sites. Having at least one image can be useful as this appears in the feed. Formatting is done with Markdown, but can include HTML too. This post has lots of tips on formatting.
- Tags. These are used to help categorise your post, but some can also earn you extra tokens. You should only use tokens that are applicable to the content.
You can post about whatever you like, but you should bear in mind that others will decide the value.
By default posts will pay out in 50% Hive Power and 50% and liquid funds. If you intend to mostly power up you can set a default of 100% HP rewards in the Peakd and Hive.blog settings.
Even if you do not write many posts you should still comment. That can gain you followers and comments can earn good rewards. Make your comments sincere and build conversations rather than just saying variations of 'Nice post!'.
Things to not do
We do have freedom on Hive, but activities that can be seen as cheating or that would bring the platform into disrepute are frowned upon. This is where the dreaded downvotes come into play. Rewards can be removed as well as added and the community gets to decide the value. Any of the following may attract downvotes. Votes affect your reputation score and if it is driven low enough your content is hidden by default. Some such activities include:
- Plagiarism is taking content by others and presenting it as your own. You can include text and images by others, but you must give attribution and the post should be mostly original content. Some people are very good at tracking down plagiarism even when it is translated from another language.
- Impersonation is pretending to be someone else and we have have plenty of apparent celebrities appear who turned out to be fakes. One way to prove your identity is to link to your Hive account from another site you control that can be trusted. That could be a social media account with lots of followers. You can verify yourself with Hive Watchers. They are a group who look out for abuse of the platform. You really do not want to get on their blacklist.
- Abusing votes. People will try all sorts of activities such as voting for themselves (including via proxies). Your post rewards are supposed to be based on what others think. There are bots that give out votes for using a tag, but ensure your post is valid for that tag or you may get blacklisted.
- Recycling content. Posting the same item again is frowned upon unless there are major revisions. This is why it is important to build your audience before posting all you have.
- Attacking others. If you are going to start fights then be ready for trouble, especially if it is with a big account. They can wipe you out if they want to.
- If you post more than you comment then you are doing Hive wrong. Engage!
Basically if you try to cheat the system you are likely to be found out.
When you start off you will probably have very little HP, so I would not worry too much about voting. Your voting power decreases with each vote and gradually recharges. You can give ten full votes per day and be back to full in 24 hours. You can check your voting power in some of the dapps and I suggest keeping it above 70%. When your vote is small I would suggest just voting on posts rather than comments as there is a payout threshold.
Accounts can delegate HP to boost your vote. You can get a temporary boost from Gift Giver. If you delegate to certain accounts they will pay you, but you may prefer to keep control over what you vote on.
You can automate your vote with Hive Vote to vote for everything someone posts or to follow the voting trail of someone else. To maximise your returns you need to be a content discoverer. If you vote on something before the big guns get there then you make more.
I have mentioned that you can earn various tokens from games and by using tags. These can be traded on Hive Engine. As with any exchange prices can fluctuate. Some tokens can be staked to allocate them to posts you vote on. Others allow for giving of tips via comments. A recent addition is Hivebits that can give you a token once per day if you use a command in a comment.
I suggest looking into the various tokens and see what tags others use. Some are for specific purposes and you can get blacklisted for abusing them.
I see people who seem to be relying mostly on such tags to earn, but I would always recommend trying to get human followers who will vote for you. Otherwise your earning potential can be very limited. I see some just boosting their posts with Ecency tokens that they buy, but that may have a low profit margin.
Hive Engine uses a form of HIVE called SWAP.HIVE. They charge 1% to convert between those, but Bee Swap charges 0.25% or HivePay at 0.2%. You can buy and sell tokens for SWAP.HIVE. You should check the prices and amounts available when doing this. It may appear that a token has a high value, but that may just mean that someone is trying to sell it at a high price and there may not be any buyers.
The witnesses are the people who process the blockchain. This can be done on a powerful PC and they do get paid for it. The users get to vote for up to thirty witnesses. The top ones earn the most and also get to decide what changes should be applied to the system. Check the list and see what they do. You can select someone as a witness voting proxy for you.
You can see who I vote for if you scroll down on my Hiveblocks page. I do update my votes from time to time. You should check if witnesses have gone inactive and try to use all thirty votes.
A lot of discussion about Hive projects happens over on Discord to avoid cluttering up the blockchain, so get an account and go there if you cannot find the help you need in posts. Most are very helpful to newbies.
I will include links to other posts that are worth a read:
- Good list of tips. Covers lots of topics over a series of posts.
- Hive tipping tokens. You can give people something even if you do not have much HP.
- Discussions of the unwritten rules. What is allowed on Hive is not always clear and opinions will vary.
I always say this to people. When you start our on Hive you may not make much, so you try to enjoy it as you would other social media that does not pay you at all. Get your friends on board and seek out others who share your interests. We have people from all over the world and so you may well make new friends. There have been international meetups (both physical and virtual) where you can actually talk to these people. This is a social platform and being anti-social will not get you far.