A comparison of my 'hourly return' blogging compared to curating

in LeoFinance2 months ago

It's obvious that the efficiency of return on curation by autovote (CAV) or delegation is far greater than the efficiency of return on blogging (assuming you don't have a stats-bot-post thing going on), but just how much more efficient?

Below I do a brief comparison of my hourly rate for blogging, compared to curation, and then discuss whether it's worth tweaking my autovotes for a relatively small improvement in curation returns.

I took the author and curation reward stats from Hive Stats - factoring in both this account and @revise.leo. The 30 day period mentioned below is from the 28th June to 27th July.


Author rewards

As an author on Hive and LEO I’ve received the following dollar value equivalent of tokens in the last 30 days:

  • $245 in Hive
  • $16.61 in LEO
  • Total = $261

I made around 35 posts in that period, and over the last month a post on average took me about 90 mins to research/ write/ format/ publish.

35 posts, 1.5 hours per post = $5 an hour.

So that’s $5 in voluntary donations for every hour of effort I’ve put into blogging.

Curation rewards

As a curator on Hive and LEO I’ve received the following dollar value equivalent of tokens in the last 30 days:

  • $75 in Hive
  • $12 in LEO =
  • Total = $89

It’s actually quite difficult to work out my returns per hour on curation as I do a mixture of manual voting (MV) and auto-voting (AV), and if I were to include reading and voting manually, that’s several hours over the course of the month, and ironically those hours are lowering my return compared to the more mercenary AVing!

For the sake of ease, I’m going to be mercenary here and just assume all of my curation tokens are being allocated through auto-votes – because I’m interested in a maximum efficiency scenario, and AV is generally going to get you a higher return than MV, unless you’re a community moderator in charge of a vote trail and front run it.

Now setting up and maintaining an AV trail isn’t effort-free, because if you want to maintain a decent return rate of around 12% you need to research and tweak, and I spend around 30 minutes every month checking on some of my curation returns from certain authors and adjusting accordingly,

The main reason I spend time tweaking is because curation returns are dynamic and so they change depending on how and when everyone else votes, so I have to tweak my vote timings from time to time to keep the returns up.

NB I’m not that mercenary, as return isn’t the only reason I AV.

At around 30 minutes a month, my curation returns me around $180 per hour of effort.

OK once you factor in the initial time it takes to learn about AVing and to pick up the knowledge of who to vote for, that hourly donation rate will come down, but that initial time is fixed, so you still end up with a very high hourly rate for curation.

Is it worth doing the research to improve my AV curation return ?

I've noticed recently, thanks to Hive Stats with some sense of shame that my Hive curation return is down to 11.8% - I’m not really sure why, I’ve hardly touched anything and a month ago that was up at 14%.

(Most of that 30 monthly mins tweaking curation last month was spent looking at LEO curation returns, which are more than double that 11.8% figure.)

So, if I wanted to get my vote return back up to 14%, or beyond, would it be worth the time investment?

If I were to invest a couple of hours to simply research who gets the best return on who and then change my autovote to front-run 10-20 so 'mega auto-curators' by a fraction, I could increase my curation return by around 3%, but a 3% increase is only around another $5 a month, and I’m not convinced that increase would stick just from a one-off effort.

I also can’t be arsed to deal with gaming curation, it’s not something I enjoy enough for that little extra return, it’s really a case of diminishing marginal returns – I can earn a 12% return for next to no effort, and 15% for quite a lot more effort.

Not to mention the fact that I'd probably have to vote for people I don't actually want to vote for!

Final Thoughts

When you look at the following it’s obvious that the most efficient way to be gifted Hive tokens is to buy Hive and get curating through Auto-voting – to look at my hourly rate as an example…..

  • Blogging = $5/ hour
  • Curation = $180/ hour

Then it makes no sense blogging for Hive.

However, that’s a bit of a false comparison, because it’s not as if I can make more through curation by increasing the hours I put in, only by very marginal amounts of fine-tweaking, then the hourly rate comes down rapidly.

In short, there is hardly any capacity for me to earn more by curating, other than by buying more Hive. And the above doesn’t take account of the fact that some of my curation is manual, if I factored that in, the hourly rates would be very similar.

There’s much more scope for me to earn through blogging more ATM than curating, as evidenced by the fact that I’m gifted twice as much for blogging efforts as compared to curation efforts, even if it’s a much worse hourly rate.

And let’s not forget that being gifted $5 an hour for a hobby is one thing, but when Hive goes to $2 that’s $50 an hour, and that’s some serious gifting!

I also enjoy blogging, I don’t really enjoy tweaking for higher curation yields, I’m just not that good at the later! So I’ll settle for writing for donations and then an OK curation return, cheers!

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When you can double your stake with one post that is successful, particularly if you're a small account, that's a higher ROI.

If you have 5 hive power, and then get 5 hive power in rewards from blogging, you've doubled your stake in one fell swoop. You can't do that with curation. @forykw touched on this in their comment.

There comes a time (and a place) where blogging in search of pure financial returns and looking at it as an actuarial equation definitely reveals a deficiency (where staked hive power nets a higher increase than your blog) - but some creators (who are not here to milk the system - ie, take rewards then power down, and cash out) - create because they must.

When I say "must" - because the creative beast within them cannot be satiated any other way. Sharing that, leaving a legacy and getting that creative beast fed however they can. That's how I feel about my presence on the blockchain.

I've got an opportunity to leave a chaotic, rambling legacy of my quest to suck at as many things as possible. Since joining the community, I've made a game, continued writing video game reviews, explored my social and political opinions, and grown through developing relationships with others I'd never ordinarily associate with.

I've also built the confidence to go and ask complete strangers to stand in front of my camera while I fiddle with lights and dials and spinny lens things - all in the name of documenting my existence as a human, and obtaining some reward (through the engagement on my content) - and whatever the figures on the "Wallet" tab of my peakd profile represent.

I'm building me.

In between your wise thoughts, I have been writing, VERY SLOWLY my post... but now because of your update, I need to link you up too =) LOL

If I keep like this, in 2021 I will get a post done referencing the entire HIVE blockchain on comments/posts/ideas I have read and wish to discuss/comment.

Anyway, this is why I love this community. Always enjoying learning with others.

I look forward to seeing that!

There's so many ways to look at the things this place spawns - relationships, content, community, trolling, drama, whatever. It creates, and documents the human interactions we all have in pristine, audit-oozing detail. It's a anthropological dream, provided you can separate the bots from the flesh and bone.

🤩your wording style comeplety amazes me! - have you written any books?

I wrote a thesis in university, and at the time, a "straight to steem" novel. It's somewhere in my history on chain. I also wrote another book about a deeply despairing adolescent called "Melanie's Fall" - its broken into chapters on chain, as well.


Here's the first chapter, you'll have to convert the links at the bottom of each post that point the next one. :)

I mark this down with #NeedToCheck and look at it later. Thanks for it.

No rush :)

That's an interesting way of looking at things, I use Hive to out my more personal thoughts on the chain too, it's a great place to do it, I don't intend to stop.

One thing I love about this place is the crazy wild west diversity of it!

I just wish more people would stick around!

Smear them up with honey. The sugar will make 'em stick.

I don't think to be fair, comparing auto-voting with manual posting. I would rather select the ones that you curated manually and then compare. And I think statistically it will still favour your curation, but only because you already have a good deal of invested (powered up) HIVE. For small accounts, blogging will make a huge difference, especially if curated by someone like you or me (I am small-medium, but have some impact too).

So, in essence, because it's the good content that provides the opportunity for great curations, new accounts are basically being incentivised to create great content, because big curators are effectively looking for that.

I know that between this theory and the practicality of things goes a different story, but I like to think that we are improving towards that path.

True, and when I want to grow my AV returns as a small account, but don’t have the funds to buy more hive, then the best way to grow it is from author rewards.

Small accounts need to be producers and the bigger your hive power holding is, the more you are able to become a consumer.

I could have added in what you said to my concluding thoughts, I agree, curation returns depend entirely on Vests!

You're right that for smaller accounts, blogging is a much better way to earn.

If I had the technical skills to sort out MV from AV that would be an interesting analysis.

NB I am aware it's a bit of unfair comparison, but sometimes I just enjoy comparing 'that which should not be compared'!

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In terms of efficiency, AV definitely stands out without a doubt. I have been MIA for two months plus and now back in action which brings me back to almost ground zero to start with. Yet, I see blogging is not just about the money but the contents that I created. It can be valuable when it acts as a thought record or some experience sharing and even marketing materials. Thus, it is earning us both money and also influence (consistency comes in crucial). So by combining both, it is something pretty promising! Without good blog posts and consistent authors, we will not be satisfied with the AV performance either.

Well put!

It is unfair to compare the two, but part of what I like blogging about it is these comparative posts that take one metric (like hourly rate) and then compare two things anyway!

I look at them as two completely separate things in my head!

I agree that I wouldn't want to vote on nonsense, I did go through a phase a while back of adding on a few people purely for curation returns (no one who was an obvious milker), but I think I've put nearly all of them on mute now.

The people on my AV I generally like, however I have some people who I like who I don't AV, with some people it just feels wrong, so I manual vote, typically those who have quite diverse content.

Agree on your strategy, AV those we preferred and deemed to be quality content makers. Unfortunately for Steem side it is rather hard to do that already. In any case, it would be good to manual curate some from time to time 😁 it is fun and can be done in a random manner, at the very least AV had done a decent foundation job for generating a return on our stake.

I do manual vote every day - you can set your Hive autovote to have a cut off on the Mana, which is handy to keep some for manual!

Steem I don't know too much about these days!

I just looked at my stats. My curation is pretty sad. The majority of my rewards comes from posting and commenting. Curation generates a small, yet steady, stream of Hive. To be fair, this account is still relatively new. My larger account, however, comes out about even for authoring and curating.

Hourly, I'd probably make more money digging for change in the sofa.

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My curation returns are pretty bad too, but I do see them going up almost daily.

This account is still very small, so I’m still upvoting at 100%. I’m going to keep it that way at least until I got 150 hive power, but maybe I just keep it at a 100% until it stabilizes.

I think that with my current 135 hive power, there are still times where my 100% upvote is worth nothing due to other people’s votes.

At some point that should no longer be the case I hope.

My stats are based on around 36K active HP, I can't remember the exact weight where I started to notice 'decent earnings' - it was around 10K I think.

It does require a fair whack of investment!

That it does indeed.

I started this account as an experiment to show you can build an investment portfolio without putting in any money.

As a result I’m growing with 1 hive per day or so through blogging and then a bunch of hive-engine tokens as well.

My curation rewards are about 0.015 hive daily, so that is a big gap 😜

Correction 1 hive per day

Well it is possible to earn without investing,

But I think the big votes only come when you buy-in - I'm sure certain whales add you to their autovotes as a sort of reward for buying-in, maybe, I'm not sure!

Yes, and I would advise people who believe in the success of this blockchain to buy in. But I’ve decided to show at least for this year, that you can do it without a buy-in up front.

I can imagine some whales indeed choosing their auto upvotes based on the buy-in of an account.

All is registered, so it would be not too hard to filter for these things.

My curation stats are based on around 36K active HP and 16K LEO - so you do need a fair whack to get a decent return.

If you power up to around 300k HP you could earn a living wage curating, just about!

25k HP amounts to about $2 per day in curation rewards with some well-placed autos and some manual thrown into the mix. 12 times that is $24 per day or $720 per month. That's not a living wage in a first world country.

You could survive on it, that's what I meant, maybe 'living wage' wasn't the best choice of term.

On $720? Barely, at least if you're north of the 60th latitude.

I'm assuming you've paid the mortgage off!

It is marginal!

Might have to forage for the odd handful of berries in summer.

Well, about €1100 is considered the minimum for an adult living alone in most municipalities. It should cover all living expenses. That sum is made up of unemployment benefits (minimum, not the temporary means tested), housing benefit (maximum allowed or about €316) and income support around €200. The typical cheap studio apartment can be rented for about €400 given and take or so €100 in most regional capitals. The cost of food is highly variable as it depends on what you eat but for a single adult €200 should be enough.

If you've paid the mortgage off, then you'll still be left with maintenance costs that would not much less than the cheapest rents.

NB I did only say 'towards a living wage'! $600 isn't that far off.

Thanks. That gives a good target. I have about 12 years to retirement. At that point, I could do this full time. I’ll likely hit the target before then with a combination of sweat equity and regular power ups.

Best of luck, but 12 years is a long time, a lot can change!

You’re right about that. Hopefully with the rising Hive middle class, we can keep this blockchain stable and avoid another schism. There are a ton of unknowns regarding the longevity of blockchain projects like this. We are making history. Hopefully we avoid becoming a case study.

and take into account that you need the rewards from all the blogging to do the curating in the first place.

If you are new and only have 1000 HP you can still earn a lot more by blogging but your curation will be not even worth it

Yes fair point, although ATM it's still possible to buy in a few thousand Hive for not too much Fiat.

You need about 10K HP to start feeling like you're getting anywhere I think!

I like the categorisation of rewards as donations :)

Well, you don't pay tax on those, dyou!

That makes sense because there is no contract between curators and authors. The curators could've been self-upvoting instead.

or giving/gifting it to someone else.

Yep, as no contracts exist between anyone.

No, you don't. HMRC's attitude is that adoption is so low in the UK that it is not yet worth regulating, so get it while you can :)

Our tax authority has a guidance in place that says virtual currency earned on internet platforms created mainly for entertainment purposes is not taxable income until you cash it out or buy goods or services with it or exchange it for virtual currencies external to the platform.

Which country is that?
I guess there will be some interesting conversations about whether currency has been earned or gifted; also between assets that increase in value and assets that are gifted and/or earned, depending how they are defined.


I guess the earned/gifted could be used here, too, but it is unnecessary. Also, when gifts exceed a certain amount (some thousands of euros per year) of value, a gift tax must be paid on them.

a gift tax must be paid on them.


Yes, it will become very complex here to demonstrate "gifts": donations over a certain amount would have to be able to show they were for "public benefit" in order not to be subject to one kind of a tax or other.

and @shanibeer

I'll do everything I can to define Hive as donated, TBH when I cash any out, the gain would have been so much I probably wouldn't mind paying 20% tax anyway.

I probably wouldn't mind paying 20% tax anyway.

depending on how successful HIVE is 20% might be the minimum - but as you say, in that happy case, none of us would mind very much.

My actually hourly rate for the time I spend on Hive is tiny, but that's okay. I make around 9% on curating and that's okay too as I try to send votes where they are needed and it's mainly manual. I know you benefit from some nice auto votes on your posts, but if those whales could spread their voting more it might benefit Hive in general. I am assuming they vote on a fixed set of accounts rather than adjusting on the fly for optimal curation rewards. Maybe they consider it a better use of their time.

They certainly could spread their votes more widely, I think the realwolfe's desire to have an 'individual reward pool' is a reflection of the fact that he'd really rather not be voting at all!

Maybe Hive will evolve so voting is just on the side chains?

I don't think those whales check their AVs that often TBH!

Managing your votes as a big account is harder as you either give a few big votes or have to work harder at spreading them out. It ought to be possible to make it more algorithmic where votes are distributed based on rules. e.g. vote for small accounts if certain others all vote for them. I'm not sure about Wolfie's ideas for changing the pool.

It's a terrible idea. Hive should not be made just another PoS s**tcoin. There are plenty of those around. The stake distribution is far from a place where doing away with PoB using the main token could be considered optimal for chain security.

I've always managed this by delegating to other accounts which do distribute the votes more widely - first of all through things like @actifit and now through @curie.

I use @tenkminnows to use up some votes. I don't tend to follow other trails as I found my votes were going to posts I might not want to support for whatever reason. I like to keep control. I can use up my daily votes anyway.

I was thinking of a general principle for bigger accounts rather than you doing it.

They can definitely afford to delegate more. There are people out there doing great curation work who could do with the support. We need a better spread of votes as too many good people make cents.


I went down from 16% to 8% now.

I know the reason why my curation APR has gone down. I am now going for more engagement and expressing myself instead of getting more curation rewards.

Hive curation simply punish manual curators.


I think some of your decrease may be due to other people tweaking their votes, mine dropped 2-3% recently and I've changed very little!

I guess there is the possibility that as the larger accounts grow more rapidly, the curation returns of middling accounts get reduced also.

And let’s not forget that being gifted $5 an hour for a hobby is one thing, but when Hive goes to $2 that’s $50 an hour, and that’s some serious gifting!

An increasing price for Hive might not lead to a linear increase in earnings since voters might decrease the percentages they vote at while increasing the number of accounts that they vote for. If at $0.20 Hive I can do ten $0.42 votes a day, at $2 Hive I might be doing thirty $1.40 votes a day.

Fair point, I should've have used more better grammar - I meant that would have been $50 an hour for the past-posts - if you get what I mean - I'm sure there's some very specific odd tense for these purposes, but I can't remember it!

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