Greetings! I am @ura-soul (as in, 'you are a soul'), I am a Hive Witness and I'll be your guide in this introduction to the Hive commmunity and how to participate by blogging (on sites like PeakD & Hive Blog), uploading video content (on sites like 3Speak & DTube), playing games (like Splinterlands & Exode) and lots of other fun ways (such as Actifit & LeoFinance). Let's get going...
If you just want to learn how to create an account and make posts on Hive, then you could jump straight to the Quickstart Guide. Otherwise, please take some time to read the rest of the guide too - it will be worth it!
1 - What is HIVE
1.1 - Decentralised & Uncensored Social Networking
1.2 - Hive Blockchain & Cryptocurrency
1.2.1 - HIVE Coins
1.2.2 - HBD Coins
1.2.3 - How Do Post Payouts Work?
1.2.4 - Trading Coins?
1.3 - The Hive Ecosystem
1.4 - Witnesses
1.5 - Proposals
1.6 - Censorship
2 - How To Use Hive
2.1 - Security
2.1.1 - Passwords
2.1.2 - Lost Password Recovery
2.1.3 - Hive Keychain
2.2 - Network Costs (Resource Credits)
3 - QuickStart Guide To Getting Going On Hive
3.1 - Create A Hive Account
3.2 - Logging In To a Hive Site
3.3 - Settng Up Your Profile & Image
3.4 - Creating A Post
3.5 - Commenting on Posts
3.6 - Upvoting Posts
3.7 - Downvoting Posts
3.8 - Reblogging / Sharing Posts
3.9 - Curation
3.10 - Video Sites
3.11 - Followers/Subscribers
3.12 - Gaining Exposure
4 - Conclusion
First things first. What are we talking about? Hive is a publicly run, uncensored, next generation social network that uses blockchain technology. You can create a profile, add blogs and videos, create your own Hive software Applications/Games, create a community space with public chat features and spend/store/use Hive's own form of money through the whole process. That sounds fancy, but what do those fancy words really mean? I'm glad you asked...
Large websites like Facebook, Twitter and Youtube dominate the internet currently. Around 66% of all internet traffic moves through them (as of the 2020 era) and this means that we humans clearly love to communicate online and make friends. Unfortunately, it also means that these organisations have a lot of power over global communication, which they have a record of using unwisely and in ways that limit free speech and exploit their users in a variety of ways. If you have ever discussed topics that might change the world, which the controllers of the big websites don't want discussed for some reason, you will likely have found out how they:
- Try to talk over you with automatically inserted links that distract your readers. Often claiming that they and their friends are 'fact checking' you as you speak to your friends! Imagine that happening in real life - there would be lots of conflicts constantly, but because they own the website they think this behaviour is somehow acceptable.
- 'Shadowbanning' (sometimes called 'sandboxing') your comments. Meaning that only you can see what you write, which leads you to think you are being read by others when you aren't. This is actual censorship but done in a sneaky way so that many people never realise it has happened.
- Demonetise your channel, meaning that you are unable to earn money from your content on their platform - while your competitors ARE being paid and therefore more able to grow their channel, eventually drowning you out. Another form of censorship, given the economic nature of our world at this time.
- Make your posts (or groups) hard to find on the network, meaning that less and less people see and engage with them. Censorship, again.
- Totally ban you from their platform. Censorship, The End.
Clearly, this is not 'friendly' behaviour and not respectful of human free expression, fairness and free speech.
Even if you have never encountered these (ever more common) problems, you must realise that you are not being paid a penny for your posts and videos on these network in most cases. These companies make MASSIVE profits from YOUR content and give you (usually) NOTHING in return. They surveil you, control you and get rich from you - all while generally disrespecting you. SURELY, there is a better way!
Hive combines the idea of social networking sites (like Facebook, Twitter and Reddit) with the technology behind cryptocurrencies like Bitcoin and Ethereum. Bitcoin and other crypto 'money' systems are revolutionising banking, finance and the whole world by decentralising the way we create and use money. This means that instead of relying on a big organisation, like a big bank, to manage our money - we can do it ourselves, by sharing the responsibility among us all in clever ways.
Instead of your posts and videos being managed and hosted by a big corpration such as Google, Facebook or Twitter, on Hive they are managed by a consensus of people, elected from and BY the Hive community. These people run powerful computers that work together to manage the Hive data (posts and videos etc.) in a way that ensures there is no censorship and (in theory and in reality) no funny business.
The result is that we have uncensored social networking, that is community run, led and managed. We ALL have a voice, with no 'head honcho' - nice!
But wait, there's more!
Hive borrows more from Bitcoin than just decentralisation. Hive also has powerful cryptocurrency features that mean that every Hive user has a digital wallet automatically, that holds Hive coins, which they can use for interesting things on Hive and beyond. Not only do you actually get PAID for posting, commenting and 'curating' (more on that soon) on Hive, but you can also use your hive coins to vote for other people's posts to boost their payouts and even help to direct the future development of the Hive social networking system itself.
While this may sound geeky or daunting at first, it's pretty simple and entirely voluntary (optional). If you like, you can just make posts as you would normally on a social network and totally ignore the money side of things. However, if you are going to be paid for posting, why not make use of it?
Hive actually has TWO types of coins - The main HIVE coin and Hive Backed Dollars (HBD). Your posts will receive payments (after 7 days) in either Hive, HBDs or a combination of both - depending on the current market rate of both (and other factors).
Both types of coins can be sent outside of the Hive community to cryptocurrency exchanges and converted into other types of cryptocurrency or cashed out into your local 'fiat' currency (US Dollars, British Pounds or Euros etc.). This means that you can use the rewards from your Hive posts to go shopping in your local supermarket!
HIVE coins are the main form of coin on the Hive blockchain. You can transfer or spend your hive coins as you see fit, with people or organisations that have hive accounts. The magic of HIVE coins is in their UTILITY, they can be used in special ways.
Each account can hold 'Hive Power', which is just normal HIVE coins that have been 'powered up' to turn them into Hive Power (HP). This process involes locking up your HIVE Coins so that you are unable to transfer them elsewhere until you 'power down' your account at some future time (something like a long term savings account in some senses). Why would you do this? Because Hive Power lets you influence the post payouts and other things on Hive. The more HP you hold, the more your upvotes on people's posts are worth and the more you are able to boost the rewards they receive. You can also use HP to vote on creative projects that are funded by Hive and other exciting things.
If you want/need to move/sell your Hive Power then you start a 'power down' process, which releases the HIVE coins from your HP stash over a number of weeks. Each week you will receive some back and can transfer/sell it as you would with normal HIVE coins. You can also delegate your HP to other people, to let them use it on your behalf, if that's something you want to do.
The value of HIVE coins fluctuates accoarding to the open market and the great thing is that as Hive grows in use and size, the value of the coin should increase. This means that early adopters of Hive can potentially hold onto the coins they recieve and see them appreciate in value over time. Of course, the value of coins can drop too - there are no guarantees on future value of the coins.
HBD coins are meant to always be valued the same as one US Dollar (USD), which is meant to mean that you can store your money in them without fear that their value will crash (cryptocurrencies are known to be volatile due to their cutting edge nature). In reality, the price of HBDs does move away from $1USD from time to time, but in general the system will adjust the price to bring it back to $1USD eventually. Generally, the price will be ABOVE $1USD, rather than below it anyway - so HBDs are still a reasonable store of value that is not so volatile as to be problematic.
Note: You can use Hive's built-in market to buy/sell HBD and HIVE coins easily.
Each post and comment on the Hive blockchain can receive a reward payout after 7 days. The amount that each post/comment receives is based on a consensus of the Hive community, who all have a chance to upvote or downvote the post/comment. Vote consensus determines not just post payouts but also plays a role in community policing of spam and abusive activity.
When the value of the upvotes and downvotes for a post/comment are summed after 7 days, a percentage of the current Hive reward pool is allocated to the post/comment on that basis. But where does the reward pool come from?
Every day, new Hive coins are created automatically by the Hive system. A percentage of these coins is then alloted to pay for post reward payouts for the day and every single post that is paid out that day will receive a share of that rewards pool of coins. The more upvotes that a post recieves, the more payout it will receive. Note that upvotes are not all equally valuable - the more Hive Power a person holds when they upvote your post, the more their vote will increase your post's payout.
This is in inflationary process, which means that the value of the HIVE coin is directly affected as a result of the creation of new coins each day - however, this inspires people to engage in the community, interact and make use of Hive as it was intended. Despite the inflation within the supply of the HIVE coin, the price of HIVE on the open market can still rise to any level. Note: HBD coins are intended to be unaffected by the inflation that affects the HIVE coin.
You are NOT directly giving away your coins when you vote on other people's posts - you ARE using your Hive Power (which you keep) to vote to direct the Hive reward pool to the person you are voting on. Yes, you can vote for yourself too, but take care - abuse of the rewards pool is not taken lightly by the community and so trying to exploit the situation in nefarious ways will probably not work out well for you.
HIVE and HBD coins can both be sent via your wallet to third party cryptocurrency exchanges and then traded for other coins or 'cashed out' to your traditional bank account.
Many of the biggest and best known exchanges support Hive, a full list is available on Coin Market Cap.
There are many guides to cryptocurrency exchanges online, so that's outside of the scope of this Hive guide. In short, though, you just send your coins to your wallet on an exchange, choose to trade it for a coin that you prefer and you are done! If you want to cash out to a bank account then you just need to make sure that your exchange supports that and connect your bank account to the Exchange using their tool for that purpose.
Currently, I recommend Uphold.com for cashing out to fiat currencies, but a variety of options exist.
Hive has been designed with creativity and openness in mind. This means that we don't just have a single application running on the Hive blockchain, we have MANY. Anyone with the ability to write software can create apps, games and systems that use the Hive blockchain database to add Hive features to their own app.
This means you can create a game, video sharing site, your own social community site or anything else you can think of and then plug it in to the Hive blockchain. The result is that you can immediately connect to a community of active users, access funding and an economic system and grow your project at relatively high speed.
Currently there are many Hive powered Apps, check out the list here for some stats on them.
The technical part of running Hive is performed by a group of people known as witnesses, in conjunction with software developers who work together to both create the software needed to run Hive and to also run it on specialist computers.
Witnesses decide whether to adopt proposed changes to the Hive blockchain system, which means that they are important people in the Hive community. The top 20 most voted for witnesses (see the current witness ranking here) have the final say over whether proposed changes are accepted or not.
Witnesses act a bit like MPs or representatives in a representational democracy and are meant to listen to the Hive community in order to act out their will, as best they can do. They are also meant to be experts in relevant fields (e.g. Technology, internet, social networking, economics, cryptocurrency, marketing, psychology and other areas) so can make their own informed decisions when needed too.
Every Hive user can vote for a selection of witnesses that they feel best represent them. You can do this using the witness voting page in some Hive apps, such as this one on Peakd.
Note: I am a Hive witness too. If you have found this guide helpful then please consider voting for me as a witness on Hive. Read my Witness introduction post and use the convenient voting button at the bottom of this guide. Thanks!
Hive rewards more than just posts and curation. There is also a seperate fund made available to people who are creatively improving the Hive community. Any Hive user can put forward a proposal for consideration bu the community that they think will help Hive in some key way. If enough people like the idea and vote for it in the proposal system, then it will receive ongoing funding.
The list of proposals can be viewed in some Hive sites, such as via this page on PeakD.
While the Hive blockchain IS censorship resistant (censorship at the blockchain level may occur in rare occaisions, such as where a serious crime has been committed, such as posting child pornography - such content will be removed), operators of individual website may choose to censor of their own volition.
Even though individual websites may remove posts for their own reasons, the underlying blockchain database is typically not censored and no individual website operator has the ability to censor the blockchain. This means that if a website chooses to block a particular post, the post will still remain in the main Hive blockchain and will still be visible on other sites that are powered by the Hive blockchain.
There ARE 'soft' ways for the community to police itself. One way is through downvoting.
Using Hive isn't so different to using other social sites. You just need to understand that Hive runs on a blockchain and so has some differences when it comes to security and the cryptocurrency/financial features.
Hive wallets can hold any amount of money - some people have millions of US Dollars worth of coins in their wallet, so understandable, security needs to be high. Hive achieves this by using long/complex passwords that are hard to break. Make sure you print out your password and keep it somewhere safe. If your account is compromised by a hacker (unlikely) or you lose your password (likely for some people ;) ), there is a way of recovering it, providing you act quickly.
When you create a Hive account you will have access to your account's keys (passwords). They are long, for added security, making them hard to guess.
Each account has an Owner key, an Active key, A Posting Key and a Memo Key.
Owner Key: Allows full control over your account. Some sites will not let you login with this key as it is so powerful, just save it somewhere safe.
Active Key: Allows you to complete financial transactions and other powerful actions in Hive Apps, but does not allow you to take action that could compromise ownership of the account.
Posting Key: This is the key you will most commonly use. It allows you to make posts on Hive sites, comment, upvote and take other basic actions. If this key becomes compromised it will not be a serious problem.
In the event that you lose your passord, you can change it if you act within 30 days. There is a catch, though. Every account has a 'recovery account' nominated, who will be contacted if you can't login. They need to take action to help you gain access to your account. This may be the operators of the Hive App that you used to create your Hive account or it may be someone else you have nominated. More info on this proces is here.
To save time and to avoid you having to post your keys onto lots of different sites, the Hive Keychain was developed, which is a browser plugin that handles Hive security. Once the plugin is installed, you create a (simpler) password for it in your browser and whenever you interact with a Hive powered site, the keychain will simplify the login process and manage your keys on your behalf.
Financial transations on Hive are FREE! You can send money to any other hive account globally for free, in 3 seconds or less. Pretty awesome!
The network still uses electricity and people's time though, so money is paid to those who run the blockchain network behind the scenes automatically. The only aspect which affects the average Hive user directly is that they must have a minimal amount of Hive Power in order to use Hive to post or comment. This prevents spammers abusing the network and filling it with junk, plus promotes the quality of commenting and posting in general. The more HP you hold, the more you can post. I recommend a minimum of 10-15HP for beginners, so you will need to ensure your wallet holds that before you get started.
Hive can be simple to use or more complicated, but not TOO complicated. To get the best out of Hive you'll want to refer to the more detailed points made above in this post.
The quick way to get going on Hive:
- To create a FREE account, go to the Hive Onboarding Site (or alternatively use one of the other signup options here - some are not free).
- Choose a username.
- Accept the terms of service and proceed to the next page.
- Save the keys you are given somewhere safe.
- Provide a phone number that can receive SMS messages and input the security code that the system sends to your device.
That's it. You now have a Hive account - congratulations!
(AGAIN: Save your username and passwords somewhere SAFE! Maybe print them out onto paper).
Now would be a good time to install the Hive Keychain browser extension mentioned above.
Once the keychain plugin is running, you can open it inside your browser (possibly the top-right area of your web browser) and then type in your username. You can then import your master/owner key into the keychain and it will guide you through the rest of the keychain process. Once that is complete, whenever you want to use a Hive site you can just type yourusername into the site's keychain box on it's login page and the keychain plugin will handle the rest.
- Keychain will ask you to set a memorable password that you can use to easily access Hive functions in future.
I recommend PeakD as a general social networking site for Hive, but numerous others exist.
To login, just visit the site's login page and follow the keychain process described above. Hive Keychain will ask you to enter your memorable password that you created when you set up your account in Keychain. You should only need to enter this once per site (reset after a set amount of time).
If you don't want to use keychain for some reason, then you can use HiveSigner or other options to login using your original (long) Hive password keys. It is generally a good idea to login using your posting key unless you intend to move money around.
Some sites might have slightly different processes, such as 3speak which uses more standard email logins to make things easier. You can still login using Keychain there though. See the guide to HIVE video sites below for more info.
Most Hive sites work in a similar way to existing social sites when it comes to the basics such as adding a profile image. Just go to your profile page in the Hive app and look around for a settings button of some kind. Add in your details and upload a user image, click save and you are done.
You may need to refresh the browser page to see the changes to your profile. Hive is powered by a decentralised blockchain which means that some changes can take a few changes to be broadcast internationally.
I'll be using PeakD as the example site here, but you should find that other Hive blogging/social sites work in a similar way.
- Click the Pen icon in PeakD to open the post creation page.
- Give your new post a title.
- Write your post in the main text area. You can use 'Markdown' to style your text with headings and add images etc. There is a link to explain markdown near the text editor. It's just a simple way to format text. Alternatively, you can use the buttons above the text editor to do the same. You can add images, links, tables and so on. If you want embed a video into the post, just add the URL for the video into the text of the post - videos from most sites will automatically be embedded for you.
- Choose some tags for your post. This is IMPORTANT as they help people find your post among the millions that are already on Hive. Choose keywords that are relevant, like: politics, video, art, photography, cats or whatever else you choose. It's a good idea to look for posts that are similar to yours that are doing well in the community, to see what tags they have used - you can then use the same tags (or some of them) to be discovered as they were. Type your tags in beneath the main post text.
- You can now either click 'Publish' to share your post with the Hive community or schedule it to be posted later. Optionally, you can also boost your post too.
- Now wait a few seconds and when you open your personal blog page you should now see your new post listed at the top. It will be displayed alongside the first image that you added to your post, so make sure the first one is relevant and attention grabbing.
- Optionally you can upvote your own post if you like now too!
Commenting is similar to creating a post. Just open the post you want to comment on, scroll the bottom, add your comment and submit it. Done!
Upvoting is relatively simple. Just click the upvote button underneath a post and you are done. You may also need to move a slider from 0% to 100% to adjust the strength of your vote too. There is a system in the background that manages how much VOTE POWER you have at any moment (you get so much per day). If you intend to make many votes in a day, then you can choose to point less than 100% of the power of your single vote towards a post or comment, leaving more VOTE POWER left over for upvoting on other posts in the next few hours.
You will be shown the monetary value of your upvote, so you can see how much money you will likely be adding to the payout of the post or comment you are upvoting. Pretty cool! Note: The final payout amount is calculated in a complex way and adjusts based on various parameters. The final amount that is paid out will probably differ a bit from the predictions made before the payout completes.
Every day, each user recieves free downvotes that have power that is relative to the user's Hive Power (as with upvotes). Downvotes cause the payout on posts to drop and can also affect the user's reputation score in Hive. If the Downvoting account has a higher reputation score than the receiving account, then the reputation of the receiving account will go down due to the downvote.
If an account's reputation drops very low, then it's posts will be soft censored in some Hive Powered Websites. This means that while they are still at least listed on most Hive sites, they will be harder to read and will require people to click to state that they specifically want to read the post. This is a balance between allowing free speech and needing to remove really low quality or abusive posts from Hive sites. There are no hard and fast rules here, anyone can downvote - but there are consequences. Downvoting can instigate minor downvote wars - so be careful!
Facebook/Twitter/Reddit will just censor you and ignore your complaints. Hive allows the community to fully communicate about it's self policing and to reach consensus on what is acceptable and what isn't! Be creative, be considerate and help each other out!
If you see a post or video that you love, you can 'reblog' it to share it to your own timeline. This way, people who follow you on Hive will see the same content that you recommend to them. This is a great way to help friends to gain an audience and to pass on important content to the wider world.
On top of getting paid to post on Hive, you can also get paid for UPVOTING! That's right! You can earn good money for producing quality 'DISCOVERY' services for the community. This essentially means that you locate quality posts before other people do and then upvote it early on. If you upvote a post before others do that then becomes very popular, then you get a cut of the curation rewards for that post. Currently, posts reward curators equally as they do the actual author of the post.
This means it is entirely possible to be paid more for curating other people's posts than you are for writing your own posts! This means that everyone stands a chance of getting paid on Hive and offering services to the community just by enjoying great content!
Several sites exist currently on Hive that allow video sharing in a similar way to Youtube, Vimeo and other social video sites.
These sites both allow you to upload your videos and automatically attach them to Hive posts so that they show up in your Hive post listing on other sites, where you will get comments and upvotes as normal.
They generally work like other video sites, with the extra features of Hive added in.
To upload a video in 3speak, for example, just log in to 3speak and go to your upload page in your dashboard.
- Upload your video using hte upload file field on that page.
- Title the video, add tags and a description.
- Add an image thumbnail for the video.
- Optional: Choose a community to post it to if you want to.
- Optional: Set up other options if you want to.
- Publish the video!
- Wait for the video to be processed and added to the Hive blockchain. Check your post feed in the near future to see the final video an post.
As with other social sites, you need to build an audience to make sure your posts are seen. You acquire subscribers when people view your posts and opt to follow you on Hive. Every time you make a post, your fans will see it in their 'follow' list when they use their Hive app.
You can also follow other profiles to make sure you see the content you want to see when you use Hive.
The more that posts are upvoted, the more visible they become in the commuity (and the more money the author gets paid).
This means that you need to take action to not only make great content but to also be social with other people if you want to be seen. Go comment on people's posts, be friendly and connect with others. This way people will remember you in future and be more likely to look for your content and upvote it.
You can also optionally buy votes through third party services but this is often frowned on so be careful!
Curation services also exist that have big pots of Hive Power and who make posts on quality content to help people get discovered and to make money for themselves in the process. It's a good idea to know who they are and to understand what kind of content they promote. You may find a curation group who specifically wants to support your kind of posts. Socialise with them and get their help!
Hive can be both fairly simple or fairly complicated, depending on what you want to get out of it. It is a cutting edge solution to try to provide freedom of expression and community tools internationally and generally it works well!
You will tend to get out more of Hive if you put more into it! What you put out is what you get back!
There are numerous details to Hive that have not been mentioned in this guide as they are mostly superfluous to new users and their need to get goin on Hive. However, if you have any suggestions for changes to this guide or questions then let me know in the comments below and I'll update it where necessary.
Wishing you well,