Last Update: 3/09/2018

Earning a Living as a Nomad with Steem

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By Cahlen — Today on The Wizard Life I will be sharing how I fund my nomadic adventures in the southwest deserts of the United States using the Steem cryptocurrency.

As many of you know, I quit my job as a Producer in the Video Game Industry a few months ago to live in my truck. While this lifestyle greatly reduces my expenses, there are still a few things I need to pay for (e.g. gas, food, mobile phone, etc.) so I do need a little income. I'm a Certified Human Potential Coach which provides some of that income, but at the moment most of what I need is actually provided by earning Steem through various social media platforms.

What Is Steem?

Steem is a Cryptocurrency similar to Bitcoin which also stores the textual information used to generate web pages and posts like this one (e.g. HTML, Markdown). This data is decentralized which means it is held on many computers all over the world, rather than on one server, which makes it resistant to censorship.

There is a lot to be known about Steem, but to put it most simply, it serves as the backbone of social media platforms which reward you with the Steem cryptocurrency for generating content which the community appreciates. Think of it like Facebook or YouTube where when someone 'Likes' your post you make money!

Let's take a look at some of the platforms built on top of the Steem Blockchain so far...

Facebook Alternatives

The first class of platforms built using Steem are what I think of as the Facebook alternatives in that they allow you to share Posts containing a wide array of content types (e.g. Text, Images, Videos, Music, etc.). runs in a Web Browser and was the first major platform to appear, so people often confuse it for Steem itself. It's owned and maintained by the same folks who originally built the Steem Blockchain, which seems to add to the confusion. Here's a look at my Blog when viewed from Steemit: is an alternative which has a slightly different layout and some features you won't find on Steemit. While it got a later start than Steemit, it seems to be more actively maintained and updated so I suspect it will overtake Steemit in popularity in the future. Here's a look at the same Blog viewed via Busy:

eSteem is an Android and iOS App which does the same thing as Steemit and Busy. It has some pretty cool features you won't find on the other platforms, so I recommend checking it out if you prefer to use your mobile device. Here's a look at what the same Blog looks like on eSteem:

YouTube Alternatives

In a time where almost all video content comes from a single source who has demonstrated its willingness to silence those with whom it does not agree, decentralized video platforms like DTube and DLive are desperately needed. Echo chambers of opinion are exceedingly dangerous because they give their occupants the impression there are no dissenting opinions even though they might have been sympathetic to those contrary views.

DTube is a decentralized video hosting platform. It stores the actual video files on the InterPlanetary File System (IPFS) which is a decentralized alternative to HTTP. Once a video file is uploaded through DTube it cannot be taken down and can still be accessed even if the DTube website goes offline. It was created by @heimindanger and has come an incredibly long way in a very short amount of time, and I suspect it will come close to competing with YouTube in terms of its feature set very soon.

Here's a look at what my Steem profile looks like when viewed from DTube:

DLive is a platform which allows users to host live video feeds through the Steem Blockchain. Like DTube, it also has come a long way very quickly. I believe it is currently underutilized and is a potential gold mine for folks who know how to host high quality shows.

Here's a peek at the homepage:

As you can see, it's mostly streams of folks playing video games or music. Lots of room for improvement... get in while the gettins good!

Novel Platforms

Steem isn't limited to platforms which replace existing private services like Facebook and YouTube. Anything which involves rewarding users for generating content could work on the blockchain. One innovative platform which has taken Steem by storm is called Utopian-IO. It rewards users for contributing to Open Source projects.

Open Source means that you can read the code of the application you are using. This means you can make sure it's not doing anything you don't want it to, like sending your information to undesirable locations. It also means that you can duplicate the code and customize it to your needs! Open Source software is also free...

Open Source software has been historically supported out of the goodness of people's hearts who believe in the importance of transparency and accessibility. This limits its ability to compete with applications created by corporations because everyone's time is limited and everyone needs to earn a living. Utopian steps in to solve this problem by rewarding contributions to projects with very large upvotes.

There are lots of ways to contribute, and I focus primarily on reporting Bugs or functionality issues in the software. Here's a look at some of the bugs I've written and the rewards I've received for them:

You can also contribute by writing code, generating visual content, writing tutorials, translating text and more! This is where most of my income comes from. It's enough for me to live on in the United States, so just imagine how much this benefits people in less developed countries! It's hard to understate the potential for Utopian-IO to change the world for the better.

Other Platforms

There are new platforms built on the Steem Blockchain appearing all the time. There's an alternative to Instagram called Steepshot, an alternative to Twitter called Zappl, a SoundClound alternative called DSound... and more! It's certainly a very exciting time, and we're still early in the development of all of this.

How to Join

If you're interested in hopping aboard, you can create an account here:

Keep in mind that an account requires a small amount of Steem to exist and interact with the blockchain, and Steemit actually donates that to you when you create an account through them. For this reason, they need to verify you are a real person and that you haven't already made an account through them, so it can take several days before your new account becomes active.

This article is reposted from "The Wizard Life" by permission of Cahlen himself. He's a fulltime vandweller (OK, truckdweller), travelin' around the U.S. Southwest these days, among other impressive things. Check him out on, YouTube, Facebook, Twitter, Tumblr, and Minds.


  1. A few months back I read about cryptocurrency and watched some videos explaining it, but it's all spinning in my head, like trying to explain MSDOS to octogenarians in 1983.

    1. After months of headbanging, I get it. But I don't know why any particular crypto is a solution.

    2. So, how does one use cryptocurrency in the non-crypto world -- like to buy gas?

    3. At this point, the two general ways are 1. Convert a cryptocurrency to local currency (e.g. USD) to deposit to your checking or whatever via an online exchange, and 2. Get a crypto debit card to use for purchases and ATM withdrawals.

      There are also a tiny number of online merchants who accept crypto directly. When you check out, there's a way to digitally send in the crypto cash.

      At this point, cryptos are so volatile, using them as cash is stupid, like keeping your money in a third world currency. If you have bitcoin set aside for purchases, for example, you could wake up tomorrow and its lost half it's value and your purchases are, in effect, twice as expensive. Or you could buy something today, and tomorrow bitcoin doubles, and you'll kick yourself for the lost profits.

    4. If you get a crypto debit card, then it's similar to when you use your US debit or credit card in a foreign country, say Mexico.

      Saw today, you have a Visa debit card that's connected to your USD checking account in the United States. You go to Mexico and want to buy something. Prices are in Mexican pesos, but you can pay with the Visa no problem. The Visa system does the math on the current USD-Peso conversion rate and pulls the appropriate USD from your checking.

      Same idea. If you get a Bitcoin visa debit, for example, it's funded from an cache of Bitcoin you assign. You got to buy gas in USD. No problem. The Visa system does the math on current exchange rates and withdraws that amount of Bitcoin from your cache.

    5. In the future, if crypto currencies catch on, whichever dominate will likely be part of some common exchange app software systems, like Google Pay and Apple Pay. You'll connect your cache of coins (maybe multiple types) to your Pay account. When you go into the gas station, you'll wave your mobile in front of the scanner, and the Pay software will do all the conversion for you. Seamless.