Devcoin is an open source project designed to support open source projects through the use of a dedicated crypto currency.
Crypto currency is a new form of digital money which is decentralized and runs on a distributed network of computers. Cryptographic techniques are used to secure the network and each individual's funds, while open source code provides the shared protocol through which each wallet or service communicates with the public "block chain" where information on all transactions is stored. The most famous example of this is, of course, Bitcoin.
Unlike traditional fiat currencies, which are effectively created by banks and issued into the economy through interest-bearing debt instruments, newly created coins from cryptocurrency are generally distributed to their community of users. There are many ways to do this. Bitcoin uses "Proof of Work" which rewards "miners" who run software which is essential for maintaining the network. Other coins use proof of stake to reward people who have purchased coins or other exotic methods.
An ethical cryptocurrency
Devcoin takes a different approach. Only 10% of newly created Devcoins (DVC) are paid out to miners, through merged mining alongside Bitcoin (meaning that people can mine both Bitcoin and Devcoin on the same machine, at the same time). This is sufficient to secure the network, but leaves 90% of newly minted coins left over, which can then be given out for free to open source developers—and also creative commons media producers.
First created in 2011 as a fork of Bitcoin, Devcoin was the first "ethical cryptocurrency" whose sole purpose is to support open source development and creative commons media. It is now one of the longest-running block chain based digital currencies.
Payouts and bounties
Newly created coins are paid out in the form of bounties, designed to encourage the development of a wide range of open source projects from new software, to hardware products such as new forms of 3D printer. There are even tentative future plans to finance a bounty for the development of a single seater open source spacecraft capable of exiting and re-entering the earth's atmosphere! Developers can also earn DVC through the Devcoin and Bitcoin share lists, which reward active open source developers within the cryptocurrency community.
New web services are also under development which will allow anybody to create or to help fund bounties for new projects.
Writers can also earn Devcoins by contributing articles to the Devtome wiki. All work submitted to Devtome is published under a Creative Commons license. Quality is maintained through a ratings system, and writers' compensation is calculated according to their quality rating and the number of words published.
Earned Devcoins can then be spent at a small but growing range of online retailers, or changed for other currencies through an exchange.
Donating to worthy open source projects
Because many people buy Devcoins or get involved a project which will lead to them earning these coins because they believe in the power of open source development and want to support it, there is also a community of DVC holders willing to donate their coins to worthy open source projects. The simplest way to use the coin to support a new or established project is therefore to accept DVC donations and to let the community know through the official forum.
For people looking to use Devcoin to help support projects that they believe in, rather than to finance a project, all that is required is to buy (or earn) some Devcoins and then spend or donate them! Because of the "network effect" of digital currencies, a larger number of users means a rising value per coin, as demand is raised relative to the fixed supply—which in turn increases the value of the new coins paid out to support open source developers.
Devcoin is a fully open source cryptocurrency. For more information, check out the official Devcoin site at devcoin.org.