Freelance Writers: Is the Blockchain Niche for You?

No need for a PhD in crypto studies

The key to freelance writing success — as everyone and their uncle is telling us — is to find a profitable niche. Preferably one in which clients have money to spend and appreciate the value that a good freelancer writer brings to the table… instead of offering $0.02 per word and demanding unlimited revisions.

The technically inclined among us couldn’t help but notice the emergence of a new niche in the past year or two: The blockchain industry. Keywords: Bitcoin, Ethereum, Crypto, Altcoins, Tokens, ICOs… you’ve probably heard of a few of them even in the mainstream media.

What is blockchain all about?

Blockchain is a new technology whose first application was Bitcoin (published in 2008).

It is basically a distributed database – a database running on multiple computers – with a novel mechanism called consensus mechanism that keeps participants from cheating each other. Based on blockchain, more than a thousand other cryptocurrencies or “coins” besides Bitcoin have been built so far: Ethereum, Litecoin, a couple of varieties of Bitcoin…

But the application of blockchain is not restricted to cryptocurrencies: Experts in many industries are looking for ways to use blockchains to create a system which keeps participants honest without intervention of a central authority. Thus the keyword “decentralization” that you’ll find in many blockchain-related texts.

If you’re new to the niche, there are a few key facts about the blockchain business to keep in mind:

  • Blockchain writing jobs (with a few exceptions) fall into one of two categories: 1.) reporting and article writing, and 2.) anything related to blockchain startup marketing. There is more money to be made with 2.), generally, but jobs related to 1.) will be useful to build up a decent portfolio.
  • Much of the marketing activities of blockchain startups – at least at this point in time – revolve around the preparations for so-called initial coin offerings (ICOs) or token generation events (TGEs), which are basically the same thing. When more blockchain startups have gone on to be established companies, this may change.
  • There are three types of content that startups preparing for an ICO need:
    • Papers describing their product to prospective investors and customers. The white paper (or whitepaper) is a marketing tool not unlike an investment prospectus (though its legal status is less well-defined), and the yellow paper is more technical in nature and targeted towards an audience with sufficient tech knowledge to evaluate the underlying blockchain protocol.
    • Content for blog and website.
    • Press releases and guest articles.
  • The prevalence of dishonest business practices in the blockchain space is somewhat higher than in many other niches. That shouldn’t deter you from taking on jobs in this niche, though – we’ll address some solid safety measures in one of our upcoming blog posts soon.
  • As many blockchain entrepreneurs have profited hugely from the cryptocurrency boom in 2017, there are quite a few startups that are well-funded even before they have raised capital – meaning higher rates for you. But of course you’ll get inquiries from cash-strapped startups too, just like in any other niche.

Do you need to be a technical expert in order to find freelance writing jobs in the blockchain niche?

Is the blockchain freelance writing niche for me?
Photo by Tyler Nix on Unsplash

Short answer: No. You just need to be willing to do a bit of work up-front to get yourself acquainted with the basic concepts. But that’s no different from any other niche, be it shampoo marketing or macrobiotic dog food.

For starters, it is more than sufficient if you get acquainted with the basic blockchain concept – the one that is the basis of Bitcoin. All applications in cryptocurrencies or other industries are based on this primary concept with more or less innovative variations.

There are countless sources out there explaining the blockchain for beginners. We recommend that you start with this Lifehackers article, What Is Blockchain?, that introduces some neat comparisons that will help you to get a grasp of the concept. Then, do some googling and find the sources that best suit your learning type. Depending on your prior knowledge, this will not take you more than a couple of hours.

Are you ready now to take on your first blockchain writing job?

Most definitely. Keep in mind:

If your clients were looking for someone with a developer’s knowledge of blockchain – they would hire a developer.

Depending on your inclination, it may be better to start with some article writing for a blog or news outlet, which will serve as a good starting point for you to do research that will further improve your understanding of the niche, or with a real whitepaper project. In case of the latter, it is perfectly acceptable (and recommended by us) to insist that your client or their developer provides all necessary technical details and descriptions of the blockchain.

And if you’ve got all the material and are not quite sure how to proceed? We’re here to help. Check out our Whitepaper Template & Guide, or let us know in the comments if you would be interested in an online course on how to write a good blockchain whitepaper.

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