If we are effectively generating more traffic to Stack Exchange sites, would it become a better community if users were compensated somehow besides rep points? Even with minuscule alt coins?
People already exhibit the worst behaviours, and go through great lengths to cheat the system, for completely worthless virtual rewards - reputation points and badges:
Indiscriminate reviews, also known as "Robo reviewing."
Thousands upon thousands of plagiarized answers, from both other answers on SO, and other content on the web.
People badgering users to accept an answer.
People badgering users to vote for their answer.
General low-quality contributions in the hopes of catching the stray upvote.
Low-quality edits, designed to garner the +2 rep bonus, and made possible by sloppy reviews (see "indiscriminate reviews").
Imagine how bad it would be if actual money were involved.
Let me answer this with a question:
What kind of users do we want?
Here's what we have now: people that really want to answer questions. They might want to do this to honestly help people, but we all know that it's the rep that keeps them coming. And why do they want reputation? So that they can help the site.
This is an awesome formula for attracting people and allowing those to help that have proven themselves. Keeping something scarce (like moderation privileges) is a great way to make people want them and use them. Don't believe me? Okay. You are not allowed to think about red staplers. I just told you not to. STAPPIT!
Now we introduce a (perhaps really small) amount of money into the mix. What do we get now? People that want to do as little as possible to earn as much money as possible. Sure, we have people doing that with reputation points, but not as much as they would with real money on the line.
tl;dr: If you put real money on the line, people are going to do as little as possible to get money so they can buy
<insert thing of choice here>, and won't try to learn to use the site so that they can effectively help moderate it. That kills our model.
Not to mention tax problems for everyone involved. Ugh.
Participation is voluntary, and yes they can sell. But your content is licensed, and that license will stand.
Participate if the licence is acceptable.
The current format works, and works for me as a professional.
I started participating in Stack Overflow a few years after Google started giving links to questions when I was doing searches for work; questions that had useful answers.
The competition a few years ago was Experts Exchange. They did compensate answers in the form of abated fees. And that site was a disaster. I don't know if it's gotten better - I have Google filter results from them so I don't see them.
Stack Exchange sites are sites for question and answers, providing FREE Knowledge for everybody that is interest in something. If we get compensated, so where do you think the site a will be getting money from? Of course, there are some ads on the site. But many of the ads are to advertise the site itselves. There are also server maintenance, domain costs, and other spendings. In my opinion, Stack Exchange owners are quite generous. All of the sites provide me so much knowledge and you can call this a Library. If without Stack Overflow, it's hard for me to code anything. Besides, reps point stands for what have you done to the community. Which keeps the community going. Many of us enjoy seeing reputation points growing. So if you want to get compensated, run your own knowledge-providing website. But be sure to write it perfectly and start put some ads on.... That will generate money for you.
Remember, Stack Exchange sites are communities. And people in a community helps each other or else the community can't develop if people in the community just think of them selves. See the Stack Exchange mottos
"We didn't run the sites, the communities did."