Blockchain-based indy journalism platform Civil debuts

By Staff Reporter

Blockchain-based independent journalism platform, aimed at creating sustainable newsrooms and alternative journalism models, has finally been launched, according to a blog post.

Nearly 100 newsrooms are signed on to join Civil, which is backed by blockchain-firm ConsenSys, across five continents from the US to Latin America to Asia. Any news organizations can prepare to join Civil on March 6, according to the post.

The public can join the network by purchasing a Civil membership, which will let them “discover new, independent voices, interact directly with journalists and other members, and support worthy journalism efforts around the world.”

All Civil memberships will include “Civil” tokens, which provide a say and share in how the platform evolves and grows. All net proceeds from memberships go to the non-profit Civil Foundation to provide grants to support journalism worldwide.

Those who donate to the Civil Foundation, led by former chief executive of NPR Vivian Schiller, can get the equivalent number of Civil tokens, which means the token-holders run the newsrooms.

They represent a member’s voting power within the Civil registry and elsewhere on Civil that runs on blockchain that makes them immutable.

For instance, Civil tokens can be used to vote and challenge unethical newsrooms on the Civil Registry.

Thirty-four million Civil tokens were priced at $0.20 per CVL on March 6. Every token sold will trigger a slight price increase until the last token goes for $0.94 via a transparent, fixed and linear slope. There’s no time limit, and members could also choose to exchange CVL with each other at market prices.

Total number of Civil tokens will be fixed at one hundred million.

Token buyers and supporters of journalism can also donate directly to the Civil Foundation just by using a credit card.

According to the blog post, this just another “token sale” since there are no hard caps, soft caps or time limits.

“The entire experience happens on our own website,” it said.

Last year, Civil, which is founded by Ethereum co-founder billionaire Joe Lubin, signed a content-sharing partnership with Associated Press.

“Our mission is to support independent journalism and restore trust in quality journalism,” said the blog.

Blockchain technology is increasingly used to challenge existing business models in areas such as financial markets, cross-border payments, and shipping. The application of technology in the field of content generation and news media is yet to be tested.

It remains to be seen how blockchain can bring newsrooms to profitability or make their business models sustainable in a climate where traditional business model of media organizations are increasingly being challenged. More than 2000 journalists have lost their jobs in the U.S. alone.

“This is just the latest alarming indication that the news industry sorely lacks a working business model,” said the blog. “Meanwhile, more and more people acknowledge that the disproportionate power of centralized platforms like Facebook, YouTube and Twitter deserves much of the blame. It’s time for something new.”

The much-touted token sale, however, failed in its attempt to raise as much as $24mn after the token sale came short of expectation last October.

It was widely blamed on a complicated process of purchasing tokens.

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