Blockchain journalism startup Civil is shutting down

Civil, the high-profile, blockchain-backed attempt to nurture nascent digital news sites, is shutting down. It’s “the end of Civil,” he said. Iles and his seven-person tech team will be folded into Civil’s main investor, blockchain studio ConsenSys, to develop new product strategies. Vivian Schiller, a well-traveled and well-respected digital news executive who had been president of the related Civil Foundation, left to head media and technology programs at the Aspen Institute at the start of this year. Civil was launched in 2017 at the height of enthusiasm for blockchain virtual currency. MORE ON CIVIL: Civil wants to use cryptoeconomics and blockchain to build the future of news. MORE ON CIVIL: Civil tries a relaunch but blockchain and a complex ‘constitution’ remain In the early days of Civil’s launch, top news organizations were open to a relationship. “We had been trying to scope out a project with Civil related to registering and tracking photos,” Jim Kennedy, chief of strategy for the Associated Press, wrote in an email. The Civil Foundation lined up nine A-list digital news veterans as a Civil Council. I do think the state of the art in supporting necessary journalism in a time of great need has advanced quickly during Civil’s three-year lifespan.SHOW LESS

Blockchain and Next Generation Media

real-world blockchain

The International News Media Association (INMA) hosted a webinar this past week (Oct 17, 2018) titled, “Blockchain: Enabling Next Generation Media Services.”

The webinar was presented by Stefan Farestam, Co-Founder, Carechain, Sweden.

INMA editor, Shelley Seale, provided an article about the webinar.

Farestam notes, “What the internet enabled was for information to be shared with other parties. But what blockchain enables is distribution of transactions among multiple parties without a central intermediary.”

Blockchain has the potential to disrupt all parts of the media value chain through:

  • Disaggregation
  • Digital Rights Management
  • Royalty Tracking.

Blockchain-enabled identity solutions could benefit the following:

  • Battle fake news
  • Re-establish trust in the authenticity of comment fields
  • Create entirely new business areas for media actors

There are several reasons to keep data on a blockchain, Farestam shared:

  • Timestamped: provable timing for all content.
  • No super-user: no priveleged access mode.
  • User in control: user controls all access.
  • Immutable: content cannot be changed.
  • Distributed: no single point of failure.
  • Smart contracts: programmable functionality.

Blockchain, Trust and Journalism

Daniel Sieberg speaks about blockchain, cryptocurrency, trust and more specifically, what blockchain is good for when it comes to journalism.

In this talk he highlights three points:

  • Governance: Putting value, such as a vote, or a token, in the hands of individuals, as opposed to centralized entities.
  • Storage: Once a story is published on blockchain, it’s permanently available and distributed on many computers in the world.  Trying to change or hide that story would be like trying to recall all of the issues of a newspaper after it has been distributed.  In other words, it’s  immutable and transparent.
  • Licensing: Blockchain is like fingerprinted digital assets. It helps content creators get paid for their own work into the future since the source of the creator is indisputably known.

Civil’s First Token Sale: No Go. Will Try Again.


Civil’s goal for their first token sale: Sell 34 million CVL tokens for between $8 million and $24 million.

The sale began on September 18 and concluded Monday night, October 16.

1,012 buyers purchased $1,435,491 worth of CVL tokens. Since they didn’t meet their goal, refunds will be issued to all buyers.

Civil is going to try again. The company says “a new, much simpler token sale is in the works.” Details to be shared soon.

Here’s the post from Civil: What’s Next For Civil.

Exploring New Journalism Economics with Civil


It’s no secret that the economics of 21st century journalism is in trouble.

Hari Sreenivasan from PBS in NY explores an attempt to use blockchain for the purpose of solving two major issues with modern journalism:

  • The growing trust gap between consumers and news organizations
  • Financial sustainability

The New York-based startup Civil launched last year with the goal of using blockchain — the same technology that powers the cryptocurrency Bitcoin — to help to build a network of independent news organizations with a sustainable business model. Civil hopes to create a new economy for journalism, including its very own cryptocurrency, the “CVL” token.

Civil: A New Journalism Paradigm on Blockchain

Civil describes itself as “The Decentralized Marketplace for Sustainable Journalism.”

Its mission is “to help power sustainable journalism throughout the world.”

“We believe in a new approach that takes advertisers and other third-party interests out of the equation, enabling journalists and readers to connect directly and focus on telling impactful stories.”

Continue reading “Civil: A New Journalism Paradigm on Blockchain”