By Jacqueline Corba
Blockchain start-up Civil Media wants to rebuild the crumbling economy of journalism, and it launched a token sale this week to do just that.
"We think that journalism as an industry is facing both a crisis of trust and sustainability," co-founder and CEO Matthew Iles told Cheddar's Crypto Craze on Thursday. "The business model is collapsing out from many news organizations around the world."
Part of the problem is that media outlets have to fight with tech giants like Google and Facebook for digital ad dollars, and paywalls often drive off potential readers.
Civil hopes to help fund publications through the sale of its CVL token ー it raised $600,000 in the first two days after launch and ultimately aims to raise $24 million.
All the proceeds go to the Civil Foundation, led by former National Public Radio CEO Vivian Schiller, and investors can work with the group to deploy those funds to news outlets they see as trustworthy.
"CVL is the mechanism by which citizens support quality journalism on Civil: it's how they govern the Civil network, and also contribute to the media economy. The token is the means by which Civil remains a thriving, sustainable network," Schiller told Cheddar Thursday.
Some of the organizations on the platform include Cannabis Wire, The Colorado Sun, Block Club Chicago, and ZigZag.
"Every news organization that comes onto Civil has to pledge to abide by the Civil constitution, which is our set of ethics and code of conduct," he said. "Every consumer who comes into contact with a newsroom on Civil will know they can trust it."
The company is still a ways away from meeting its goal ー and if it doesn't raise at least $8 million within 26 days, all the capital brought in will be returned, not unlike a Kickstarter campaign ー but Iles is confident.
"We are really excited about the demand that we are seeing. It's not fully represented by the numbers you are seeing on [Token Foundry]( (https://tokenfoundry.com/projects/civil) right now."
Eventually, Civil will put the money where it really belongs ー back in the hands of journalists.
"When we launch this will be a truly owned and operated platform by journalists and citizens directly, and that's what we think is so exciting," Iles said.
For full interview click here.