Civil, founded by Matthew Iles last year, is building what it hopes will be an open marketplace for journalists, scheduled to launch in the spring of 2018. The building blocks of the project are blockchains and a bespoke cryptocurrency, a system of “tokens” that will both fund the development of the platform and compensate writers and editors.
What Civil wants to build is a combination of a publishing tool or platform like Medium—where anyone can post content and reach a broader audience—and a crowdfunding system like Patreon or Kickstarter. But all in a place that has been designed specifically to support independent journalism.
Cryptocurrency, he says, makes that kind of funding easier than it would be with traditional payment systems, and it also gives members a stake in something that could (theoretically at least) increase in value.
“With open governance and crypto-economics, we can create a sustainable place for journalism —even the kind of local, policy, and investigative journalism that has been most eroded,” the company said in a white paper published online in October. “Decentralization is the key to a free and independent press.”