Blockchain startup hopes to end fake news

A startup is launching a new blockchain platform designed to tackle fake news reporting.

The new platform aims to vet journalism and weed out any disinformation, alternative facts, lies, false reports, or just plain fake news, as Donald Trump likes to call it.

The creators of Civil describe their network as a “decentralized marketplace for sustainable journalism.”

They say their goal is to utilize blockchain technology in the publishing industry to establish journalistic integrity.

On the flip side, they say that project will also punish those who report falsities.

The startup is garnering a huge amount of interest from investors.

European Journalism Centre is pledging a 1.7 million Euro grant, among others.

Ethereum co-founder Joseph Lubin’s venture capital firm, ConsenSys, is also investing an additional $5 million.

Civil plans to launch an ICO (initial coin offering) later this year to sell its own CVL cryptocurrency.

100 journalists from 15 separate publications are already publishing content to Civil.

So far, $1 million in grants has been awarded to their participants who are writing about subjects varying from the marijuana industry to US immigration policies.

Journalistic integrity

The concept involves using an entirely decentralized system to check the validity of an author’s reporting.

While the idea may sound simple, the implementation is very complex.

Civil co-founder Mathew Iles explains the foundations is the company’s white paper:

“the solution to this broken system is an entirely new economy where advertisers—and the platforms that enable them, like Google or Facebook—are cut out, and journalists are free to publish directly to readers.”

Civil is ditching the current model for accessing free content online, that most publishers use on the internet.

Instead, the firm will develop a new ecosystem whereby by users and content creators will buy and sell news through an economy run on the CVL token.

Readers will buy content with it, and writers will be paid in it.

Journalists will also be vetted with it using a system called token-curated registry.

By using this model, all participants will be putting forward a stake of CVL tokens.

If somebody wants to file a claim against another body for violating the code of ethics, they will have to spend tokens, and risk losing them should their claims be unfounded.

The aim is that the risk of losing tokens will help to weed out frivolous reports.

According to Mathew Ingram, a Columbia Journalism Review writer, it’s too early to say whether the idea holds any merit, saying:

“It’s very ambitious and it’s based on a theoretical marketplace that doesn’t yet exist, which means it is fairly risky, Will Civil build the kind of ecosystem it wants to?

“And will enough people be incentivized to take part in that process so that it works the way Civil wants to?

“I don’t know.”