We’re excited that Civil, the publishing platform for independent journalism that Sludge runs on, just went live to the public today.
Head over to Civil to see how this network of decentralized newsrooms is coming together for sustainable journalism.
The major parts of the Civil platform launched more widely today, built on top of the Ethereum blockchain, are as follows:
- Civil governance platform: the token-curated registry of newsrooms, where websites apply to join the registry and participate in governance votes proposed by other newsrooms.
- For approved newsrooms, access to Civil’s WordPress publishing plugin: an editor-friendly tool for permanent archiving of posts on Ethereum and/or the InterPlanetary File System (IPFS). We’ve used the plugin to archive the text of a full investigative article on both; it’s nifty.
- CVL token storefront: a way to purchase the new CVL cryptocurrency with ETH (Ether) and take community actions on the governance platform, or tip independent newsrooms on the registry. USD proceeds from CVL purchases go to the Civil Foundation.
- The latest version of the Civil Constitution, for token-holder and community input, with a publicly-viewable discussion process about the Civil registry’s journalistic standards. The Constitution lays out details on, for example, how to propose a change to the amount of CVL needed to apply.
For anyone who acquires CVL tokens and would like to chat with Sludge about starting up a collaborative reporting or custom money-in-politics research project—or sending us a micro-tip in CVL—get in touch.
Thanks to the brand-new Civil governance platform, we can share that our Sludge newsroom’s Ethereum wallet address is: 0x 9724 5560 6256 c6f0 0a61 bc41 37d8 14b8 0f19 b6a2 (and on Etherscan), so we can accept donations in CVL there!
For more ideas on how a decentralized publishing platform can create positive network effects, visit my recent Medium post on media startup sustainability. For more background on the benefits of blockchain technology, read Chris Dixon in WIRED from Jan. 4th, and science writer Steven Johnson’s NYT Mag cover story on Ethereum’s features for self-sovereignty, from Jan. 16th, 2018.
A shared platform (while each site retains its own ownership) means new subscribers in Southern California gained through local news collaborations help grow the network in upstate New York, and vice versa. Individual newsrooms can pivot and test new revenue strategies in ways that are compliant with the Civil Constitution and fairly challenged by other token-holders on the network. Out of this decentralized foundation, news websites should get a lot better, less ad-cluttered and clickbait-y. Content that’s worth supporting with reader donations and new micro-tipping features, as seen on our sibling site Popula (and coming soon to Sludge).
Get in touch anytime to chat more about Sludge on Civil’s token-curated registry, and if you’re at #NICAR19, find me for an in-person demo of any of the above; happy to meet up while I’m in California—just DM me, @ppolitics.