Blockchain technology and decentralization can help in providing free speech for anyone in the world. Wikitribune, a new project embracing both concepts, will focus on doing exactly that. However, there is a slight twist, as the project will rely on bitcoin contributions to fund independent journalists. An interesting concept, but can it even work?
Wikitribune Sounds Quite Appealing
It has to be said, finding independent journalists is one thing, but keeping them independent is something else entirely. After all, these individuals have to be paid for their work at all times, which creates expectations by the people who rely on their services. Wikitribune aims to use bitcoin as a way to fund independent journalists moving forward, which is a rather novel idea.
To be more specific, the goal is to create an ecosystem where these independent journalists research, investigate, and write stories about bitcoin. Moreover, they will do so without any ulterior motive, although it remains to be seen if that is even a realistic thought. Moreover, Wikitribune will be a platform where content is posted that can be accessed freely, without paywalls or bothersome advertisements to distract the viewer.
It is well worth mentioning the Wikitribune idea is a concept conceived by Jimmy Wales, one of the co-founders of the Wikipedia platform. It is quite interesting to see Wales work on such a project, even though the world clearly needs solutions that will address the “fake news” problem. Wikitribune aims to be one of those solutions, although it remains to be seen how much traction it will gain once the platform has launched.
It is not hard to see the correlation between Wikipedia and Wikitribune, though. Both platforms are designed to be neutral in tone and open to volunteers looking to contribute. Moreover, both platforms make information free and easy to access, without advertisements, paywalls, or anything else. Wikipedia also started accepting bitcoin donations a while ago, and it appears WikiTribune is an extension of that “development”. Plus, Wikitribune will make bitcoin slightly more appealing to mainstream consumers who want to learn more about the ecosystem.
The ultimate goal for Wikitribune is to have people sign up as “monthly supporters”, who will pledge a specific amount of bitcoin to the site every month. As more people take this approach, the platform can pay its writers more and perhaps even expand the writing staff moving forward. Right now, Jimmy Wales hopes to create a team of around a dozen journalists sooner rather than later, although it will not be easy to do so.
The potential of Wikitribune is certainly there, although this “crowdfunded” model may not be the best course of action. It can become a trusted platform of any sorts, but it will be a steep challenge to “fix the fake news”. Non-profit news have never been done on a large scale in a successful manner and it remains to be seen if the Jimmy Wales’ new venture will prove differently. The plan to let funders get an influence over the content found on Wikitribune is a potential pitfall for this platform, albeit only time will tell how things play out.
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