Civil Journalism ICO Fails, Issues Refund to Investors

Blockchain, News

Civil, a blockchain startup that is aiming to revolutionize the media industry, has failed to reach the soft cap in its recent Initial Coin Offering. The soft cap was set at USD 8 Million, while the ICO only reached USD 3 Million according to most reports. All investors are to be refunded by October 29th, and a new ICO is planned soon.

What happened the Civil ICO?

The ICO was based around the idea of ethical journalism bolstered with distributed ledger technology. It was also going to help journalists to get paid a fair wage for their work. The ICO was launched on September 28th, 2018 and over 34 Million CVL tokens were to be issued globally. On October 10th, Civil announced that it had only raised USD 3 Million. However, the Observer reports that it only raised USD 1.4 Million from just over 1000 people.

Issues with investing in the ICO token are held to be the primary reason for the fundraising failure. Users were required to upload a passport and driving license in a 44 step process. Such an invasive KYC process is very much against the wider DLT industry, where no group should have this kind of sensitive information. According to an article from Neiman Lab, what one user required to casually participant in a project which he believed was furthering the journalism industry included –

  • a Token Foundry account
  • a Coinbase account
  • a Metamask account
  • a Metamask browser plugin
  • a bank account
  • a passport
  • a driver’s license
  • a safe deposit box
  • some U.S. dollars
  • ETH (Ethereum) tokens
  • CVL (Civil) tokens

Where to from here?

Civil has publicly stated that they intend to create a more user-friendly ICO in future, though it is unknown what kind of effect the failed ICO will have on the userbase. The team has indicated that people who currently hold CVL tokens can hold onto them in a straight swap for the new tokens in the future ICO.

Civil is by no means dead and buried, with a strong community and strong industry associations. They have already received USD 5 Million from Consensys, and the team has stated it will continue its work even without any further contributions from investors. The Associated Press, as well as Forbes, has already partnered with Civil for blockchain-based content licensing. These associations are going to continue despite the setback. The team intends to launch new features such as a WordPress blockchain plugin, a community governance tool called the Civil Registry, and a tool to allow regular users to build apps on the platform.

On the other hand, the failed ICO is a problem. Civil was launched in April and was supposed to represent a new frontier in journalism, with all posts permanently recorded on the Ethereum blockchain. But it has delivered little thus far. People still believe in the project and want to change the world of journalism for the better. But there are questions marks as to whether or not Civil is the right vehicle to do it. People seem to be investing in the idea of making journalism better, without paying attention to the fact that Civil is not up to the task.

Digital Nomad with an interest in Zen and Blockchain technology.

Law graduate with 3 years experience as a consultant in the capital markets industry and 4 years experience freelancing on UpWork as a Creative Writer.