A huge selling point of blockchain technology is its ability to decentralize institutions essential to society. This feature has made the technology so popular, that an entire industry has grown up around it — including a thriving community of Bitcoin and blockchain-centric news publications. However, contrary to the blockchain ethos, these media outlets operate in an entirely centralized fashion — giving rise to accusations of centralization and corporate control. The Decentralized News Network (DNN) plans to address these concerns with — you guessed it — the blockchain.
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The DNN platform — built on top of the Ethereum network — decentralizes the news writing process by having contributors submit their articles to a random board of evaluators. These reviewers do not know each other, and have no communication with one another.
When reviewing a submitted piece, the evaluators fact check the article, and judge it based on its relevance, quality, and objectivity as outlined in the platform’s official editorial guidelines. Reviewers then vote on whether or not the piece should be published on the platform, and the majority vote decides the fate of the article.
Commenting on their motivations for building DNN, co-founders Samit Singh and Dondrey Taylor said inspiration struck them while observing mainstream media’s coverage of the 2016 U.S. presidential election.
“We saw a lot of pandering to political audiences,” the duo told Bitsonline, “and now we’re pretty much at a historical low when it comes to trust levels in the US when it comes to mainstream media.”
“[DNN] might be used as a vehicle to put the power back in the hands of the people.”
Native tokens power the platform, both incentivizing participants and keeping them honest. If a writer has a piece published on the platform, they will receive payment in these tokens. On the other side of the process, reviewers get paid only if their vote matches the majority. According to Singh and Taylor, this process will lead reviewers to vote in the majority interest, rather than for personal reasons.
For more technical details on how the platform works, DNN encourages the community to read their white paper.
On the surface, DNN may worry salaried journalists working for one of these corporate media publications — be it in the cryptocurrency industry or the mainstream. However, Singh and Dondrey assure the media industry that there will be no cause for concern if their platform takes off.
“We do not have any intention of replacing any traditional news organizations at all,” they said. “More so, we just want to bring a more transparent platform that will allow for [a] more open review process.”
Thus, according to the co-founders, corporate media outlets could actually use DNN to outsource their fact-checking, taking part in the benefits of a decentralized and trustless review process.
Rather than challenging the media industry head-on, Singh and Dondrey said they’d rather “provoke a very open conversation about how news is actually created today.”
“As far as traditional news sites go [we] do feel that there is a potential for huge collaboration in terms of the fact-checking aspect.”
However, Singh and Dondrey do hope that one day their platform will grow to the point where freelancers can make significant income from writing with DNN.
To fund DNN, the team has organized a token sale, scheduled to open in 2 weeks on February 2. At press time, the company is holding a private pre-sale, in which hopeful investors will be evaluated and whitelisted for the public sale.
The total token supply for DNN comes in at 1 billion. According to Singh and Dondrey, half of the total supply will be available in the public token sale. DNN will distribute the rest between bonuses for early backers, the bounty program, and outreach.
DNN launched the Alpha release of the platform in June 2017, and expects the Beta to go live some time during Q4 2018.
What do you think? Is there a strong need for something like the DNN in today’s media climate? Let us know in the comments below.
Images via Huffington Post, LinkedIn