How Blockchain could revitalise the media
Blockchain, which was one of the key buzzwords of 2017, is a technology that its champions believe will transform many industries. 2018 has seen the hype around Blockchain abate a little, so now seems to be an apposite moment for publishers to take a serious look at what the technology is, and how it could impact on both the way they publish and monetise content.
One of the speakers at DIS who is focused on Blockchain is Ingo Rübe, CEO, BOTlabs, Germany. He began his presentation by suggesting we take a step back and look at how the web has evolved thus far. He then outlined the history of the open web explaining how it developed and lead to the creation of intermediaries who bring the consumer to the producer. Ingo explained that this type of economic model, which started in 1995 is now really big. “Four out of the five biggest companies in the world are Internet intermediaries, which underlines it it is a good business model.”
“They operate on the open web,” added Ingo. “This is where we live as publishers. The open web is life insurance for publishers. Some companies are starting to build closed web platforms, like Facebook, Twitter, Snapchat and some websites. If we lose that direct connection to the consumer we are dead,”argued Ingo. “We should fear the closed web as the closed web destroys whole economic sectors. Ingo then asked the audience “how do we respond to the closed web as publishers? Do we build our own platform?”
He argued that it is not a sensible move to create or take on platforms. In the past publishers have tried to legislate against the intermediaries or harness the regulatory prowess of the EU to tame their influence. “The problem is that the tech is always faster than the policy,” he concluded.
“We think about the symptoms,” said Ingo, “but now we need to think about the problem.”
Civil using Blockchain to revitalise journalism
Over the past twelve months Blockchain has inspired a small cadre of startups to look at how the technology can be used to solve issues facing the media. One of the most high profile is Civil, a company that recently scored five million dollars worth of investment from Ethereum studio Consensys. At DIS the company’s co-founder and head of journalism operations, Daniel Sieberg outlined Civil’s vision and how it hopes to revitalise journalism.