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Civil announces end to ‘self-governing’ journalism marketplace

Blockchain journalism platform Civil has announced it has closed with immediate effect, becoming the latest casualty of the blockchain startup scene.

The closure comes after four years for the company, in which the founders attempted to create a “self-governing marketplace” for journalism, powered by their blockchain platform.

The Consensys-backed firm announced the closure via a statement from CEO Matthew Iles posted to the company’s website.

In the statement, Iles said that while the company’s product was strong, they had failed to develop the sustainable revenue required to survive: “In 2016, Civil was founded on a moonshot mission to create a blockchain-based media platform for trustworthy journalism owned and operated by the public. We set out to decentralize how the news is vetted, how journalism is funded, and how we stay informed as a society.”

“We were among the first startups in the world to experiment with blockchain and cryptocurrencies in the media space. We built innovative technology, supported award-winning journalists, and inspired many people all over the world with our vision for a more participatory media landscape. But ultimately, we failed to sustain ourselves independently,” Iles said.

The collapse comes after a promising start for the platform. In 2017, Civil raised $5 million from backers ConsenSys, and successfully signed up publishing brands including Forbes and The Associated Press.

However, with difficulties establishing a viable revenue model, the platform was unable to realize its potential commercially.

“Civil will always hold a special place in my heart. Our grand experiment did not achieve its mission, but we did succeed in bringing many people together around something radically different and in service of something deeply important. Our mission for journalism is more important now than ever. I’m grateful for our chance to make a difference,” Iles said.

Staff at Civil will now work directly for ConsenSys following the closure, according to the company.

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