By Kevin Kelleher
October 17, 2018

The Civil Media Co., a startup that hopes to use the blockchain to address some of the woes afflicting the world of journalism, is going back to the starting board in its plans to raise money through an initial coin offering.

Civil was founded last year with ambitions to redefine journalism through a project that would combine a publishing tool with a crowdfunding tool like Patreon. The new platform would be built on ethereum-based tokens that would help fund worthy, independent journalism. To help finance the Civil’s development, the company set out to sell enough tokens to raise between $8 million and $24 million.

Last week, Civil founder Matthew Iles said on a blog post that “we are not where we wanted to be at this point in the sale when we started out.” Civil had raised $1.3 million from 681 investors, with $1.1 million coming from ConsenSys, a seed investor in Civil. On Tuesday, Civil said its was canceling the token sale and would offer full refunds to those who had bought tokens.

“Civil is not going anywhere. The Civil Media Company is here to stay,” Iles wrote on Civil’s blog. “The CVL token sale didn’t succeed…. A new, much simpler token sale is in the works. We’ll be sharing details on that soon.”

People who have bought tokens so far will be able to opt into the new sale, request a refund, or receive an automatic refund on Oct. 29, Iles said.

An analysis of Civil’s token sale by NiemanLab noted that some people found it difficult to buy into Civil, although the company began letting people buy tokens with cash and made customer support more available. “We’re also working on a new token sale process, very different from the last one and, we hope, much easier,” said Iles.

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