Building a Decentralized Media: Why Cryptorials is Partnering with DECENT
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As the editor of Cryptorials.io I was pleased to announce recently that we will be partnering DECENT platform to publish our content on the decentralized media network that they are building.
In this article I would like to share with you the reasons why I made that decision, what it will offer us, and why I think that decentralizing our media is so vital – not only for publishers like us but more importantly for consumers.
Why decentralized media?
At Cryptorials we want to support decentralized media because the world needs it. There are a few basic reasons why this is the case, as well as many smaller reasons I don’t have the space to go into here:
- It is resistant to both overt censorship and more subtle manipulation.
- It may reduce prices by being cost effective and getting rid of middlemen.
- It has greater potential to protect the privacy and data security of both consumers and producers.
For democracy to function effectively society needs a free and independent media. More than that, for us to be able to function effectively in our own personal lives we need access to open, fair and honest sources of information. But both government and corporate interests are constantly trying, and often succeeding, to control the media in order to influence people to support their own interests.
The internet made some in-roads into breaking the grip of a mainstream media which has become increasingly controlled by a small group of global corporations. But it can only go so far. Websites can be blocked or taken down by governments or pushed out of business by the total domination of Google over online advertising. Apps can be blocked from proprietary app stores, effectively making them invisible to the general public. A small number of social network sites like Facebook and Twitter control the way that most people discover and consume media; they have total control over what their users see and have both been regularly accused of political censorship. Meanwhile ‘astroturfing’ techniques allow anyone with the resource to manipulate trends and create fake viral stories.
We can do better than this, and decentralization is how we do it. Direct relationships between producers and consumers through a peer-to-peer network which cannot be controlled by corporate owners and using an equally uncensorable digital currency (remember Wikileaks almost getting silenced by credit card companies and Paypal refusing to process donations?) solve most if not all of this problems.
These issues are of particular concern to a site like Cryptorials. We regularly publish articles on what may be considered controversial topics, and topics which go against government and corporate interests. This includes information about the deep web, about encryption and privacy-related technologies which allow users to protect themselves against over-bearing government data collection and corporate spying, and more besides. Already we cannot use Google’s advertising network, which is several times more profitable for website owners than the nearest alternatives, because of their overbearing terms of service. The site lives on under constant threat of more proactive measures to prevent us from providing you with this kind of information.
So for this website you are reading now, publishing our content through a decentralized network may well be a matter of survival. It gives us the confidence that we can continue publishing no matter what happens, and also offers opportunities to finance the costs of the site through engaging directly with our readers in new ways.
For you as a consumer, decentralized media means that you can enjoy content which would be difficult or impossible to publish other ways, from blogs like this to leaked data from whistle-blowers. It means that you will be able to enjoy premium movies and music from your favourite bands for a much lower cost than you would pay elsewhere – or even just for an optional tip, whilst also enjoying a lot of free content with zero advertising. And it also opens up a whole new world of peer-to-peer media sharing with greater reliability, privacy and breadth of content.
I have known for some time now that Cryptorials needs to start publishing our content through a decentralized network. But finding the right one, when this technology is so early on in its development, has not been easy.
There have been many alternatives that I looked at. One of the first was ZeroNet, which I have written about before. But without a good built-in monetization model the time cost of setting up and promoting a site through that network just wasn’t economically viable. More recently, of course, there has been Steemit.com, which has generated a great deal of buzz and a high valuation for its internal currency. But for us the economics of the system and its domination by whales and bots just don’t add up, whilst the options it offered us for how we present our articles to the reader are very limited. There have been several others that I considered too.
DECENT is the first network dedicated to creating a decentralized media which I have looked at that seemed to hit all of the sweet spots – a great vision for a suite of apps to make the network user-friendly for the consumer, an economic model that makes sense, and founding ideals which resonate with those on which this site was built.
How you can support DECENT
If the issues raised in this article are important to you too, you can support what the engineers at DECENT are trying to do by signing up for their newsletter, which will keep you up to date with their progress. If you can, you can also support them by participating in their ‘initial coin offering’, which will fund the network’s development and possibly also allow you to share in some of the financial success of the DECENT protocol.