Journalism blockchain startup Civil cancels ICO fundraiser


A company planning to revolutionize journalism by creating a new blockchain-based economy has failed to attract sufficient investment, resulting in the cancellation of its initial coin offering (ICO).

The Civil Media Company had an ambitious plan to raise $8 million through the sales of its crypto-currency CVL. It appears that those ambitions were too lofty as the company announced on Wednesday that it would be refunding all token purchases by October 29.

Civil’s aim was to reignite a more direct connection between readers and journalists while taking advertisers, publishers and other third parties out of the equation, according to their website. On a company blog post last week, Civil founder Matthew Iles said: “The numbers will show clearly enough that we are not where we wanted to be at this point in the sale when we started out.”

Civil had raised funds from 681 individuals from 61 countries, totaling a little more than $1.3 million, which was way short of their target. The largest investor has been blockchain firm ConsenSys, which purchased more than $1.1 million in CVL tokens in September, representing 82% of the total.

Iles said, however, that “the Civil Media Company is here to stay. 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.”

Once the new tokens are distributed Civil will launch three new features, a community governance application called The Civil Registry, a blockchain publishing plugin for WordPress and a developer tool for developers to build apps on the platform. ConsenSys has already agreed to purchase $3.5 million worth of these new tokens.

In another blog posted Wednesday, Iles added that the ICO cancellation was a setback, not a shock. “We watched the CVL token sale’s progress with the rest of you. We expected a different outcome when we launched the sale, but circumstances changed. We learned a lot of lessons which we will reflect on in the coming weeks and share with our community and the public.”

The announcement that the ICO has been cancelled is hardly surprising as the sector has just witnessed a bear market where crypto-currencies have fallen by almost 75% since their peaks in January.

Interest in ICOs has also waned as investor confidence wobbles and US regulators remain inconsistent with regulations.

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