Civil ICO transparently flops under the burden of reputability
An ICO for an honesty-in-funding project has no choice except to be painfully honest itself.
"This isn’t how we saw this going — but our company and our community are pushing hard to make it happen. We don’t know if it will work," Civil said, as its token sale neared the end.
It was a flop by any financial measure, raising about $2 million out of its intended $8 million soft cap or $24 million hard cap. And of that $2 million, more than half came from a single entity, ConsenSys, which is helmed by Ethereum co-founder Joseph Lubin.
Civil was intended to be a platform for truth in journalism, where fake news would be weeded out and punished while honest, high quality journalism would be rewarded. And so, perhaps, Civil needed to walk the talk a little more than less altruistic projects. This might, to a certain extent, have been why it went so poorly.
It's worth noting though that although the ICO flopped, the Civil newsroom still very much exists. Although it arguably has yet to fulfil its mission of truly independent journalism since it's currently funded almost entirely by ConsenSys.
There are now plans to reboot the token sale in a simpler form. Those who purchased tokens in the previous token sale can now opt to push on, get an immediate refund or do nothing for an automatic refund at a later date.
Doing everything right
The Civil ICO was committed to doing things the right way, in particular ensuring that people only bought into the token if they could afford to, if they knew what they were getting and wanted to be an active and valuable member of the ecosystem.
"We need to get CVL tokens into the hands of people who are ready to roll up their sleeves and help build Civil into a thriving home for independent journalism," said Civil CEO Matthew Iles.
The purchasing journey could be charitably described as a complete pain for those unfamiliar with Ethereum and cryptocurrency in general. Even those who are familiar with the space tended to stumble at the questionnaire.
Civil was aiming intently for a very small target: people who simultaneously knew enough about crypto to hurdle the purchasing barriers, cared enough about journalism to bother hurdling them, were charitable enough to make what amounted to a donation to an independent news organisation and were industrious enough to spend the requisite hours pushing through the buying experience.
In that respect, it's a bit of a miracle that Civil still managed to get almost 3,000 token sale participants. Civil is going to simplify its token sale plan before trying again and operate off the $3.5 million donation from ConsenSys for the meantime.
Maybe they should hit up Elon Musk for some donations. He recently came up with a similar idea. Except his version was largely tongue-in-cheek, and it was from the exact opposite side of the fence.
And of course, if he were to make a large donation to Civil that would probably impact its ability to cover any related subjects without bias.
Disclosure: At the time of writing, the author holds ETH, IOTA, ICX, VET, XLM, BTC and ADA.