Manoush Zomorodi is the host of a podcast called ZigZag, a journalist, and an overall inquisitive person who has formed her entire occupation out of the connection between technology and behavior. However, in a split decision in June 2018, she launched ZigZag with producer Jen Poyant, which began a long series on understanding cryptocurrency and how they eventually joined Civil Media Company.
The first season was a collection of over 12 episodes, where they “translate the head-scratching lingo, odd habits, and important basics of digital currencies.” The series can be heard on iTunes and Google Play Store. Civil has developed into a decentralized platform for journalism that is built on Ethereum’s blockchain technology. In fact, it has its own token, and anyone has the opportunity to support these digital newsrooms.
Zomorodi’s decision to engage in this type of experiment has been interesting, to say the least. On the Coinbase blog, she said,
“I think there’s a real branding problem with the crypto world, which is that it’s all people who want to make money, fast. What a lot of people don’t know is that there’s also this very small, nascent sector of utility-based tokens, these token-curated registries, where it’s about trying to do something important and good for the world, not simply about the potential for financial gain. That element is the only reason I wanted to learn about crypto economics in the first place. I wasn’t interested in this until there was a use case — until there was a reason to use it other than to speculate and make a lot of cash. I think that’s what this inflection point is all about. If crypto is going to go mainstream, it’s going to be through these kinds of projects like Civil that people care about.”
She goes on to explain that there are 20 newsrooms that have grants from Civil for the creators of journalism. However, the goal she has it to figure out how the CVL token can work into the project at hand. Anyone that holds these tokens have the chance to be heard and to vote on the way that the platform is run. It comes down to acting as an underhanded way for Civil to require token holders to support their platform and contribute.
“The idea is that by combining blockchain with crypto-economics and a voting-and-governance system, you can start to create a new kind of community, or ecosystem.”
With the tokens, readers can even require that the uninteresting or bothersome articles be removed, which is basically a method of quality control via token usage.
Basically, Zomorodi calls this situation a social experiment, which is primarily run by the Civil Council, a committee that Vivian Schiller is in charge of. In fact, this type of platform is “why [Zomorodi] got into journalism originally,” considering the “fascinating” stakes. Speaking on behalf of Civil, Zomorodi notes that none of them have particular experience with blockchain.
Instead, she says,
“We’re the humanists. We’re witnessing the dawn of a new technology. I think a lot of us didn’t get to do this the first time around, with the Internet. So for me it was like: Cool, a do-over! And I’m right there, with a front row seat. I get to call out to the people on the stage and ask them questions and they have to stop and tell me what they’re doing. I’m not sitting back. That’s so exciting to me.”