CVL tokens: Why they matter, and what they do

5 Ways to Use CVL

CVL coin

Launching a Newsroom

To launch a Newsroom on Civil, individuals must deposit CVL tokens. The deposit represents a Newsroom signing a virtual contract, confirming that it will adhere to Civil’s ethical journalism standards to the best of its ability at all times. After a finite waiting period, assuming nobody in the community challenges the Newsroom for a violation of any of the journalistic standards outlined in the Civil Constitution, the Newsroom will be added to the Civil Registry, the marketplace of independent, community-approved Newsrooms that run on Civil.

CVL coin

Challenging a Newsroom

If a Newsroom appears to violate any standard outlined in the Civil Constitution, it can be challenged. To do so, a challenger must cite the perceived violation(s) and stake a matching CVL deposit to initiate the challenge. The community will then vote, via CVL, to determine whether the Newsroom in question is in violation of the Civil Constitution — and therefore, the protocol. If a Newsroom is found to be in violation of the Civil Constitution, its contract will be voided and it will be removed from the Civil Registry.

CVL coin

Voting For / Against a Challenge

CVL is the utility with which individuals will vote for or against challenges. Voters who vote for the “winning” side of a challenge can also be rewarded with tokens from the “losing” side's deposit stake as a reward for participation; voters for the losing side will not lose CVL.

CVL coin

Appealing Challenges

If the community votes for/against a Newsroom, and any member of the “losing” party feels the vote was not in the spirit of the Civil Constitution, they can appeal the decision to the Civil Council. The Civil Council is an independent body of veteran journalists, journalism scholars and free speech attorneys whose job is, upon appeal, to interpret a given vote and determine whether its outcome is aligned with the Civil Constitution. More context on the Civil Council appears in the “Community-Driven Checks and Balances” section.

To launch this process, a member of the community must stake a CVL deposit, which will be refunded if the appeal is successful.

CVL coin

Directly Support Journalists with CVL

CVL is a cryptocurrency. Transactions are carried out in a direct, peer-to-peer manner. In addition to traditional (or fiat) currency, it's also possible to support journalists with CVL tokens on Civil. Due to the lack of credit card processing/transaction fees in a peer-to-peer system, this unlocks new revenue streams for journalists, like microtipping (as well as being able to simply pay newsroom membership or subscription fees in CVL — an easier experience than pulling out a credit card, since you'll be logged into your CVL wallet and can easily make payments across the entire Civil Newsroom ecosystem.

6 Key Considerations for Using CVL

CVL coin

Incentivizing Good Behavior with Cryptoeconomics

“Staking” is a critical element of the CVL token economy; it will ensure a system in which individuals are incentivized to act as a collective; behavior that is good for the network at large (e.g., launching a quality Newsroom) will contribute to its positive growth and evolution, while selfish, self-motivated behavior (e.g., trolls/spammers attempting to launch a Newsroom that’s clearly not aligned with the Civil Constitution) can be punished by an applicant losing his/her deposit stake upon challenge.

In this way, Civil is also making the process of identifying bad actors (spammers, trolls, those who deliberately seek to seed misinformation) an economic game, with an accompanying rule set (the Civil Constitution), that offers a tangible reward. Successful challenges to unethical Newsrooms can yield CVL tokens for both the challenger and those who voted with the challenger. Alternately, quality Newsrooms are rewarded for weathering challenges by being awarded with a portion of CVL from the challenge stake, with the remainder going to those who voted with the Newsroom, and against the challenge.

CVL coin

Keeping Civil Decentralized: Community-Driven Checks and Balances

What happens if a single individual or small group acquires so many tokens that it can “game” the system? If a Newsroom that is clearly in violation of one or many of the Civil Constitution's ethical journalism standards, it manages to acquire enough CVL to ensure it can’t be voted off of the protocol by the community?

For that, there is the Civil Foundation, a non-profit, independent entity whose core mission is to work with the community to uphold and advance the standards outlined in the Civil Constitution. It also exists as a hedge against malicious actors seeking to co-opt the network, and maintains the technical power to overturn such votes upon appeal.

The Civil Foundation will house the Civil Council, a body of veteran journalists, journalism scholars and free speech attorneys who will act as an appellate body that will review community votes and which possesses the power to overturn those they deem not to have been aligned with the ethical standards in the Civil Constitution (which also reverses the flow of CVL tokens awarded from the previous outcome). The Civil Council will interpret whether a vote was carried out in the spirit of the Civil Constitution, and will overturn those not carried out in the spirit of its ideals.

The Civil Foundation’s inaugural CEO is Vivian Schiller, formerly CEO and president at National Public Radio, among many other posts in the journalism world. She will lead the Civil Council and will oversee the Civil Foundation’s larger efforts around community governance and philanthropy.

To ensure that no power is unchecked on Civil, the community can veto a Civil Council ruling via a supermajority vote (the Civil Constitution outlines the specific parameters required for this process).

CVL coin

Initial CVL Network Participants

Ahead of its launch, Civil has partnered with mission-aligned organizations from the journalism and nonprofit spaces. These organizations share Civil’s journalism-driven mission and will help drive the network forward.

Additionally, each of Civil’s First Fleet Newsrooms will possess CVL tokens and will be actively participating in the network’s governance from day one.

This means it would be prohibitively difficult — if not impossible — for any single actor to corrupt the network for purposes outside of supporting quality, sustainable journalism.

CVL coin

Visualizing the Network, Flagging Anomalous Activity

It’s easier to monitor the flow of peer-to-peer, token transactions than it is traditional currencies, which are more opaque because of how they flow in and out of financial and other third-party institutions. Civil’s partner Alethio provides a real-time look into network activity, and makes it possible to flag suspicious behavior — e.g., a single party or limited group suddenly acquiring a significant portion of CVL, and then dispersing it to a larger group of proxies, in an attempt to manipulate a given vote.

CVL coin

CVL is a consumer token

CVL is a consumer token, based on the framework produced by the Brooklyn Project. To ensure that the Civil Media Company follows all responsible steps in building a decentralized network, all CVL owners will be required to verify their identities before acquiring CVL. If they choose to sell CVL on the secondary market, they must prove they have used CVL for its intended purposes. For a minimum of 12 months, only users who plan to use CVL tokens for their intended purpose and have completed a Know Your Customer (KYC) process on either Token Foundry or civil.co will be able acquire CVL tokens, including via direct transfers from other CVL token holders.

CVL coin

Proof of Use and Transferability Policy for CVL

CVL is a consumer token, based on the framework produced by the Brooklyn Project. To ensure that the Civil Media Company follows all responsible steps in building a decentralized network, all CVL owners will be required to verify their identities before acquiring CVL. If they choose to sell CVL on the secondary market, they must prove they have used CVL for its intended purposes. For a minimum of 12 months, only users who have completed a Know Your Customer (KYC) process on either Token Foundry or civil.co will be acquire CVL tokens, including via direct transfers from other CVL token holders. Learn more about proof of use and transferability requirements here.

Of note, CVL is not required to simply read and support journalism on Civil Newsrooms — citizens will largely transact in traditional, or fiat, currency (as well as ETH) for those services. The Civil Media Company will never take a direct cut of any of those payments.

CVL exists for those who wish to participate in a global network of civically engaged individuals who care about advocating for and upholding quality journalism standards on Civil.

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Have enough ETH to buy as many CVL tokens as you’d like? Proceed to Token Foundry.

Looking to buy some ETH for the first time? Follow this PDF guide.

If you haven’t already, you will need to register for the token sale on Token Foundry* by October 15. You won’t be buying CVL there, but we must use Token Foundry to confirm your identity. We cannot send your tokens unless you do this. Don’t worry: we will send you an email with detailed instructions.

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