Civil will conduct its token launch beginning on September 18. Read on for more information on how CVL works. Once you've reviewed this information, and how to responsibly purchase CVL, go to Token Foundry to register to purchase CVL.Register to purchase CVL
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Civil is a protocol: a set of rules to which everybody in the network agrees to observe.
“Protocol” often conveys a deeply technical meaning, but it's actually a simple concept. A protocol is a shared set of standards that a large community has agreed to around how to conduct a practice.
There are diplomatic protocols that guide how heads of state are generally expected to interact with one another in service of advancing their respective goals; there are scientific protocols, which mandate that consistent standards be applied in experiments to ensure the successful replication of results; there are communication protocols that ensure that data is transmitted and received in a consistent manner so that the internet works as it's intended.
Civil is a protocol for journalism.
It will not be overseen by a single, centralized authority or company, but by a community of civically engaged individuals and organizations from around the world. This is called decentralization, and it's a powerful new way to organize individuals and organizations within a purposeful network where no one's in charge of anyone else
This community will oversee Civil's ethical journalism standards, outlined in the Civil Constitution, and enforce them across the independent network of Newsroom that form on Civil. It will also weigh in on how and when to shape and reshape those standards over time, via amendments to the Civil Constitution.
Introducing CVL tokens
To make this a reality, The Civil Media Company, which initially developed the protocol and the platform it powers, is implementing a cooperative model in which decision-making authority will be turned over to a larger community. That process will occur via the launch of CVL, a uniquely designed cryptocurrency.
CVL tokens are the software with which journalists will launch independently owned and operated Newsrooms; CVL will also enable citizens to enforce and advance Civil's ethical journalism standards across the entire network. They are the utility with which the Civil community will be able to impact the network's long-term growth and evolution as a hub for quality, sustainable journalism.
4 Ways to Use CVL
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.
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.
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.
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.
4 Key Considerations for Using CVL
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.
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).
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.
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.
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.