Blockchain vs Fake News? Startup Userfeeds Takes Up Fight
Blockchain startup Userfeeds has developed a platform aimed combatting fake news through the use of reputation schemes.
Thrust into the spotlight by last year's US presidential election, the launch comes at a time when voters across the world have been awash in divisive information-dissemination practices as diverse as trolling, clickbait articles and spam.
However, the Polish startup is now building a blockchain solution it believes could help solve the issue by fixing what it says is the "underlying cause" of all these practices: the finite supply of human attention.
Maciej Olpinski, the co-founder and chief executive of Userfeeds, told CoinDesk:
"In our view, the only way to fix these problems is to modify incentives that make it economically viable to produce and spread these types of content."
Olpinski explained that, due to the economics of online publishing, it can sometimes make more sense for websites to produce low quality content that can be quickly converted into advertising dollars. Further, due to the closed nature of advertising and social media platforms, readers can never be sure who is behind messages in their news feeds.
The big idea behind Userfeeds is to create a credible system of content ranking that rewards users for their feedback. Built on the ethereum blockchain, it allows users to "design voting systems to quickly gather feedback on important topics" and "reward users for actions taken within your application with your own currency".
"Blockchains and tokens are really interesting to us because they allow us to experiment with alternative economic incentives."
To further progress its R&D work, Userfeeds has secured about $800,000 in seed funding from BY Capital, Coinbase co-founder Fred Ehrsam and entrepreneur and investor Piotr Smolen.
According to the startup, the goal is to use the money to develop in-house apps that can help demonstrate the value proposition of platform.