Crypto Media

For all the good we’ve achieved, the web has evolved into an engine of inequity and division; swayed by powerful forces who use it for their own agendas. — Internet pioneer Tim Berners-Lee What do Bitcoin, security and journalism have in common? Not much at the moment, but as Web3 and smart contracts on blockchains are starting to take off and decentralize power in finance, their application in other industries and governments is getting a lot of people excited.

Web3 refers to decentralized internet networks, secure computing, and autonomous intelligent software, such as smart contracts. Web3 underpins the internet of value. It replaces Web2 — the internet of social interactions, as well as Web1 — the internet of information.

Media and journalism could really benefit from what smart contracts and NFTs offer. There are so many opportunities here to explore.

  • Trust in journalism: The crypto space was built on trustless systems and not needing 3rd parties for verification
  • Paying for journalism: Tokenizing value around facts and reporting could help create a clear value for consumers and practitioners alike. NFT assets for an organization's photography could help protect copyright, create revenue and even create a royalty stream.
  • Decentralizing journalism: The top down information hierarchy has been an issue for many media consumers who have shifted their media habits to social media instead of relying on media organizations. Are there possibilities for journalism without authority in a decentralized system?

Faculty and Staff Leads

Zach Wise

Associate Professor

Emmy winning interactive producer & Associate Professor @NorthwesternU, @KnightLab. Formerly of The New York Times. Creator of TimelineJS & StoryMapJS

Project Details

2021 Fall

Important Questions
  • What would a smart contract for journalism information look like? How atomized should that information be?
  • What parts of journalism could be tokenized? Organizations have looked at NFTs but what about tokens as rewards for verifying information, sharing or participating?
  • What would decentralized journalism look like?

For this project, a team of students will explore the crypto space and build a basic smart contract token. The team will explore possibilities for journalism in a web3 space and present what a future for journalism in the crypto space might look like.