PressCoin is a new cryptocurrency aimed at firing down 'fake news' and empowering independent journalists. Aggelos Kiayias, director of the Blockchain Technology Laboratory at the University of Edinburgh, explains how the Blockchain can be utilized for non-currency related means, potentially rendering 'fake news' powerless.
Sputnik: How could the Blockchain model accommodate journalism?
Aggelos Kiayias: Well, there is a well-recognized problem at the moment — the issue of 'fake news'. There is also a wider issue that exists in the funding of news sources. I think that the Blockchain systems could provide an opportunity to rethink how we can fund news sources, in a more distributed way, which is more in alignment with the current times. We have a lot of independent journalists, so we need to find a way to provide the right sort of incentives. Such an effort [PressCoin] could be a good step in this direction, in some ways it enables us to 'tokenize' journalists' efforts. By doing this, you can also keep track of who is doing good work, in a decentralized fashion, and in some senses this could provide a way to distinguish reliable sources from unreliable ones, while still maintaining the decentralized aspects of today's news production.
Sputnik: One of the founders of PressCoin said that 'reputation' of authors and commentators would be stored in the Blockchain. Can the Blockchain be used for things other than financial transactions?
Aggelos Kiayias: Yes exactly, that's the nice thing about it. You can completely forget using the Blockchain for things like maintaining a currency and you can think about it in maintaining reputation points. You can use the same 'bookkeeping' virtues that Bitcoin has, but for a completely different purpose. It's actually re-purposing the concept of the Blockchain for a completely different industry. That's actually very appealing. There are certain virtues in Bitcoin: it's globally available and there is no way to censor it. Therefore nobody can be in control of that system. But still, people could refer to it, to evaluate the trustworthiness of a certain source.