Do we need a more lively Wikipedia for the Snapchat generation? The founders of a fast-growing site called Everipedia, which offers a snappy design and incorporates blockchain technology, say we do—and just raised $30 million to expand their mission.
On Thursday, Everipedia announced the new investment from Galaxy Digital’s Ecosystem Fund, which is dedicated to expanding the blockchain platform known as EOS.
Everipedia will use the money to expand their Wikipedia rival, which launched in 2015, and claims to have 3 million monthly unique users and more than 6 million encyclopedia entries.
In an interview with Fortune, co-founder Sam Kazemian said a younger generation is looking for something less stodgy than Wikipedia, including a reference site that incorporates GIFs and social media.
The most intriguing part of Everipedia, though, is its plans to distribute tokens that will permit people to edit entries on the site. In practice, this means contributors will post tokens along with proposed edits—if the community approves the edits, they get to keep their token and also earn a little more. If the edit is deemed wrong or unhelpful, the would-be editors lose their token.
Giving Everipedia contributors a financial stake in the project is intended to encourage quality contributions, and to discourage the partisan gamesmanship that can sometimes arise on the all-volunteer Wikipedia.
It remains to be seen, however, if Everipedia can pull this off. In a recent article, the website The Outline offered a scathing account of how trolls have run amok on the platform, fanning conspiracy theories and defamatory comments. The piece also worried about the privacy consequences of Everipedia, which completes many entries simply by scraping material from social media, creating public profiles of non-notable people.
The investors are more optimistic, describing Everipedia as “a dynamic and innovative company with the technology and vision to change the way people access and contribute to the knowledge ecosystem.”
The company has yet to issue the tokens that will power Everipedia’s edit economy, but says it will do so in coming months.
The token distribution will not take the form of a so-called “Initial Coin Offering” (ICO) but instead as an “airdrop”—basically distributing tokens for free—to anyone who already holds tokens for the EOS platform.