A new report investigating blockchain’s role in the publishing industry claims the technology will continue to be utilized regardless of the cryptocurrency market’s performance.

The World Association of Newspapers and News Publishers, WAN-IFRA, in collaboration with the University of Arcada in Finland released the report today, in it detailing a number of benefits the publishing industry can enjoy by integrating blockchain technology.

The authors of ‘Blockchain and the Future of News‘ note that similar research to their own is often reluctant to focus on, or mention by name, blockchain because of both its complexity which makes it seem inaccessible and its “bad image” from being linked to Bitcoin and cryptocurrencies. Despite the latter being arguably underserved, the paper reasons that “Bitcoin and some other cryptocurrencies are reminiscent of the Wild West, with overnight millionaires and burst bubbles galore”.

In the publishing industry which looks to preserve trust above all, it is perhaps understandable to want to avoid association with this unstable image. But blockchain has matured beyond this conception, as the report goes on to acknowledge.

Referencing Bitcoin’s poor market performance this year and analysts’ claims it will go on to lose further value, the report adds that “Blockchain’s usefulness for publishing will survive any such collapse”.

Mentioning blockchain’s compatibility with securing intellectual property, enforcing licensing rights, and collecting micropayments from content viewers through a tokenized ecosystem, WAN-IFRA shares a view that the publishing industry can have as much to gain as its consumers, who benefit from increased trust in content and reduced advertising. Once content is published on the blockchain it cannot be modified or removed, acting as a way to circumvent government or corporate censorship and interference.

Blockchain allows content providers to move away from the traditional advertising model through the token route of micropayments, increasing their trustworthiness by making them beholden to the average content consumer rather than advertisers. Readers or viewers also have the potential to earn credit by sharing constructive feedback, fact-checking, or viewing ad content.

Civil is one such news organization that operates based on these benefits of blockchain, “prioritizing ethical journalism” above all else using the technology to create an enhanced model of transparency.

WAN-IFRA offers a breakdown of the report on its website, while its members can access it in full for free and non-members are obliged to pay EUR 150.


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