Insights & Analyses

Wikipedia cofounder will help build new encyclopedia on the blockchain

Larry Sanger, the cofounder of internet community knowledge base Wikipedia, is now backing a competitor to his original creation — one that will see its data stored and verified on the same blockchain technology that drives bitcoin.

Everipedia announced on Tuesday that Sanger has joined its executive team as chief information officer. In the role, he will help build the new open source wiki network, which seeks to decentralize information by allowing every editor to become a stakeholder.

Sanger said that he hopes Everipedia will be able to improve on the Wikipedia concept in the same way that his previous site revolutionized encyclopedias.

“In an era of misinformation, the world stands to benefit enormously from a transparent, immutable and decentralized protocol for accessing and sharing knowledge,” he said.

In addition, Sanger’s role will see him help create a neural framework for Everipedia, aiming to provide users with the best encyclopedia articles on every topic.

Everipedia will offer a peer-to-peer wiki network with an incentive structure and distributed backend hosted by blockchain. Contributors will be rewarded with tokens for curating articles, allowing everyone to become a stakeholder.

The value of tokens from Everipedia will be tied to the value of its network, in theory allowing creators and curators to profit as the site grows. By incentivizing their work, the service hopes it will be able to provide more accurate and reliable information than a traditional wiki, which offers no such financial compensation to contributors.

The system could also allow Everipedia’s business and operations to be self sustainable, without the need for advertisements or donation. Wikipedia, in contrast, solicits donations from visitors to stay operational.

Blockchain is a distributed ledger that started as a decentralized, secure way of authorizing transactions online with bitcoin. But the underlying technology has been adapted to become more specialized, advanced, and tailored to individual needs.

The Everipedia concept merges the informational intent of an online encyclopedia with the potential for profitability of an initial coin offering. ICOs rely on crowdfunding via cryptocurrency, or decentralized digital assets, allowing investors to buy coins in the company in hopes that they will appreciate in value when the business finds success.

Blockchain’s potential uses in the identity space have generated a great deal of hype. OWI Labs details blockchain’s potential in a more realistic view in the report Don’t Believe the (Blockchain) Hype, which is now available.