Dr. Larry Sanger, one of the co-founders of the largest online encyclopedia, Wikipedia, has joined venture-backed startup Everipedia as the chief information officer.
Many people view this move by Dr. Larry as a true manifestation of his effort in disrupting the existence of Wikipedia. Furthermore, Sanger has been a long time open critic of what Wikipedia has become today. Apart from announcing Sanger as its new chief information officer, Everipedia has also initiated the movement of the entire process of approving articles, storing of information and making of edits to the EOS Blockchain.
The company is hoping to create a new platform for more accurate information through the offering of cryptocurrency tokens to information creators as incentives. The entire Everipedia development team also believes that the only way of creating a truly censorship-proof information database is through the use of smart contracts to store the articles and record editing workflow. Asked why he had decided to part ways with Wikipedia, Sanger said that his decision to join Everipedia was influenced by what he termed as the beginning of the next evolution of online encyclopedias. According to him, the modern online information is highly centralized and can only be controlled by a few players. He believes that this fact only creates hype-ridden information that isn’t truly beneficial to billions of users who access it.
A Move Away from Centralized Servers
According to an unpublished draft of the startup’s whitepaper that was sent to CoinDesk, Everipedia has outlined a detailed process of how the decision to move to Blockchain will help in creating an improved version of Wikipedia. The comprehensive plan indicates a move away from storing data on a centralized server. Instead, the information will be hosted on nodes that are spread in various locations. However, the primary
challenge presented by this design is how the numerous amount of data required to create an online encyclopedia will be stored in Blockchain. Everipedia acknowledges the challenges involved in hosting such numerous data on Blockchain, but it’s still adamant that it has already assessed many platforms that will host the smart contracts which will handle the logic around contributing and editing articles. Some of the platforms that have been explored include the Plasma Framework which was used to design Ethereum.
A Combination of Two Blockchains
CoinDesk reports that the startup has already settled on a combination of Interplanetary File System (IPFS) which is a decentralized server whose primary purpose will be to store data-heavy files such as images and videos and EOS Blockchain that will handle light-data files.
The company is also planning to develop a complementary cryptocurrency token that will be referred to as IQ to incentivize content creation. Editors and content creators will be allowed to mine IQ every time they make accurate and valuable contributions to Everipedia encyclopedia. Everipedia’s co-founder and the co-author of the white paper, Sam Kazeiman suggests that their cryptocurrency will operate just like the others whereby editors who are voted to have an excellent state-change proposal will be awarded newly minted tokens.
The white paper further suggests that at least 50 percent of the total 100 million IQ tokens will be supplied in an ICO while 30 percent will be minted over the next one hundred years to pay editors, content creators, and validators for their work. The remaining 20 percent of the tokens will be set aside to cater for development costs.
The founders of Everipedia have set out clear policies seeking to eliminate the bureaucracy that they though allowed few people to be the main gatekeepers on Wikipedia. Mr. Theodor Forselius who is the founder and CEO of Everipedia argues that the editorial hierarchy at Wikipedia has deviated from the platform’s initial mission which was to tap the wisdom of the crowd. The result of this deviation has been a slanted view of the past and a decreased number of editors. However, Wikipedia seems to be doing better than Everipedia. For instance, whereas Wikipedia has over 40 million pages and approximately 135 million active users, Everipedia has only six million pages and slightly over 2.3 million active users.
Although the future isn’t clear, Sanger and his new team at Everipedia still believe that the startup can successfully implement the Blockchain solution and overtake Wikipedia in as little as nine months. He believes that the vision he has for the next stage of evolution of online encyclopedias will be implemented by the team at Everipedia.