Dr. Larry Sanger, Co-founder of Wikipedia, has joined online encyclopedia Everipedia as their new Chief Information Officer. The move comes with the intention to place the entirety of their online knowledge base on the EOS blockchain (an Ethereum-based blockchain with a focus on making decentralized applications easy to implement and scale). Originally started as an alternative to Wikipedia, Everipedia is now looking to improve on the “wiki” model of a truly free, open and peer-driven online encyclopedia.
The move to blockchain will potentially bring both better incentives for contributors as well as better access to readers. The current site now stores its expansive digital encyclopedia at a centralized server where all internet traffic must go in order to access the information. A decentralized model means the database is shared peer-to-peer via a large network of users instead of centrally at one server. This means that with blockchain technology, there is no need for a central server. Everyone participating in the network has the potential to have part or all the database which makes censorship almost impossible. This will give full access to content in countries where websites like Everipedia and Wikipedia are censored or even completely banned.
Currently, Everipedia gives “IQ points” for editing and writing articles in order to rank contributors. These points currently have no purchasing value. Coming this January, these points will be converted to an actual blockchain-backed asset with a real-world value. It will serve as an incentive for contributors as well as protection from malicious editors. In order to edit an article, one would first have to pay with some “IQ”. If the article/edit is accepted by the community, the “IQ” paid to make the edit is returned along with some extra as a reward for the meaningful contribution. This would, in theory, cut costs (no more paying to maintain a central server) as well as bring valuable compensation to contributors. Wikipedia’s current model, on the other hand, relies on donations to maintain servers as well as contributors donating time without compensation. Especially given the current changes in Net Neutrality, using the blockchain as a tool to help bring value, accountability, and openness to providers of web content is definingly an intriguing idea.