ICO Analysis: CIVIL

“And there is very grave danger that an announced need for increased security will be seized upon by those anxious to expand its meaning to the very limits of official censorship and concealment. That I do not intend to permit to the extent that it is in my control. And no official of my Administration, whether his rank is high or low, civilian or military, should interpret my words here tonight as an excuse to censor the news, to stifle dissent, to cover up our mistakes or to withhold from the press and the public the facts they deserve to know.” (JFK, YouTube)

It has been over 50 years since President Kennedy spoke these words. Mainstream TV and internet media are now mostly controlled by government and corporate interests. And in the past year Twitter, Facebook, and YouTube have started blatantly censoring thoughts that don’t go with the mainstream narrative.

Civil is a decentralized marketplace for sustainable journalism. A protocol that will be overseen by a community of individuals and organizations from around the world who believe technology, economics and politics are endangering press freedom and accountability.

Here’s a quick summary of how Civic works.

If a new newsroom wants to start publishing with the Civil Protocol they must stake a certain amount of CVL tokens to the network. Once staked and registered, their newsroom will be added to the Token Registry which unlocks marketplace access on Civil. The new newsroom is now fully independent. They do have to follow the Civil Constitution. If they break the rules, the community can vote on whether or not the newsroom stays on the Token Registry. If they get voted out, they can appeal to the Civil Council, whose majority vote on the matter is final and closes off any further possibility of an appeal on the matter.

The Civil marketplace will be nurtured and scaled by the Civil Media Company, which is made up of around nine co-founders,13 developers and other team members. They will use the funds raised, as well as 33% of the token allocation, to grow Civil into a powerhouse of sustainable journalism.  For details on the Civil Media Company’s plans, check out this blog.


“CVL tokens are the software with which journalists will launch independently owned and operated Newsrooms; it unlocks two vital business features for the platform: self-governance and permanent archiving.”

Use cases for CVL token are outlined below:

  • Launch a Newsroom: To launch a Newsroom on Civil, individuals must deposit CVL tokens.
  • Challenge a Newsroom: If a Newsroom appears to violate any standard outlined in the Civil Constitution, it can be challenged and voted on by the community. If a newsroom is found guilty of violating the Civil Constitution, its contract will be voided and it will be removed from the Civil Registry.
  • Vote For/Against a Challenge. Voters who vote for the “winning” side of a challenge will be rewarded with CVL from the “losing” side’s deposit stake. The losing side will not lose CVL.
  • Appeal Challenges: Losing newsrooms can appeal the decision to the Civil Council (an independent group of veteran journalists, scholars and free speech attorneys.


  • 34% Crowd sale
  • 33% Strategic Partners (Journalism nonprofits, academic institutions/journalism schools, tech companies to build tools that improve Civil)
  • 33% Civil Media Company

The Team

This team is already massive. They are stacked with talent and experience. In addition to the following founders of Civil are four more co-founders, and 13 skilled engineers and other team members.

Matt Coolidge: Co-Founder, Communications. He spent three years as VP at Bateman Group, an award-winning integrated public relations and social media communications agency with around 300 employees.

Daniel Seiberg: Co-Founder, Business Dev. He spent six years at Google as a Senior Marketing Exec and Head of Training and Development. He wrote for all kinds of media giants, and wrote this popular book The Digital Diet.

Vivian Schiller: Civil Media Foundation CEO. She spent four years as Executive VP at CNN, four years senior VP at Discover Channel, two years Senior VP at The New York Times, two years CEO at NPR, two years Senior VP at NBC and one year Head of News at Twitter.

Christine Mohan:  Co-Founder Partnership/Community Lead. Twelve years at The New York Times and The Wall Street Journal in corporate communications, product marketing and web operations roles.

Matthew Iles: Co-Founder, CEO. He previously founded two other companies, Tykoon Analytics in 2012 (no info/website gone) and Nine Lines from 2010-2015 (also cant find info/website gone).  He and his wife teach marketing classes on this website.

Lillian Ruiz: Co-Founder, Operations Lead. She has two years as Marketing Manager Flavorpill media. She also spent three three years as a Strategist at Girls Scouts of America and two years Senior Director of Audience Growth at Inside Hook.


Civil allocated $1 million in grants for a “First Fleet” of newsrooms to ensure there were already a number of high-quality newsrooms available at launch. Popula and Global Ground are both International newsrooms.

Other newsrooms include CannabisWire, Hmm Daily, The Small Bow, Sludge, Documented, ZigZag,The Colorado Sun, Block Club Chicago, The River and FAQ NYC.

There is a lot to like about Civil. When we start to look at the token sale and economics, the outlook gets blurry. Does CVL token have enough use case to create demand and price growth, or will this ICO be more for newsrooms and journalists that wish to be a part of the community?


  •  34 million tokens out of 100 million total will be available for sale, and the hard cap is $32 million. -1
  • Ethereum faces tremendous challenges with scaling and high fees. -1
  • There will be lots of challenges. Co-Founder Matt Coolidge in telegram says: “We won’t pretend this is going to be a perfect system, especially on day one — it’s democratic, and thus inherently messy. But we do recognize the urgency to do something as the journalism industry at large continues to spiral the drain due to its current, warped incentive model”. -0.5
  • No clear plan to generate income. They want to nurture and grow the marketplace first and then build complementary products, apps and services on top of the CVL protocol which they will figure out how to monetize. -0.5
  • CVL is not the only currency accepted in the Civil marketplace. -1

Growth Potential

  • The team is strong. +2
  • They are backed by strong players including ConsenSys, Old Time Media (former Politico execs) and good lawyers. +2
  • The Civil Media Company has lots of funds they will use to grow the marketplace and build complementary products, apps and services on top of the CVL protocol. Check out the progress, GitHub page. +3
  • Unlike Patreon and other ‘funding platforms’, The Civil Media Company doesn’t take a ‘cut’ of citizen->journalist compensation. Apart from transaction fees, 100% of a citizen payment go directly to the newsrooms and newsmakers. +2
  • 100 million total supply is pretty small. If this protocol gets popular, the token price could take off. +1


Likeable project. Token use case and Ethereum scaling delays kept the score down. 6/10

Investment Details

To participate in this sale you must do it through Token Foundry

Featured image courtesy of Shutterstock.

Joshua Larson is also known as the "Bullshit Man" for his ability to spot it a mile away. Avid ICO researcher and contributor. Former professional poker player/backer. Spent 10 years analyzing hand history, stats, and player data. Discovered blockchain in late 2016, and never looked back. He now uses his analysis skills to investigate ICOs full time. What a perfect match, because in today's crazy world of ICOs, information, passion, and diligence = dollar bills!