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WSJ Finds Fraud, Plagiarism in Hundreds of Crypto White Papers

WSJ Finds Fraud, Plagiarism in Hundreds of Crypto Whitepapers

The Wall Street Journal (WSJ) published research findings on Thursday, 27 December, showing that hundreds of cryptocurrency white papers appear to contain fraud, plagiarism, or offer improbable returns.

Looking at the white papers for 3,291 cryptocurrency projects that announced initial coin offerings (ICOs), analysis from WSJ showed signs of “duplicate language” with almost 10,000 sentences appearing more than once in the papers. Journalists then checked the dates of first publishment on each of the reappearing sentences to determine the original author.

The identities of individuals allegedly involved in working on the cryptocurrency projects that had key personal information missing in the white papers had their identities checked through a reverse image search; 343 projects had individuals fall in this category. Team members without photos had their information verified via the 1 million plus people on the US Census Bureau.

Over 2,000 papers utilized terms such as “nothing to lose, guaranteed profit, return on investment, highest return, high return, funds profit, no risk, and little risk”, language that US state and Federal regulators have previously cracked down on by issuing cease and desist orders or filing charges in some cases.

Some 16%, or 513 of the white papers, were found to show evidence of either plagiarism, identify theft or promising implausible returns.


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Report Claims Blockchain in Publishing is Crypto Crash Proof

Report: Blockchain in Publishing Will Survive Any Crypto Market Crash

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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AP Collaborates with Blockchain Journalist Firm for Improved Ethics

The US-based not-for-profit news agency the Associated Press (AP) announced on Tuesday that it would join blockchain-based journalism startup Civil in a content licensing partnership.

The collaboration will allow Civil to access all of AP’s national and international content for use in Civil’s related newsrooms, receiving a direct license for use by AP. In exchange, AP will receive CVL tokens which will be reportedly be used to promote objectivity and accuracy in its work through supporting Civil’s internal economy.

Civil’s technology allows traditional journalism models to be improved by providing authorship and ownership rights, smart contract licensing terms and incentives for ethical behavior. The AP stated that it does not have any interest in changing the ethical standards promoted by Civil but rather, they plan to change how they are enforced by colleagues in journalism.

AP cites a particular interest in how blockchain can be used to improve journalism models as the primary reason for the partnership, alongside this improving ethics and transparency standards. The news organization will pursue additional blockchain uses in tracking content movement and mentions, consumption trends and securing intellectual property.

Jim Kennedy, AP’s senior vice president for Strategy and Enterprise Development, commended his publication’s commitment to effectively progressing journalism into the digital age. Kennedy wrote in the official announcement, ”We’re eager to help cultivate the space and demonstrate our value to a new set of digital publishers.”

According to AP, Civil is just the first significant media partnership to be announced in its pursuit of a ”new economy for journalism” where quality is the primary incentive, with organizations including the International Center for Journalists (ICFJ), the European Journalism Centre and the Reynolds Journalism Institute at the Missouri School of Journalism soon joining them.

Bitcoin News covered the establishment of Civil in June this year as the result of veteran journalists in Colorado turning to blockchain to move away from corporate pressure and reliance on advertising, creating a reader-supported journalism model.


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