Category Archives: #MeToo

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Crypto Stands up for #MeToo With Anonymous Crowdfunding

A cryptocurrency platform is enabling survivors of sexual assault with a means to crowdfund whilst retaining anonymity.

Rachel Cook, CEO of crypto-powered payment processor Seeds is hoping to be able to offer assistance to people who have been subjected to sexual assault. Such assistance will now be available as a result of Cook’s contact with a recent user of the site who used Seeds to crowdfund after a personal trauma.

The user in question had been unable to work for several months after being the victim of a sexual assault and approached Seeds in order to retain her anonymity, rather than use other crowdfunding sites which would have required ID possibly connecting her with the incident.

She used a Seeds Ethereum-based token to post a request for help through a range of apps using Seeds tools, then received donations via donor’s credit cards. Cook kindly waived the 10% fee for the transaction and the user received the requested funds in three weeks- reputedly the fastest crowdfunding via the site since its launch 12 months ago.

This sparked Cook, a survivor of sexual assault herself, to think about ways in which she could tap into the #MeToo movement and facilitate a more user-friendly way of allowing users in similar situations to profit from using the site. She commented that she wanted users to feel comfortable using the site,  feeling that they could come forward with such issues:

“I met this woman in person, by coincidence, and we started talking about the #MeToo movement…Survivors have trouble giving themselves permission to ask for money… The next logical extension I saw in that [#metoo] was we need to talk about how this economic [crypto] system can meet this need.”

Bitcoin is being used to ease a path through other difficult situations where personal trauma is in danger of affecting lives. Cook sees Seeds becoming such a tool. With a simple change to the way the platform operates, Cook has now made it possible for users in such situations to simply request alternatives which she will help them with in order to retain their anonymity. Seeds tokens can be obtained without ID verification, using decentralized platforms such as AirSwap or OX. According to Cook, Seeds anonymous crowdfunding shouldn’t deter those with no cryptocurrency knowledge either.

“We’re reaching a lot of people that don’t think of themselves as crypto-savvy.”

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Tech Journalists Leave New York Radio for Blockchain Podcast

Two broadcasters in New York have parted company with public radio to create their own podcast promoting blockchain.

“Zig Zag” is now the main focus of WNYC broadcasters Manoush Zomorodi and Jen Poyant; a podcast now entering its second season which focuses on blockchain and what it can do for journalism.

WNYC is the trademark, and a set of call letters shared by a pair of non-profit, non-commercial, public radio stations located in New York City and owned by New York Public Radio, a non-profit organization that did business as WNYC RADIO until March 2013

At WNYC, Zomorodi hosted and Poyant produced a tech podcast called “Note to Self” but now they’ve moved on to form a partnership with Civil Media, a new company built on blockchain technology.

Civil has been gaining a name for itself in the world of journalism over the past year. The concept is a unique development in media, utilizing blockchain to allow both readers and journalists to combine to fund topics of interest to them or the public. Supported by CVL tokens, yet to be released, all participants will gain a speculative stake which increases in value as the company expands.

ZigZag is an original concept in the sense the podcast will follow the participants lives as they attempt to build their new careers promoting the blockchain space. This includes reporting on the challenges they encounter as they attempt to manage the project in tandem with their busy lives as working mothers.

The first season of 12 episodes was designed as an introduction to the non-initiated, requiring Zomoridi to explain to listeners about the concept of DLT and how it functions. She explained:

“If I, as a tech journalist, roll my eyes when I hear about blockchain, somebody is not doing a good job explaining this stuff… That’s where the opportunity is — for two women, two moms, who are going out on their own, who have to understand blockchain. There’s your entryway to a podcast.”

The two journalists left WNYC earlier this year after the station had cut ties with the male hosts who had departed after accusations of harassment by station employees. Apart from wanting to work on their own, they said that they had been further motivated by the #MeToo campaign against sexual harassment.

Zomorodi says she often records on the fly and has a refreshing approach despite often feeling her new life is a challenge. She says, “It’s a juggle, and it’s exhausting.” In the second episode of the show, she explained DLT using a “Schoolhouse Rock”-style jingle sung by the musician and podcaster Martin Zaltz Austwick.


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