Yesterday, on October 15, Civil's token sale came to an end without reaching its soft cap of $8 million. By the end of the sale, Civil had raised less than $1.5 million. Today, the company's CEO and founder, Matthew Iles, published a statement on Medium: "We're disappointed," he wrote, "but we're as committed as ever to seeing Civil out in the world."
But why did the token sale fail?
Civil has had no shortage of publicity. The blockchain media company made The New York Times, The Washington Post, The Wall Street Journal, and countless other big-name publications – and mostly in a positive light. The company also made news with its collaborations with AP and Forbes for rights management.
Civil's two governing bodies – the Civil Foundation and the Civil Council – include a wide range of talent: international journalists, editors, as well as CEOs and execs for big-name outlets like BBC, NPR, The Guardian, CNN, The Washington Post, Gizmodo, the Leading European Newspaper Alliance, The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, News Corp, and the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation. There are also representatives from Columbia's schools of journalism and business and Rutgers' Law School. Moreover, Civil is grant-funded and supported by ConsenSys.
One of the key points of skepticism around the project, though, was that the token sale was laughably difficult to participate in, requiring buyers to pass a test or two; create a Token Foundry account, a Coinbase account, and a MetaMask account; download a MetaMask browser extension; have a passport and a driver's license; and also buy Ether to trade for CVL (though this last step was eliminated partway through the token sale).
Civil seems to think, or at least hope, that the hurdles to participating in the token sale are what stood in the way of its success. In Iles' statement, he noted that "a new, much simpler token sale is in the works. We'll be sharing details on that soon." He clarifies that this will happen "in weeks, not months." Following the coming sale, the platform should launch.
Iles also stated that anyone who bought CVL tokens in the sale would be refunded. In the meantime, Civil will continue to operate through $3.5 million in grant funding provided by ConsenSys.
At launch, Iles said Civil's platform would include:
"A blockchain-publishing plugin for Wordpress (aka, how to launch a newsroom on Civil).
A community governance application (aka, The Civil Registry).
A developer tool for building with Civil data without blockchain expertise (aka, how non-blockchain developers can build apps on Civil)."