Journalism standards organization Nieman Foundation took aim at blockchain startup Honeycomb recently, with the organization questioning if the startup could convince users to mine cryptocurrency with their mobiles devices and donate it to news organizations.
Mining Monero For Publishers
The Honeycomb software allows users to mine the altcoin Monero using their mobile devices, while the phones are dormant or charging. The user can then donate the mined crypto to news publishers.
The crypto approach also holds benefits for independent press and journalists. Taking the crypto route also has the potential to encourage news apps that do not need to run advertisements or collect user data to monetize their news feed. The software is considered a way of paying for the news, which means publishers could switch over to a “free” service with Honeycomb instead.
The platform is currently looking for publishers to begin testing its capabilities. Watson claims the firm has received interest from several publishers, nonprofit newsrooms, and international organizations.
Is This A Niche Product?
Only 9 percent of Americans surveyed by Digital News Report have ever received a news alert, let alone used a news application. Another hurdle is Apple’s ban on all crypto mining apps on for iPhones, and Google Play has also banned crypto mining apps from the Google Play Store.
Another problem is convincing users to donate the crypto to publishers rather than other causes, or, even keeping the crypto for themselves.
While Honeycomb is a credible way of providing support to the journalism field, the platform may be targeting a very small niche of people willing to do so.
Co-Founder Watson talked about his aspirations with Honeycomb:
“I would love to see us as a broader journalism community, people who care about sustainable and quality journalism, harness the power of new technologies rather than be the victims of it.”
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