Civil, the New York-based startup aiming to put journalism on a blockchain, is to refund users who participated in its token sale, after failing to meet its pre-set minimum target.
Matthew Iles, Civil’s CEO, wrote in a blog post on Tuesday that the startup closed sales of its proprietary CVL token on Oct. 15, falling short of the goal to achieve funding of at least $8 million.
Having received a $5 million investment from ethereum startup Consensys last year, Civil started the initial coin offering on Sept. 18 to raise somewhere between $8 million to $24 million for its bid to launch a blockchain journalism platform.
Now that it’s failed to cross that threshold, Civil said participants will be able to request an immediate refund, or “they will be automatically refunded by Oct. 29.”
Early this month, there had been warning signs. By Oct. 10, Civil hadn’t managed to bring in even $1.34 million toward the $8 million threshold, just five days prior to the deadline.
As a result, the Wednesday announcement that the firm will issue refunds is not entirely surprising. As Iles said in a blog post on Oct. 10, “the numbers will show clearly enough that we are not where we wanted to be at this point in the sale when we started out.”
Recently, a Wall Street Journal article said Civil had been pitching its blockchain-powered platform to several major media outlets including the New York Times, The Washington Post and Dow Jones, without success. Forbes, however, did recently announced a partnership with Civil to publish its content on a blockchain.
Despite the setback, Civil plans to keep on with the token-based fundraising method so it can officially launch the platform, and is looking to start another sale “in weeks, not months,” according to Iles.
“We’re also working on a new token sale process, very different from the last one and, we hope, much easier,” he wrote.