After nearly two years of behind-the-scenes work by our product team, the Decrypt Token is live today for all readers in our mobile app.
This isn't an ICO or a fundraise. The Decrypt Token (DCPT) isn't exchangeable for money or for other cryptocurrencies. The token is our way of participating in the decentralized industry we cover, and experimenting with how cryptocurrency can spur reader engagement.
We see it as a very exciting step for digital journalism.
It's very simple: You earn DCPT for reading Decrypt articles, sharing them with a friend, and reacting to them, all inside our mobile app. Soon, readers who've amassed enough tokens can redeem them for digital rewards.
And it's very cool: You'll quickly discover the tactile fun of watching a coin fly into your wallet every time you earn one.
You still might ask: Why do a token?
A token provides Decrypt readers with irrevocable ownership, it adds to our existing reader community, and it will serve as a foothold for us to push further into the decentralized web.
Think of Decrypt Tokens as frequent reader miles—without relying on trusting third parties.
That last bit is key. For a standard rewards program, such as airline miles or credit card points, you don’t need a token. Chase Sapphire doesn’t use a token. Neither does American Airlines.
But they expire your points. Or in some cases, they flat-out void them. You don’t have control over your points—they do. And you’re trusting them to make your points available when you want to use them.
With a self-custody token, you own it. No one can take it away from you.
Reclaiming power in digital media
You hear it so often: “Media is dying.”
It’s always been dying, and it's always being reinvented. Journalists and news readers have watched a perpetual cycle of centralization by industry monopolies, and then decentralization at the hands of innovators. Facebook and Google centralized the internet, and in the process destroyed traditional media business models.
Now comes the fun part: taking some power back.
The internet is broken in its current state of walled gardens, surveillance capitalism, and personal information harvesting. Crypto doesn’t fix this completely, but it gives us a new set of tools to play with and with which to build solutions.
We see our experimentation with a reader token as akin to building your app in the cloud circa 2010 instead of a self-managed data center. It’s an entirely new paradigm, and we don’t know the full implications just yet.
The Decrypt Token in its current form is an experiment in a bleeding-edge tech project that puts our readers first. Things get interesting when you consider what’s possible on top of that: user-driven prediction markets for news events; reader collectives that invest in innovative art and media projects; “proof of reputation” and group fact-checking; micropayments for exclusive or investigative content.
You can’t do any of that with your credit card points or airline miles, or with any centralized database, for that matter. But that's what tokens were made for.
Take a look at what’s going on in DeFi to see a glimpse of the future: decentralized autonomous organizations guiding nine-figure investments; protocol designers drafting, debating, and voting on governance proposals, all on-chain; trustless peer-to-peer markets for new digital assets, with automatic royalty collection and payouts to creators.
These developments flow from the community of users behind the technology, and the community uses tokens to prove and capture the value they create.
Further your crypto education
There’s a third reason we're excited about the token: the best way to learn about crypto is to get your hands on some and start experimenting.
With the experience we’ve created, anyone can easily set up a wallet and start earning tokens in a fun, easy, intuitive way. We think that's a pretty big deal in crypto, which thus far has gotten low marks for usability.
You download the Decrypt app, set up a free wallet, and earn tokens as you engage with our content. That's it. There’s no 24-word seed phrase to memorize, four-hour transaction wait times, or overwhelming acronyms and jargon.
We think we’ve built one of the most seamless crypto experiences available—we hope you agree.
The token is a natural progression of our mission to demystify the decentralized web. Millions of readers come to our site every month—4.6 million in February. With our token, we're onboarding the next generation of crypto users to the ecosystem, and we can introduce those readers to the core concepts of this industry: wallets, balances, transactions. We’re showing, not just telling.
In our app, you'll find our daily news coverage, but also our excellent Learn section, full of handy explainers, written with a layperson in mind, on everything from Bitcoin to DeFi and yield farming. If you're a seasoned student of crypto, we're here to help you advance further in your expertise. If you're new to crypto, welcome — and here's your starting point.
The first "season" of our token is sponsored by Filecoin; future seasons may have different sponsors. You can read more about our Filecoin partnership here.
Happy reading, happy learning, and happy earning.
--Decrypt CEO Josh Quittner, Publisher Alanna Roazzi-Laforet, CTO Ryan Bubinski, and EIC Dan Roberts, on behalf of Decrypt's business, product, and editorial teams