Decentralized Journalism : A Conversation with Maria Bustillos

Paul and Rich sit down with Maria Bustillos to talk about Popula

Is the blockchain more than currency? Can news and publishing be taken out of the hands of banks and billionaires? Can local journalists band together to make change? This week, Paul and Rich sit down with Maria Bustillos to discuss the future of the news and her new blockchain-powered publication, Popula.

Blockchain Fever: This week Paul Ford and Rich Ziade sit down with Maria Bustillos to talk to about Popula— a blockchain based publication on news and culture. We chat about what it means to publish journalism on Civil: Self-Sustaining Journalism, honouring archives, the power behind direct and transparent news, and how Popula is working to address the problems that centralized banks have caused the world. Rich and Paul also try to write a song, titled Blockchain Fever!

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5:05 — Paul: “The internet exists because people took a piece of technology and an idea into their heart, and couldn’t leave it alone until it manifested…and I can see that happening with bitcoin.”

5:34 — Maria: “Blockchain technology isn’t the answer, but it’s the paper that you can write the answer on.”

7:55 — Maria: “Journalism has a lot of problems: in its funding model, in its deteriorating archives, in the vulnerability to billionaires who don’t like what we write. …And all these things can be addressed using blockchain technology.”

9:37 — Maria: “Whenever we publish anything on Popula, a text version of it will be published to the Ethereum blockchain, and it cannot be altered. Ever.”

12:00 — Maria: “It protects again Peter Thiel, it protects against linkrot, it protects against the degradation of search engines.”

16:00 — Paul: “So local journalists are banding together and they are going to publish using these blockchain technologies on Civil. So does this get rid of the quixotic billionaire who funds the news?”

24:54 — Maria: “We know it’s anti-bank, it’s anti-central bank, that it’s anti the dilution of currency. These are significant problems. They’re serious problems. There’s nothing bullshit about this. It’s not about instantaneous wealth, it’s not specifically anti-government either. It’s about addressing the problems that centralized banks have caused the world.”

25:28 — Rich: “So this is a statement. Can you build economies and startups on a statement?”

A full transcript of this episode is available.


Track Changes is the weekly technology and culture podcast from Postlight, hosted by Paul Ford and Rich Ziade. Production, show notes and transcripts by EDITAUDIO. Podcast logo and design by Will Denton of Postlight.