forbes-logo-technovation-column-peter-high

Theodor Forselius and Larry Sanger, Chief Executive Officer and Chief Information Officer of Everipedia

2/19/18

By Peter High, published on Forbes

Larry Sanger founded Wikipedia with Jimmy Wales in January 2001. He set many of the early policies of Wikipedia. He ended up leaving the organization the following year, and has been a critic of it for, among other reasons, its narrow definitions of credible sources, and the fact that so few people ultimately are responsible for the creation and editing of content on Wikipedia.

In the years since, Sanger has been involved in a number of encyclopedia projects, including Citizendium, which he founded in 2006.

Roughly two years ago, Sanger began to informally advise a new startup called Everipedia, a for-profit wiki-based encyclopedia. Theodor Forselius is a co-founder of the company and its chief executive officer. The core of its content is that of Wikipedia, but it has built more content on top of that base, making it the largest English language encyclopedia. Sanger officially joined the company as chief information officer in December of 2017, lured in part due to the company’s commitment to blockchain technology, which was announced on December 6. They indicated it would convert to using blockchain and a cryptocurrency token called IQ to encourage content creation. The IQ tokens are intended to be exchangeable for Bitcoin. Forselius believes this model will create incentives for broader content creation while also fostering access in countries that currently block Wikipedia such as Iran and Turkey.

I recently spoke with Forselius and Sanger about all of the above and more.

Peter High: Theodor, could you talk about the genesis of Everipedia as well as an overview of the business model and the company’s mission?

Theodor Forselius: Everipedia started a little over two years ago as a project between my co-founder Sam Kazemian and myself while he was still studying at UCLA. Originally, we wanted to build a more modern and inclusive version of Wikipedia because we were both editors and huge fans of Wikipedia. However, we felt like there was a lot that was outdated and that we could do better.

For example, their editing interface, talk pages for discussions, citations, their community guidelines and policies were all things that we liked but that we wanted to improve. That is why we started Everipedia.

Since then, we have grown to a little over three million unique monthly users and about six million encyclopedia articles, which is one million more than English Wikipedia.

We decided to implement blockchain technology because we are a for-profit startup, not a non-profit like Wikipedia, so we had to find ways to monetize. Originally, we partnered with companies and we started running adds on the site. However, it didn’t feel right saying that we were better than Wikipedia while we were running ads, so we started looking at other monetization models. Wikipedia’s model of running massive donation banners did not feel like an innovative solution either. We started looking at other venues of monetization and my co-founder Sam came up with the idea of tokenizing the entire knowledge base and decentralizing it. That way, there is no central entity that needs to run ads to be able to monetize because the whole system will be completely peer-to-peer.

High: Larry, in 2001 you co-founded Wikipedia. As of a few months ago, you joined Everipedia as the Chief Information Officer. Could you share your thoughts about the differences between the two businesses?

Larry Sanger: The co-founders of the company contacted me and told me that Everipedia was moving to blockchain, which is a major difference in its own right. This shift to the blockchain got me interested because the blockchain enables something that I have been wanting to do for a long time.

To read the full article, please visit Forbes

This entry was posted in All Column Pieces, Education, Forbes Technovation Column and tagged , , . Bookmark the permalink.