The Big Interview

Wikipedia co-founder on the world’s first blockchain encyclopedia

Coin Rivet recently interviewed Wikipedia co-founder Larry Sanger and CEO of Everipedia Theodor Forselius to learn more about the world's most universal knowledge base

During the Malta AI and Blockchain Summit last month, Coin Rivet had the pleasure of interviewing Everipedia CEO Theodor Forselius and Wikipedia co-founder Larry Sanger, who now serves as the chief information officer for Everipedia alongside Theodor.

Both were great characters full of insight and passion for the Everipedia project, which has been built with the goal of becoming “the world’s most universal knowledge base”.

As you would expect from such an ambitious project, both Larry and Theodor had bundles to say.

Why is Everipedia important?

Everipedia was originally founded back in 2014 as a centralised competitor to Wikipedia – or a “modern version of Wikipedia”, as Theodor notes.

When the team decided to move Everipedia across to the blockchain, it had already garnered “millions of monthly users”, leading to the inevitable issue of scalability.

“When we wanted to move our content to the blockchain, there wasn’t a lot of blockchains available that offered scalability and the transaction speeds that we needed,” reveals Theodor.

“But we actually decided to build it on EOS, and that turned out to be a good decision because when EOS actually launched and we launched on the EOS mainnet, it actually worked.”

For Larry, Everipedia is an important project because it incentivises “socially-positive labour” – something that Wikipedia does not.

“It also creates basically the encyclopedia layer of the internet – its a code network of encyclopedias rather than centralising all the labour on free encyclopedias in one Wikipedia. We need to spread it out,” adds Larry.

This sentiment is one Theodor also shares. He sees value in creating “the world’s first peer-to-peer encyclopedia” and is excited because “we’re the first ones in the world to do it”.

“The cool thing is that, you know, it ensures that the content you create actually stays up forever and its always stored forever – so even if Everipedia as a company were to disappear in the future, your work will still be on the internet. I think it’s pretty cool.”

‘It will arguably be the most user-friendly dApp’ 

Larry revealed that within the next couple of months, Everipedia will be releasing a “complete re-working of the site from the ground up”.

“It was already relatively easy to use,” Larry surmises. “But it’s going to be even easier. It will be arguably the most user-friendly decentralised application (dApp) in existence.”

“The only thing that could come close is like the Brave browser – which, well, everybody knows how to use a browser. This is going to be as easy to contribute to as Medium, and it’s going to be as nice to look at as the latest blogs, maybe better.”

Everipedia is a decentralised platform, but it isn’t only aiming to become the best decentralised platform – it wants to be the best platform period.

“We’re not trying to be better than other blockchain projects,” states Theodor.

“We’re trying to objectively be better than any other like-sites regardless of whether their centralised or decentralised – we want to be the best alternative to online encyclopedias on the internet. We really believe the new platform is going to achieve that.”

To access the platform, all users must do is visit Everipedia.org – which is the main block explorer for the project – and from there millions of articles about “basically anything” can be found.

People can sign up to become an editor, and once the new platform has launched, people can begin creating articles to add to the platform.

“It’s all public, it’s all open content,” reveals Larry.

“And of course the backend code that runs the blockchain is all open source. The frontend is going to be open source as soon as we’re done with it.”

Bitcoin mining with cheap electricity 

When asked about how they both found out about the cryptocurrency and blockchain space, Larry revealed:

“I personally didn’t really get into it seriously until the guys told me in September 2017 that they were moving to the blockchain, because that would allow me – if I got involved – to pursue this project that I really wanted to get into.

“So, it’s not about investment and making a lot of money – it’s the technology for me.”

Theodor first became exposed to Bitcoin back in 2013/14 when he found out one of his co-founders at Everipedia had been mining Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies at university.

“He used to mine Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies in college, so when we met he was still in college and he was actually mining crypto in his dorm room because he had flat-rate electricity. So, he was just making a bunch of money through mining and using it to pay his tuition and pay for food and rent and stuff like that, which was pretty funny.

“It was just a cool side project on the side of building Everipedia, but then in 2017 when Ethereum became big, we kind of realised that there was an application for using blockchain and Everipedia – and his greatest hobby, which was crypto and blockchain, kind of converged with what we were already building.”

‘The goal is to literally build the world’s most universal knowledge base’

As the interview came to a close, Larry told Coin Rivet: “I’m looking forward to phase two of our project, so that within the next 12 months we will start incorporating articles from other encyclopedias into the network.

“It’s going to be hard, but it’s very important because we’re very committed to the whole idea of decentralisation in a very robust sense – we don’t just want the backend for Everipedia.org, we also want other apps to build on our basis and create a whole decentralised ecosystem.”

Theodor echoed this sentiment, stating: “The goal is to literally build the world’s most universal knowledge base.”

One aspect Everipedia will be focusing on in the near future is expanding the number of languages in the network, since right now the majority of the content is in English.

“We’re going to be focusing on expanding a lot in Korea and China, and a lot of other European countries and Africa – so I think that’s going to be a really interesting thing. We’ll start doing that in Q3/Q4,” adds Theodor.

“In 2019, Everipedia is going to become much more global than it has been, so that’s something we’re really excited about.”

 

Related Articles