DIRT, a new protocol for decentralized information curation, has raised US$3 million in a seed funding round from General Catalyst, Greylock, Lightspeed, Pantera Capital, and Digital Currency Group, among other investors.
Founded earlier this year by a team of tech entrepreneurs and Y Combinator alumni, DIRT is looking to introduce a new way to gather and access accurate information.
Similar to Wikipedia, DIRT is crowd moderated and anyone is able to contribute information. Every contributor stakes tokens with their data, and if the data is correct, it is shared freely. If the data is false, a moderator in the DIRT network can challenge the entry and earn tokens if they are successful.
DIRT can be used to crowdsource any type of information, but the startup said it will first focus on the cryptocurrency market by curating trusted data for projects and in particular initial coin offerings (ICOs) which have been plagued by whitepaper plagiarism and fraud. DIRT will allow anyone to submit information about a token project, and moderators in the DIRT network will be incentivized to continuously review the information and earn tokens when they find inaccurate data.
DIRT’s founder and CEO Yin Wu sold her previous startup Double Labs to Microsoft in 2015 and was one of the youngest principal engineers at the firm to work on AI and mobile products. A Y Combinator alumnus who studied Computer Science at Stanford, she explained her motivation behind her latest venture:
“I have been involved with blockchain projects since 2013. Five years ago, there was just Bitcoin. Now there is an entire ecosystem with alternative currencies and decentralized applications. But in this new decentralized world we still rely on centralized sources of truth — Twitter determines who is real and CoinMarketCap determines the price of a cryptocurrency. There needs to be a way to determine what is true and build trust without a centralized arbiter.
“We are building DIRT to solve this problem. DIRT is a protocol that crowdsources trusted information which rewards honesty and penalizes lying. Without relying on any single curator, DIRT is doing to data what Wikipedia did to the encyclopedia.”
For the next months, DIRT will be focusing on launching its main net and garnering developer adoption, the team said.
DIRT joins the growing list of blockchain startups and projects that are using the technology to insure the veracity of information.
Dataeum is another startup that uses blockchain to produce accurate data through crowdsourcing. In April 2018, it launched a collaborative solution for the collection of “physical data” such as stores, road signs, gas stations, ATMs, and traffic signs.
Meanwhile, Everipedia is building a decentralized Wikipedia on the blockchain. The open source and peer-to-peer wiki network features an incentive mechanism that rewards contributors with cryptocurrencies for curating articles.