Investor Albert Wenger to Fund ‘XPRIZE’ for Blockchain-Powered Blogs

Union Square Ventures partner Albert Wenger has revealed plans to fund a new prize aimed to incentivize the creation of a blockchain-powered blogging platform.

Modeled after the storied XPRIZE award, Wenger’s offer requires that the blog be built using emerging blockchain technologies in which Union Square Ventures is an investor, in particular, the Blockstack developer kit and decentralized storage system IPFS, built by Protocol Labs.

Wenger had previously written of his idea for a blog without a central authority on his Tumblr channel. In the post, he raised concerns over monetary strategies as the blogging space becomes increasingly centralized.

In particular, he expressed concern that since his portfolio company Tumblr had been acquired by Yahoo, which was in turn acquired by Verizon earlier this year, he might lose control over important features and be forced to accept ads he hadn’t agreed to.

This is the second time this week that a well-known investor has revealed his intentions to launch a blockchain prize for developers. On Wednesday, AngelList founder Naval Ravikant confirmed he would fund a competition to build a decentralized Twitter, also using the Blockstack developer kit.

And signs suggest this may be the start of a larger trend to boost development on the Blockstack platform, as sources have told CoinDesk that more prizes may be in the works.

Earlier this week, Blockstack revealed the formation of a $25 million fund backed by five venture capital firms. It will invest solely in startups using the platform, designed to power a new decentralized internet.

Still, comments by those close to the activities suggest plans may be in early stages.

Blockstack co-founder Muneeb Ali told CoinDesk:

“High-profile investors are willing to put up these prizes for specific apps. We’re pretty excited about that, but we’re ironing out the details.”

Disclosure: CoinDesk is a subsidiary of Digital Currency Group, which has ownership stakes in Blockstack and Protocol Labs.

Albert Wenger image via CoinDesk archives

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