What Is Bitpress? The Fact-Checking Blockchain Protocol for Digital Publishing

Bitpress is a blockchain­based ledger of trust that leverages a decentralized network of journalists to determine the credibility of news. Bitpress enables journalists and news organizations to publish bulletins in the form of original reporting, or as a response to anything on the internet, indicating a vote of credibility. The resulting network of verifications determines not only if a source is credible, but also identifies consensus and bias within the network itself

In this article, we’re diving a bit on the White Paper of Bitpress to see why this might be a good solution for the media industry

Use cases

The Bitpress network is comprised of a few simple components that enable several complex use cases:

  • Authors write Bulletins
  • Bulletins can reference other Bulletins or external content through Citations
  • Publishers broadcast Bulletins to the network
  • Publisher Nodes write Bulletins into the blockchain
  • Bitpress Rank (BPR) is passed between Publishers via positive and negative Citations
  • Users, Authors, and Publishers send and receive XBP to incentivize good journalism

What token will Bitpress use?

Native Bitpress tokens, called XBP, are used throughout the network to pay transaction fees for publishing Articles and offering Bounties to perform work, among other things. Technical details are discussed in Token Economics, Section 5, later in this paper.

What is a Bulletin?

Technical aspects of a Bulletin are:

  • They can contain content similar to news articles, text, formatting and other metadata
  • They can have more than one Author and usually have a Publisher, requiring the public keys of each signed to the Article
  • The unique ID of a Bulletin also serves as a two­way wallet that both accepts and disperses XBP–this may be governed by a smart contract

How do bounties work?

Bounties contain smart contract that hold onto funds like escrow accounts. The sender pre­funds with XBP, but additional XBP can be contributed by other users using a Tip to increase the total Bounty paid when fulfilled.



How does the Bitpress protocol work? The proof of trust protocol

Bitpress uses Proof of Trust as its consensus protocol. Nodes are selected pseudorandomly to generate block, with more trusted nodes having a greater chance of being selected.

Bitpress leverages the security of Proof of Work with the utility and governance of Proof of Stake.

Blockchains are natively transparent and decentralized, both key components for any successful trust protocol.

How does that Bitpress Rank system work?

Bitpress Rank (BPR), an algorithm for measuring the credibility of news. Broadly speaking, the theory behind the process is:

  • It should be self­policing.
  • Reputation should only be obtained by consistent good behavior.
  • The system needs to be robust in the face of potential attacks from malicious users.
  • The process should be open source and available to inspect, clone, and modify.

What factors are taken into account in the Bitpress Ranking system?

Citations from Publishers who are very trustworthy carry much more weight than those from new or poorly rated Publishers. Publishers become trustworthy by actively participating in the system. A scaling factor is used to ensure each Publisher has a minimum amount of inbound trust before they are considered credible, and a decay factor is used to ensure continued participation.

  • Publisher trust: Publisher trust is calculated using a slightly modified version of the PowerTrust algorithm
  • Importance of power nodes: One of the advantages of using PowerTrust is that it dynamically calculates a set of m power nodes that represent the most trusted Publishers in the system
  • Bulletin trust: Once the global trust values have been computed for each Publisher, we perform a modified version of PageRank that accounts for negative links and weights Citations by the amount of global trust of their Publisher
  • Bulletin consensus: Bulletin consensus provides an additional perspective using the number of positive and negative designations across the blockchain combined with the trust score to produce a weighted score of the consensus of a Bulletin across the blockchain

How does the Bitpress PageRank algorithm work?

  1. Any algorithm that ranks the trustworthiness of a publisher or authenticates a source needs to be clearly understood
  2. Any successful solution also has to be immune to manipulation and censorship — requiring it to be independent of any government or commercial entity

In the same way that Bitcoin uses this blockchain technology as a way to exchange money, Bitpress uses this technology as a way to exchange trust.

Bitpress uses these links to construct a network of cross-validations between all media organizations. 

Isn’t this what Google’s PageRank does?

PageRank assumes that all links between articles are an endorsement, but in the real world links between articles can mean many different things such as disagreement, newsworthiness, and novelty.

How does BitPress’ PageRank algorithm differ from Google’s PageRank?

 In order to account for links that do not signify endorsement, Bitpress allows journalists to indicate the context of their links.



Another way that Bitpress differs from Google’s algorithm is that PageRank treats all links equally, even those from potentially untrustworthy domains.

In contrast, Bitpress weighs the impact of each link according to the overall trust of the publisher.

Bitpress business model explained

Publishers must pay a market rate in XBP based on transaction size and network congestion. These fees act to disincentivize spam and other unwanted contentPublishers have the option of hosting and running full nodes, or Power Nodes, that act similarly to Bitcoin miners, collecting and splitting the total XBP tokens of all Bulletin fees contained in a block in exchange for powering the network.

  • Micropayments,
  • paywalls
  • subscriptions

As expressed in the white paper:

Experts believe that users will never pay for news, but we believe that paying for news simply needs to be easier

  • Tips: those are transactions of XBP sent by users to Bulletins, Publishers or Authors. Tips are differentiated from micropayments in that they are initiated freely from users
  • Pledges: Every successfully sustainable model for journalism includes a combination of donations, public funds, private grants, and memberships
  • Bounty economics: A Bounty allows any user to indicate interest in a particular Bulletin they would like to see produced. The user incentivizes the production of this Bulletin by sending XBP to the Bounty smart contract, which is dispersed upon fulfillment
  • Pay for news creation: users will pay journalists to commission specific content pieces
  • Fact­checking as a service: small publishers and independent journalists cannot always afford the intensive and expensive fact-checking process, and even when they can, the public may want to verify this. A fact­check for a specific Article or specific content in an Article
  • Smart contracts: smart contracts are a set of rules that govern a transaction. Authors, and Publishers to send and receive XBP in virtually unlimited ways
  • XBP cryptoconomy and Bitpress ICO: those will be respectively the currency and the initial coin offering that will allow the platform to function in the short and long run

To read more you can download the Bitpress White Paper.


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