Crowdfunding has brought the world many amazing things. When Kickstarter and IndieGoGo burst onto the scene, it changed what was possible. Similar to the effect of Bitcoin, Crowdfunding took the keys of opportunities out of the hands of the powerful and put it into the hands of the many.
Now, PubPay, co-created by Amir Taaki of Open Bazaar and Darkwallet fame, is being developed to help bring that same Crowdfunding power to confidential leaks using the autonomy Taaki helped bring to Bitcoin.
Essentially, PubPay will be an anonymous crowdfunding platform focused on (but not limited to) the leaking of confidential information. Leakers can post a random section of their information along with price points that remove more. Users can submit bitcoins that are given to the leaker once he or she reveals the information promised.
It is up to the leaker to release the information in a way that doesn't reveal their identity and it's up to the funders to make sure they donate in a way that protects their anonymity, presumably with programs like CoinJar or Taaki's own Dark Wallet.
“I’ve wanted for a while to make a marketplace where people can leak information and others can pay for those leaks[.]Leakers are taking a risk, and they should be rewarded.”
Both Taaki and his co-creater Peter Todd say they were inspired by the work of Edward Snowden/Glenn Greenwald and Wikileaks.
But their project also brings up some questions. Generally whistle blowers are supposed to be afforded protection from the government and/or their employers, that isn't always the case, one only needs to look at what happened to Chelsea Manning and Edward Snowden, but it is still significant that the protections are supposedly there.
Those protections generally go away once money is involved. Money, in the minds of the public if not the law, is what differentiates between a whistle blower and a spy. If an employee leaks a corporation's malfeasance to the public, that is considered whistle blowing. If the same employee leaks that same information to a competitor for monetary gain, that is considered corporate espionage.
Where it becomes murky in regards to PubPay is when the information is in the public interest and the public paid for it. Is the leaker still a whistle blower in that case? Some might argue he or she still is, but governments might have a different idea.
But PubPay, along with all of Taaki's projects, isn't designed to help governments, it is designed to help the public. And that is what it does. It helps facilitate the flow of information and rewards those that provide it. There are sure to be some bumps along the way, but with governments, particularly the United States Government, putting more information behind “classified” walls and attacking those that expose it, PubPay could be a revolution in how information is distributed.
The Internet decentralized content, Bitcoin is decentralizing money, perhaps PubPay will one day decentralize the fourth estate.