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Pre-Proposal: Funding for El Nacional, Venezuela's last idependent newspaper.

Discussion in 'Pre + Budget Proposal Discussions' started by ScioMind, Jan 11, 2019.

  1. ScioMind

    ScioMind Member

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    I am proposing the allocation of $25,000 (approximately 347 DASH at the time of this writing) be allocated from the DASH Masternode Budget, to assist El Nactional, Venezuela's last nationally circulated idependent newspaper to resume printing. Below is the story of how I conceived of this proposal, and many more details. I am sorry it is so long, but I hope it is well worth the read.

    While driving home on the night of December 17th, 2018, I heard a story on NPR about the shutdown of El Nacional, which was Venezuela's last nationally circulated independent newspaper. According to Jorge Makriniotis, the General Manager of El Nacional, every other media outlet, including newspapers, has been bought out by the government. El Nacional resisted all such buyout attempts, and has remained an independent voice of opposition to the Venezuelan government. Unfortunately, the government controls the production of the rolls of paper which is required to print newspapers, and (for obvious reasons) would not sell these rolls to El Nacional. Thus, El Nacional was forced to buy such rolls elsewhere. Eventually, apparently due to the hyperinflation of the Venezuelan currency (the "bolívar soberano" or "sovereign bolivar") the cost to buy these rolls of paper became prohibitive, and El Nacional published its final print edition in mid-December. (I believe this last printing was Dec. 16th, the day before the airing of the NPR story.)

    As I listened to the story, I was thinking about all of the economic and other problems in Venezuela, and about how so many people there are turning to cryptocurrency, most notably DASH, to help combat the massive hyperinflation. It also seemed such a terrible shame that this long-standing beacon of freedom was being silenced, in a place which so desperately needs a free press. Before the story ended, the idea came to me that it might be possible to allocate funds from the DASH Masternode Budget to help El Nacional obtain the paper it would need to resume its mission of speaking truth to power. During the rest of my drive home that night I continued to think about this, and realized that this could be a very beneficial thing both for the people of Venezuela and also for the DASH community. Not only would El Nacional be able to resume its very worthwhile and valuable mission, but DASH would garner a huge amount of positive publicity for making this possible. It would also be reasonable that, in exchange for providing these funds, the DASH community would obtain advertising space within the paper, thus creating a direct way to communicate with the people of Venezuela about the benefits of using DASH, over the bolivar, or even over other, slower cryptocurrencies such as Bitcoin. I understand that the $25,000 which this proposal asks for is a lot for mere newspaper advertising, but I think we would also gain enormously in terms of good-will for helping to revive El Nacional, which would once again be the ONLY free-press newspaper available to the people of Venezuela seeking alternatives to government propaganda.

    I kept thinking about this through the holiday season, and kept loving the idea. On Jan. 1st, 2019, I contacted Jorge Makriniotis, the General Manager of El Nacional, about my idea. I explained that I was not officially connected to DASH, but was a long-standing member of the community, and that I would present the idea for a Masternode Proposal after I had enough information from him to make an informed proposal. He was very receptive to the idea, to say the least. He gave me the information to contact his paper supplier, Papeles Bio Bio from Chile. Between communicating with Mr. Makriniotis and Papeles Bio Bio, I gained an understanding of exactly what would be required to purchase and ship enough rolls for a one-month minimum printing of El National. Furthermore, regarding my idea to do this in exchange for advertising space in the newspaper, Mr. Makriniotis wrote, "As for the advertisement we can do a lot more than just advertising. Is just to see how El Nacional can help the dash community in Venezuela and LATAM." (Remember, English is not his first language.)

    I want to be clear that I am not looking for anyone in the DASH community to dictate what should or should not be printed in El Nacional, other than clearly labelled advertising. I firmly believe that a free press is a foundational aspect of a free society. That said, it seems Mr. Makriniotis is already on-board with the idea of helping the DASH community. Positive publicity for DASH from El Nacional would be certain. DASH already has a number of people on the ground in Venezuela who could be interviewed or reported on by El Nacional. I am sure that members of the DASH community would be welcome to write op-ed pieces as well.

    (I have already been thinking of op-ed pieces which I or others could write, comparing slow, expensive, pseudo-anonymous Bitcoin transactions, to instant, cheap and truly anonymous DASH transactions. I have even been thinking about the possibility of pieces which speculate on possibility of Venezuelan becoming the first nation in the world to adopt a cryptocurrency (you can guess which one!) to replace fiat as their national currency. In essence, the argument would be that DASH, like gold, is limited, fungible, unable to be counterfeited, etc. and would be immune from any sort of government or other manipulation. There could be pieces on places which accept DASH already, or explaining how to obtain or use DASH, or describing other resources for those interested in using DASH. The possibilities here are really endless, and I am sure various members of the DASH community could come up will all sorts of great ideas.)

    The bottom line is that it would take $17,750 (USD) to purchase one month's supply of the necessary paper. In my proposal I would ask for $25,000. This would cover the $17,750, plus the costs (probably less then $1000 or so) involved with creating a legal entity which could take the DASH, convert it to USD, and then directly pay the paper supplier. Although based in Chile, the supplier has a US bank account, and thus accepts payments in USD. (I could not convince the supplier to directly accept DASH, but I did try!) The remaining approximately $6000 or so (minus the 5 DASH which would be required to submit this proposal) would then provide a buffer for any unanticipated costs, and could also be rolled-over to the next month, if it was determined to fund a second month of printing. (The extra money could also be used to cover a shortfall in the event the price of DASH drops.) Also, remember that the $17,750 would be for a minimum printing; if this first month proved to be successful, then it might make sense to propose a larger amount for printing in the second, or any subsequent months.

    I welcome all questions or comments on this issue.

    (NOTE: I have edited this post to more accurately refer to El Nactional as "Venezuela's last nationally circulated independent newspaper," rather than "Venezuela's last nationally circulated anti-government newspaper.")
     
    #1 ScioMind, Jan 11, 2019
    Last edited: Jan 14, 2019 at 10:39 PM
  2. TaoOfSatoshi

    TaoOfSatoshi Grizzled Member
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    Personally, I would like to stay away from brazen political statements. We should concentrate budget money on adoption and technological efforts, IMO.
     
  3. ScioMind

    ScioMind Member

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    I appreciate your input. It can be argued, however that cryptocurrency itself is a brazen political statement. The idea of "being your own bank" may be seen as a brazen political statement. The idea of eliminating the need for permission from any third party, be it a financial institution or a government, may be seen as a brazen political statement. The idea that one's financial transaction should be completely private may be seen a brazen political statement.

    That being said, I actually completely agree that the Masternode Budget should be focused on adoption and technological efforts. My proposal is focused on the adoption side. I explicitly stated:

    Any advertising or op-ed pieces should be for the explicit purpose of promoting the adoption of DASH. I want to be very clear on this idea. I am NOT proposing that we promote one candidate over another, or anything like that. I am saying, however, that by providing the necessary funds to revive El Nacional I believe we would have an unparalleled opportunity to reach many people directly, and educate them on the benefits of cryptocurrency, particularly DASH. In fact, here's what I said in my pre-proposal regarding examples of op-ed pieces we could write:

    None of this is a "brazen political statement." It is meant to educate about, and promote the use of, DASH. I think the DASH community has an amazing and unique opportunity which should not be wasted. I think it certainly might be appropriate to debate and wisely set the parameters of the types of things we might want to put in any advertising we create, or any op-ed pieces we write, but I think it would be foolish to squander the opportunities which this budget proposal would create for reaching and educating people of DASH in a very real way, on a large scale.
     
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  4. ScioMind

    ScioMind Member

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    Does anyone else have any opinions on this pre-proposal?
     
  5. GrandMasterDash

    GrandMasterDash Well-known Member
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    I'm also a little cautious of associating in such manner. You're not wrong per se, but I would prefer a more subtle approach.

    Btw, what are your circulation numbers?
     
  6. ScioMind

    ScioMind Member

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    The amount I am looking for is for a very minimal printing. This would be for 2000 copies, daily, for one month.

    I should also say, that while I originally called it "Venezuela's last anti-government newspaper," I think it would have been more accurate to simply call it "Venezuela's last independent newspaper," because the purpose of El Nacional is not to be specifically anti-government, but to remain an independent source of news in a country where all other media outlets have been bought by the government, and have therefore become essentially outlets for government propaganda. As I have stated, I am NOT looking for DASH to dictate, in any way, what is printed by El Nacional. I believe a free press is vital to a free society -- and to a society which is struggling to become free. That said, DASH would be SURE to receive alll sorts of positive publicity for doing this, both within Venezuela and OUTSIDE Venezuela as well. We would be showing that we truly support freedom, and a free press, and I think that these values are VERY much consistent with the values of cryptocurrency in general, and DASH specifically.

    I think this would be an amazing opportunity to gain some very unique and positive attention for DASH, while performing a great positive public service. Since we would receive advertizing space, we could use that to promote adoption in whatever way seems best. There are people on the ground in Venezuela who represent DASH, who I would contact to guide us in that regard.

    Please consider upvoting this pre-proposal, so I can feel confident about moving forward. This would be a bold move for DASH, yes, but I believe also a very positive one.
     
  7. ScioMind

    ScioMind Member

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    Could you please tell me what you mean by a more subtle approach? I am very open to suggestions, and would gladly welcome any and all community input on this.
     
  8. xkcd

    xkcd Member
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    The cynic in me says Charlie Less buys a bank and DASH DAO buys a newspaper, but you might be onto something here. It would be interesting to see an example of what paper looks like, ie a a scanned copy so we can judge for ourselves, but similar to Kuvacash, we as a DAO should distance ourselves from the politics of a country, especially VE And ZIM.
     
  9. GrandMasterDash

    GrandMasterDash Well-known Member
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    Btw, many years ago I used to get large blank newspaper off-cuts for free. When I say "off cuts", they were still substantial, it's just the leftover from a large paper run. Not sure how that works now but if it were me, I'd be calling around and asking for similar.
     
  10. ScioMind

    ScioMind Member

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    I have had a few feedback comments now which have said that we should avoid involving DASH in politics. I am not suggesting that we get into anything political at all. This is a newspaper. It just reports events. I am not suggesting that DASH should take sides in any political contests, or that we promote one side over another, or anything like that at all. What I DO suggest, however, is that we use this opportunity to educate people about cryptocurrency and DASH, including how/where to buy and use DASH. Furthermore, regarding buying a bank vs buying a newspaper (and I want to make it clear we are not actually buying it, but just helping it along through a rough time) I think that helping an independent newspaper to resume printing would garner us much more good will and good publicity than buying a bank would. (After all, crypto is pretty much the antithesis of banks.)
     
  11. ScioMind

    ScioMind Member

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    This is interesting. I think, however, that in Venezuela all the remaining newspapers are owned by the government, and the government is already unwilling to sell paper to El Nacional. With that in mind, it seems highly unlikely that they would be willing to just donate this extra paper.

    When you got these "off-cuts" where these from the manufacturer, or from some newspaper which only printed a partial roll?
     
  12. GrandMasterDash

    GrandMasterDash Well-known Member
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    Directly from the newspaper, they always started a run with a new roll.
     

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