Today we announced a $505,000 award to CRWNMAG to provide digital content for Black women delivered in an authentic voice by a trusted platform. Sustainable web monetization that fosters financial inclusion for creators will be a key feature of the publication's digital transformation, reflecting Interledger's core mission.
The Interledger Foundation is a $100 million foundation that promotes innovation, creativity and inclusion through open payment standards and technologies that seamlessly connect the global society. Its Grant for the Webprogram has already committed more than $10 million to boost open, fair and inclusive standards in web monetization (WM). The CRWNMAG award is one of the largest that Interledger has given to date. Awards are intended to seed an ecosystem that will challenge the web's most urgent issues: loss of privacy, centralization of power and inequalities in online participation.
"CRWNMAG's project aligns with the goals of Grant for the Web on many levels, including broadening financial inclusion for creators of color through web monetization," said Interledger's Executive Director Briana Marbury. "This award will enable CRWNMAG to disrupt established practices in the publishing industry and change the paradigm by deploying an inventive business model and new technology."
The award will be utilized to:
- Engage web monetization (WM) to convert CRWNMAG's print publication into digital content available through WM providers, allowing new consumers to enjoy creative content without compromising their security and data.
- Pilot a new funding model for CRWNMAG to enable a more equitable marketplace for creators and expand from print to digital without breaking the trust of its audience of more than 200,000 Black women, while expanding their ability to work with more creators.
- Advocate web-monetization among peer organizations to bring more creatives, entrepreneurs and publishers into the WM ecosystem.
CRWNMAG, created by entrepreneurs Lindsey and Nkrumah Farrar in 2015, offers a progressive dialogue around natural hair and women who wear it, celebrating a new standard of beauty. The publication addresses the whole Black woman who is more educated, well-traveled and sophisticated than ever before, embodied by cover models including Issa Rae, producer and writer of HBO's hit show Insecure; natural hair care maven Whitney White and model/activist Ebonee Davis.
"Due to the historically and systemically racist practices of the advertising industry, coupled with the striking lack of access to capital for Black-owned businesses, from the outset CRWNMAG has been sustained by a direct-to-consumer revenue model," said Lindsey Farrar. "We've nurtured a growing community of readers who understand the value of our stories being immortalized authentically in print. The next step is to develop a more robust digital companion, which the Interledger award will enable us to do."
Nkrumah Farrar explained, "We produce mission-driven content for Black women and it has been difficult to avoid an internet powered by surveillance capitalism and algorithmic censorship, although these practices are antithetical to our values. For independent artists, especially for Black creators, there is a long history of not being credited and compensated for one's work. The Interledger Foundation's Grant for the Web award will enable us to explore how web monetization can help correct this narrative."
Nkrumah concluded, "The Interledger award will allow us to seed a new business model that empowers creators and enables a more equitable marketplace. This will serve as a replicable use case for other digital publications to better serve their audience outside of the predatory practices of programmatic advertising, biased tech and the tastes of the dominant culture---a change with immense potential."
CRWNMAG exists to create a progressive dialogue around natural hair and the women who wear it. We're reaching beyond trendy clickbait and #BlackGirlMagic to address the whole Black woman; a woman who is more educated, well-traveled and sophisticated than ever before --- largely because generations before her have fought to ensure her seat at the table.
Through beautiful content, thoughtful commentary, hair inspiration and resources; we're telling the world the truth about Black women by showcasing a new standard of beauty --- and documenting our story in tangible, premium print form.
About the Interledger Foundation
The Interledger Foundation's vision is a world where anyone can seamlessly earn, share, buy, sell and trade with anyone else on the web. To achieve its mission of global financial inclusion, the Interledger Foundation operates as a 501(c)(3) charitable organization to maintain and advance Interledger as a public good in the service of financial inclusion. Any bank, provider, government office, or other entity can freely use Interledger when designing inclusive payment systems. Creators, developers or organizations can apply to the Foundation's Grant for the Web program to fund their Web Monetization initiatives. To learn more about the Interledger Foundation, visit https://interledger.org/ and follow Interledger on Twitter, LinkedIn and Slack.