Cryptocurrencies are getting a lot of attention, but finance is only one of many applications of the blockchain technology behind it.
Blockchain technology is poised to revolutionise almost everything from supply chains (including illegal fishing and human rights abuses), insurance and health.
It is flourishing in an open-source environment, which raises the question whether our current intellectual property laws are fit for purpose to foster innovation.
Intellectual property law’s incentive theory
Intellectual property laws, such as patents and copyright, are premised on the incentive theory. To incentivise people to create, they are given, in effect, a monopoly (with some exceptions) on their creations and can go to court and stop others from free-riding on their work.
The digital world has made the tension between innovators and free riders even more acute. In the pre-digital era, copying a book incurred considerable costs for the copier. Now, given that digital files can be copied indefinitely for near zero cost, one could argue that we need even stronger IP laws to prevent rampant and unfair copying.
An eon or two ago, Eastman Kodak was a bleeding-edge technology company. It hired the smartest engineers and put them to work racking up patents, pioneering new chemical processes and building a globe-spanning camera and film business that, at its peak, employed 145,000 people.
But the digital photo age passed Kodak by, and today, the Rochester, N.Y., company exists mostly in the past tense. Many of the patents have been sold, buildings have been rented out or demolished, and the company has continued to shrink since it filed for bankruptcy in 2012.
Now, the 130-year-old company is trying an unlikely sort of comeback — one built by betting on cryptocurrency. It’s a bold gamble that has excited some investors, perplexed others and raised questions about whether Kodak was wading into dubious business deals in search of growth.
This month, Kodak lent its name to a digital currency called KodakCoin, which is billed as “a photo-centric cryptocurrency to empower photographers and agencies to take greater control in image rights management.” The basic idea behind KodakCoin is to use the blockchain to help photographers manage their collections by creating permanent, immutable records of ownership. The company also struck a licensing deal for a Bitcoin-mining computer called the Kodak KashMiner, which allows users to generate their own cryptocurrency.
The ever-increasing popularity of blockchain began with cryptocurrencies like bitcoin, but has since surpassed the worlds of finance and banking. With a slew of new businesses and applications built on the technology, these industries now represent the first wave of a mass decentralization that will soon impact the whole world. Blockchain helps distribute the cost of running a platform to its various participants, but rewards them for it in equal measure.
This decentralized model is already relevant for blockchain-based solutions such as cloud storage, payment processing, and cybersecurity. Soon, however, the technology will play a key role in the content distribution arena.
To many, this is a better deal than the old ways, which saw control and profits stay in the hands of content hosting companies rather than the content creators themselves. Blockchain can significantly disrupt this imbalanced status quo, and seeks to put the power back in the hands those who create and consume content.
Blockchain is quickly becoming a buzzword in daily conversation, largely due to the popularity of cryptocurrencies like bitcoin, but also because of the innovations being built with the technology. As entrepreneurs and developers move to adopt blockchain, its potential to disrupt businesses far and wide becomes increasingly obvious. Blockchain technology uses the power of an encrypted, organized network of computers to run all kinds of processes. Industries like data storage, banking, cybersecurity, supply chain management and crowdfunding are some of the first to be affected, but these may just be the first dominoes to wobble.
Is blockchain a threat to Netflix and other streaming competitors like Hulu? The answer first requires a look at Netflix, and then how blockchain might interrupt the company’s wildly successful model. (See also: Is a Netflix Debt Bubble Coming?)
More at: Does Blockchain Technology Pose a Threat to Netflix? – Investopedia
Custos Media Technologies, a South African company that provides a globally effective solution to piracy by outsourcing the detection of pirated content using Bitcoin and its blockchain, announced on Wednesday 13 September 2017 that the company will be participating in a new blockchain-based anti-piracy solution for ebooks, following the recent news that content protection giant Digimarc and ebook publisher Erudition are joining forces.
This new collaboration debuts the combination of Digimarc Barcode for digital documents and Custos’ infringement detection technology. This provides a more effective, reader-friendly way to combat ebook piracy.
Erudition and Custos have worked closely together over the past year. The Stellenbosch-based media protection company provides technology that adds Bitcoin deposits to ebooks. These digital bounties enable Custos to rapidly detect piracy after the first copy of a file is shared.
Kim Dotcom may be spending much of his time fighting extradition from New Zealand to the U.S., where he faces copyright infringement and money laundering charges, but he’s also busy working on the successor to Megaupload, the online storage service that got him into this trouble.
As Fortune reported on Monday, Dotcom is looking for popular YouTube stars to test his new micropayments system, Bitcache. Now he’s giving Fortune a sneak preview of K.im, a new online storage service that lets creators upload their files and make money every time people download them.
The idea behind K.im is to let people upload their songs, movies, or documents once and then propagate them across a plethora of other platforms: cloud storage services such as Dropbox and iCloud, peer-to-peer networks such as Kickass Torrents, and social media services such as WeChat and Weibo. When a creator uploads a file, they also get the code for a widget that they can embed on their own websites, inviting people to buy the file. Essentially, wherever the file goes, it takes with it the functionality to demand payment for using it.
“We have our own file type,” Dotcom explains. “So to open [it] you will need one of our apps or third party apps that will use our [application programming interface]. That way we ensure that no matter where your file is hosted, the content owner gets paid.”