Blockchain in Content Distribution
The fever of blockchain seems to take on most of the current industries as we know of. Bitcoin showed us a glimpse of a world without banks and financial institutions. More and more blockchain applications are joining the race today. And what is really important, these technologies are suggesting that they can revolutionize the very way we live our lives today.
Many think that blockchain business applications will soon face a bubble-burst similar to the one seen in the cryptocurrencies market. Nonetheless, the technology just keeps evolving and coming back with new areas for its business applications. We can expect in the future many changes in the payment processes, cloud computing, cybersecurity, supply chain, and many others, coming from the new business possibilities opened by blockchain technology.
In the article, we try to discuss some significant changes the content distribution may witness in the coming years with the helping hand of blockchain technology.
Can the blockchain technology indeed manage to distribute the content to the consumers out there, get rid of several intermediaries and bring genuine benefits to the creators? Let’s check the options.
The Importance of Content Distribution
Let’s consider a specific simplified scenario for a moment. Let’s assume that you are a filmmaker, a passionate but lone filmmaker. To make a film, you will need to have a good crew of cinematographer, editors, production managers, directors of photography, and last but not the least, the actors. Let’s say you have managed to have all of them on board and made an interesting piece of a movie.
However, the question is how you could make the consumers view your content? You just cannot go door-to-door and hand over the copy of your film! The solution here is you will need a medium which could distribute your film to all the eager viewers who will watch your movie and even be willing to pay for the experience. This process will fuel your dreams and passion and encourage you to make even better content in the future.
So, the importance of the content distributors is undeniable, independently on the kind of content, as the content, of course, could be many things like a movie, a book, an artwork, music, etc.
Blockchain technology can be a base for an effective content distribution ecosystem. It could mitigate many intermediaries and become almost a direct and personal connector between the content creator and the consumer.
Can Contents be Rooted in a Blockchain?
Many people still think that embedding contents in a decentralized distributed platform are far from the realization. However, there are already some blockchain platforms out there working on content distribution.
One of the good examples is a case of Decent, which started its journey back in 2016. Because of their brilliant idea, their ICO got quite a success at that times, and their blockchain platform named DCore was launched in mid-2017. Now people can build their very own decentralized applications that would help everyone to share digital media contents without the necessity of a third party.
So, yes, content can be rooted in a blockchain.
Another brilliant case of a decentralized content platform is Steemit. Steemit is even more popular than the Decent platform. Many even use Steemit solely these days to share content. We don’t have to rely on the centralized publishers anymore. The upward curve of success for Steemit started from 2014, mainly after Ethereum was introduced to the world.
You might also hear the name of d.tube, a video sharing services based on blockchain and similar, as you can guess, to YouTube. So, soon, we will probably see more and more services coming forward to be a content distributor pioneer.
Decentralized Platforms — The Game Changers
Let’s consider the most famous content sharing platform of the world right now — YouTube. There are thousands of great content creators who are making a living by making creative videos. These channels are swarmed by millions and billions of viewers — YouTube become a modern TV experience!
How much money is actually going to the pocket of these creators? Sure, a significant chunk of money is going to the pocket of Google.
Yes, YouTube gives a free platform where you can post videos of the works you love to do, works driven by passion. However, the money the platform is making from the advertisements are not entirely handed over to the creators. If no intermediary were taking the money, the creators would become the real beneficiary of their own work.
There are blockchain platforms which offer cryptocurrency tokens to the content creators, as well as to the community members who participate in sharing that content. The services which work a little bit like BitTorrent but in a much more personalized, peer-to-peer manner. Example of such company is Flixxo.
Blockchain — Solving the Problem with Royalties
One of the most significant problems for the creative minds is the piracy. Even if you manage to make a beautiful piece of art of music, you will soon see thousands of digital copies swarming the internet. If consumers see they can get something for free, then they are much less inclined to pay money for that, no matter how low the pricing is!
The pirates of the digital world are shrewd and smart; you just cannot win against them. The only way to win against would be to change the game altogether. The lawsuits against most prominent ones might be a threat against them. However, the pirates here get the common people’s support as people demand to hear or see things for free without spending a thing.
To put a stop to this, the Open Music Initiative (OMI) plans to seek help from the blockchain technology — as it could be the possible solution here. This would be an upgrade for the royalty system.
But how would they do it? This could be a perfect use case for the Smart Contracts — automating the payment process and delivering the royalties to the rightful owner of the work. The plan is to include all the songs in a distributed ledger with all legal rights reserved to the rightful owners. The smart contracts once executed will automatically give the royalty money to the musicians.
Distribution Process Gets an Update!
As we have said before, the biggest enemy of digital distribution is piracy. Day-by-day more experts are thinking of blockchain based distributed medium to be a solution to this unhappy situation. Not only the contents will be cheap compared to the current method, but they will also be safe from the pirates as well.
The key is to make a process that is better and easier than the pirates offer. The consumer will always choose the method with fewer hassles. If blockchain technology can straighten up the overall distribution process, there is no doubt that the pirates will get a heavy blow.
We are expecting some groundbreaking changes in the distribution sector. The main reason for such belief is that we have numerous projects in the testing phase in 2017. If they can solve all the small complications, we can expect them to start working on a full scale in late 2018 or early 2019.
Still, there is another big question mark hanging in front of blockchain technology — the copyright acts. So, how will blockchain solve this question?
Clearing Copyright Issues and DMCA
One of the biggest battles the creative minds have to fight is the fight of copyright protection. If you are a new name in the market and have created something of a masterpiece and mass people is loving your work, there is a big chance that someone else will come up and claim that you stole his/her work!
To fight off such feuds the Digital Millennium Copyright Act has been proven successful over the years. However, the question is can developers apply the DMCA act to the blockchain platforms?
Unfortunately, we haven’t seen solutions to this very delicate problem offered by the technology experts. There are even more problems that need to be fixed. For example, how could you take down the digitally stolen contents from the network or identifying the location of the infringement?
The main problem is that DMCA takedown request cannot be implied on the blockchain network as it is immutable by the very nature. It means, if an infringed content is uploaded on the network, taking it down from the network will be a questionable problem.
So, it seems that developers have to work harder to solve such issues otherwise false claims and infringement issue will become an immutable problem and can make the whole process obsolete over time.
Production Houses of the People, by the People, for the People!
Since 2017, we have seen companies raising money by crowdfunding. Hundreds of start-ups have found their way in the world through ICO, Initial Coin Offering. Instead of going to investors as big as whales, it’s much easier to pitch an idea to the ordinary people earn their trust.
In the first two quarters of 2018, start-ups have managed to earn over $6 billion. So, the same idea could be implemented for creative productions. The creative minds could organize crowdfunding to fuel their ingenious plans.
Do you think it is a bit far-fetched idea? Well, already a blockchain platform naming iProdoos is on the run with this idea. They will help projects to raise an ICO and give a chance to the crew to be their own producers. Even the ordinary people who have funded the ICO can enjoy the revenue. So, it’s a win-win situation for everyone.
So, we don’t have to beg to the big-sharks-producers if we want to make a movie for ourselves. A similar idea could be implemented to develop all kinds of creative contents.
Can Blockchain Boon the Digital Advertising Process as Well?
Today, we see targeted and personalized digital advertisements. However, we can’t say that the companies have fully mastered the process. The main flaw of this existing process is the intermediate feeders. They almost consume up to 40–70% of the investment given by the advertisement givers.
The good thing is that the blockchain-fueled advertising agencies are entering the scene. We have to tell you the name of NYIAX, an exchange platform that collaborates both parties together for a cheaper and more effective solution. The company is even developed in a partnership is NASDAQ. As the big name of NASDAQ is backing up NYIAX, we can expect some great results from them.
MadHive is another similar company that targets digital videos and image-based websites. This one is working to revolutionize the European market. It will be a challenge for them as Europe has stronger and stricter privacy laws which are even bolstered in May 2018.
Only time can how well these blockchain based advertising platforms will work.
There is no doubt that blockchain technology has a real chance to become a significant disruptor in the content distribution business for years. The reason is also pretty simple; the original content developers will get more benefitted financially. The cost of the middleman will be reduced to zero which the lion’s share of the total invested money on the distribution network right now.
The world deserves a system connects the content creators and the consumers on the same platform. This will make the system more transparent and easy without the extra complexities. The good news is the process has already started, and we can expect to see some great results in the near future.
With the game-changing names like Decent, Flixxo, CryptoWORK, and many more on the market, we can think the traditional content distribution methods are going to take a considerable blow very soon.
The content distribution platforms just need to take the issue of copyright and legal cases more sincerely. Yes, we know solving the issue of piracy is not an easy task — quite impossible some might say. However, we believe, the genius human mind will solve that problem too. No problem is impossible for the human to solve. So, let’s hope for a better tomorrow, shall we?