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Ascribe Raises $2 Million to Encode Artistic Copyrights on the Blockchain

Op-ed - Ascribe Raises $2 Million to Encode Artistic Copyrights on the Blockchain

Ascribe, a platform which enables artists to record their intellectual properties on the Bitcoin blockchain has raised US $2 million in a seed funding round from investors including Barry Silbert’s Digital Currency Group, Earlybird Venture Capital, Freelands Ventures, and other angel investors.

With the new financing, Ascribe aims to improve its platform to make it more efficient for artists to record ownership of their works, to onboard new developers to build on their API that helps marketplaces and platforms to display the registered artwork, and to increase awareness of their platform.

Using the Bitcoin blockchain, Ascribe allows artists to create records of permanent and unchangeable copyright and ownership of their artwork that can be verified and tracked instantly. Since the data and copyright cannot be changed once it is registered on the blockchain, artists will be able to defend their works without the need to spend money on the traditional process of hiring lawyers to create legal documents.

While traditional forms of copyrights and patents are difficult to track and usually take days or even weeks to sell or transfer, Ascribe allows its users to sell their ownership securely and cost-free through the bitcoin blockchain.

Since the platform allows users to embed images and texts on the blockchain, artists also may register copyrights for physical art such as sculpture, by simply uploading images of the work with follow-up descriptions.

Copyrights to the artworks registered on Ascribe will be available to public like a torrent file, which can be downloaded and used freely. However, the distributor or the user in this case, will always have full authority over the artwork, and will always possess the power to deny or grant access to their works.

According to the company, more than 600 artists have already signed up for access, and over 2,600 works of art have been registered. Several marketplaces and platforms are also using Ascribe’s API to display the copyrights to the artwork.

Ascribe is currently in progress of designing a machine learning technology which will be able to search through the web to classify copied works without watermarks.

Encrypting Unique Data on the Blockchain

Ascribe is using the function of the Bitcoin blockchain to encode additional information in transactions. On May 6, rock band 22HERTZ encrypted the copyrights to their album on the Bitcoin blockchain, using a function of the blockchain called OP_RETURN, which is a standardized function of the Bitcoin blockchain that allows data to be passed onto a transaction.

In this case, a user defined sequence of up to 40 bytes can be stored in the blockchain, which is enough to store encrypted texts of links to images, songs and long texts.

While storing information and data on the blockchain has been criticized as being inefficient, the transparency of the blockchain makes it extremely easy for artists to track their copyrights and ownerships to their works instantly. Image via Ascribe