Blockchain systems are changing the world. From currency to finance, this new and exciting technology will revolutionize the way we conduct business and art for years to come. Most people are familiar with this technology because of the cryptocurrency, Bitcoin. But Bitcoin, although the largest of the cryptocurrencies, is a small part of what this new system does.
How does this have anything to do with writing you may ask? I’m getting there.
First of all, let’s explain what a blockchain is in the most simplest way possible. The best way to describe the blockchain is to call it a database, only the data is stored on blocks that hold sets of information. These blocks are chained together, stamped with a date and the information on them is irreversible. Computers from all over the world transact the blockchain, making it highly decentralized and difficult to control, which is the key to its power. These computers are called nodes. Any changes to the information on the blocks have to be agreed upon by the community of users.
Okay, here’s the cool part. The blockchain is being used for novelists and artists alike. Hashmask, a digital art and collectible platform, recently sold a piece of digital art for over six-hundred thousand dollars. The owner receives a NFT (Non-Fungible Token) that represents the unique art or collectible. The owner of the NFT interacts with the digital art on the blockchain and gets naming rights, as well as unlimited commercial rights. These are rare pieces of art where the owner of the NFT becomes part of the artistic process. Think these digital tokens are worthless? Ten million dollars in digital art sold in four days in February. Check out Hashmask for more information about their platform. https://www.thehashmasks.com
The prospect for writers is even greater. There are two blockchain startup platforms that are very intriguing: Scenarex https://www.scenarex.ca and Publica https://publica.com/. This is how Forbes Magazine describe this new ebook technology. “When you buy an e-book on one of these services, it puts a record of your purchase on a blockchain that establishes your ownership of the file. You get a token — a small digital file — signifying ownership. Then you can alienate — a legalese term meaning to sell, lend, rent, or give away — the file to someone else. When that happens, a record of the new ownership is put on the blockchain, and the token moves to the new owner.” When you buy the book your name goes on the blockchain forever. Then, when you sell it, the next owner is put on the chain.
The potential blockchain technology holds for authors is limitless. It will solve the problem of reselling books. In this system, authors will get paid when the ‘owner’ of the novel resells it to someone else. There will be exact accounting information and all the buyers will be known because they’ll be recorded on the chain, making marketing your books that much easier. Of course, there are issues that still need to be worked out, but I’m very excited about this new decentralized system for authors.
Blockchain technology is not only here to stay, but it will change the world. I’ve barely scratched the surface about it in this short blog and am learning more and more each day. The various platforms and cryptocurrencies seem to grow by the hour. Be ready for the economic and artistic tsunami that’s coming our way. In the near future you may be selling your art on this exciting new platform.