Fri, Jun 08, 2018 - Page 12 News List

Bitmark hopes to provide control over digital assets

By Ted Chen  /  Staff reporter

Bitmark Inc, a Taipei-based blockchain developer, said it envisions a future in which people have full ownership over their digital assets.

The company uses the indelible and impossible-to-forge ledger capabilities of blockchain, the technology that underpins headline-grabbing cryptocurrencies such as bitcoin, to develop tools that help people assert ownership over their digital creations, as online activities become a larger part of everyday life.

Each digital creation, even as mundane as a blog or social media post, could become registered digital property through the use of the company’s tools, which utilize crytography hashing to create a unique fingerprint for each item.

“A block is added to our blockchain every two minutes,” Bitmark operations manager Jason Liu (劉竟偉) said yesterday, pointing at a TV display showing real-time property registrations and asset transfers at the company’s booth at Computex Taipei.

Some entries are identifiable as content shared on social media, while others leave little clues apart from the time and date of registration and ownership transfer.

“The company’s founder, Sean Moss-Pultz, is very particular about safeguarding privacy and users can leave as little information as they wish,” Liu said.

Bitmark does not conduct “know your customer” checks and users can sign up with an e-mail address without linking their real names or government-issued identification, he said, adding that users could instead be identified by a unique and lengthy string of numbers and characters.

The company runs its own private blockchain that contains its entire registry of digital properties and tracks ownership transfers. Computation is provided by the company and crytominers paid in Litecoin, a cryptocurrency favored for its low transaction fees.

Compared to Ethereum, Bitmark’s blockchain platform is more suitable for digital property rights management, as it is designed to indefinitely preserve the entire ownership transfer history of each item, Liu said.

Ultimately, the company is seeking to monetize transferals of digital property, but immediate use cases for such transfers are limited.

Still, developments such as Europe’s General Data Protection Regulation could be the first step in rethinking privacy and how people could exert control over and monetize their data and creations, Liu said, adding that Bitmark’s world-leading digital property rights management tools would be ready for deployment when the paradigm shift occurs.

Meanwhile, the company’s tools have been deployed by KKBOX Inc, one of Asia’s biggest music streaming service providers, to streamline the lengthy process of verifying ownership and tallying royalty payments for independent musicians.

The company has also partnered with Health2Sync (智抗醣), a diabetes log app, to apply digital fingerprints to patient-submitted data, and is looking to make its tools available to facilitate intellectual property registration for game developers and digital art marketplaces.

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