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Art and Blockchain [Part1]: VRintelligentART and the Bitmark Blockchain

Art and Blockchain [Part1]: VRintelligentART and the Bitmark Blockchain

I just recently bought my first two pieces of #VRintelligentART and thought, that the process and underlying blockchain technology is interesting enough to share with you.

The output for numbers 2 and 3 on DApp Gen1

VRintelligentART

I came across this digital art project through a small conversation, that I had with twitter user Von Likenstien, who is an Economist and Aerospace Engineer with an interest in AI, VR, and AR.

He created a small AI tool, that is called “DApp Gen1” and that transforms any input into a small piece of digital art.

Screenshot from DApp Gen1

If you like the output, you can then contact Von Likenstien on twitter and purchase the small digital AI-artwork using Ethereum. He then uses a blockchain called Bitmark to transfer the ownership of this digital asset to you.

Bitmark

The Bitmark blockchain has been designed to particularly enable the making of property from digital data.

By bitmarking the first public instance of your data, for example editions of photographs on your webstore, you can absolutely control the number of bitmarks there are and who owns them. Using the Bitmark tools you can easily begin registering your claim of ownership by bitmarking your data.

Source

You can either upload a digital file, input a text or even use IFTT applets to automatically bitmark your output on several social media sides and apps.

Screenshot from IFTT

The IFTTT service gives individuals the ability to easily extract their data from the places where we create and share things: social media, fitness and health apps, productivity and financial software, and much more. Bitmark Applets allow users to simply apply a mark of accepted ownership to a new creation (photos on Instagram, articles on WordPress, code on Github, and more) and embed it into Bitmark’s standardized, universal crypto property system.

Source

Transfer of Bitmarks

After someone has bitmarked a digital asset, like the output of the DApp Gen1 by Von Likenstien for example, these bitmarks can easily transfered to another Bitmark user. All you will have to know, is the email address of the user, you want the asset transfer to.

There is a Web App where you can see, manage and transfer all your digital assets.

After I sorted out the payment details with Von Likenstien and gave him the email address, I signed up with on Bitmark, he transferred the outputs of his DApp Gen for the numbers “2” and “3” to me.

I took a while until I received an email for every digital artwork, in which I was asked to accept the transfer of the properties by signing them.

Screenshot from Bitmark email

After that, I was able to see and download those artworks at my Bitmark account.

Screenshot from Bitmark

As you can see, I could also transfer those bitmarked artworks to another user and there will always be a provenance and history of ownership available on the Bitmark blockchain.

The block explorer is called The Bitmark Property Registry and is a historical ledger of all property transactions in the Bitmark property system. At this place you can check, if the transfer was successful.

Check it out!

If you are an artist or art collector, you should definitely check out the DApp Gen1 VRintelligentART generator. For example the output for “steemit” looks very rad.

Screenshot from DApp Gen1

Just contact Von Likenstien on twitter and ask, if it is still available.

Bonus (for Steemit users)

Alternatively you could purchase a digital artwork from me called “bomomo blue”, that I just issued as an edition of 10.

If you’re interested, you can buy one of those digital artworks by sending me 2 Steem/SBD to my Steemit account (@shortcut) and add your email in an encrypted memo. You can encrypt the memo by adding a # followed by a space in front of the memo.

For example # For 1 bomomo blue artwork. Here is my@email.com

Thanks in advance!

This was just the beginning of a series about blockchain and art, please follow me to keep yourself up to date!

@shortcut


Originally published at steemit.com on April 3, 2018.

By Joern Bielewski on April 04, 2018.
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On the internet, nobody knows you’re a renter.

On the internet, nobody knows you’re a renter.

The important differences between copyright, licensing agreements, and property titles.

Bitmark allows property titles to be assigned to digital content and data. The ownership and history of these titles, which we call “bitmarks” are recorded in the blockchain. We aim to extend traditional property rights into the digital environment.

The Bitmark property system will provide a foundational legal and economic framework to allow digital works to be bought, sold, borrowed, passed down, rented, loaned, and more. Before we can do all of these things with our digital assets, we first must make property titles clean. Empowering individuals to own their digital lives will help transform the digital environment into an even more valuable economy for both companies and individuals.

A few important definitions:

  • Copyright — Exclusive rights granting the owner of an original literary, musical, or artistic work to distribute and use.
  • License Agreement — Authorization, for a specified time or territory, from the owner to use their asset. Often to grant use of copyright.
  • Property Title — Legal instrument claiming ownership of an asset. The title functions as bundle of property rights that can be transferred.

In the physical world, individuals have freedom because property rights are clear.

The ways we use things in the physical realm, whether we have ownership of them or not, are usually quite clear. For example, when you buy a book you can write in its margins, give it to your friend, take 10 years to read it, or even throw it away. When you borrow a book from the library, because you do not own it, you’re expected to return it within the library’s conditions (on time, no writing in it, not damaged, etc). What we can and cannot do with things in the physical world is clear because there is a framework of standardized property rights, rules, and infrastructure that make it clear.

Another way to look at this is that property rights enable freedom. Titles make property rights transferrable from one owner to another. (That has economic and social value which we will explain later in this post.) Even though you don’t have a property title for that book you bought, it is still considered property and you are legally acknowledge as the owner of that book. Specifically your book is a form of personal property. Possession of personal property is the most simple indication of title. If there is suspicion about someone’s ownership of the item, a proof of legal acquisition, such as a bill of sale or purchase receipt, could be necessary for an ownership transfer. But in nearly all cases of personal property, transfer of possession to a good faith purchaser will convey title, no document is required.

Environments without ownership rules and rights for individuals are chaos, an anarchistic state in which there is no protection, no longevity, no security or sustainability for one’s assets and belongings. There is no better example of this than the digital world.

In our digital lives, copyright has taken away our freedom.

Software first became valuable about 40 years ago. Those in power instituted a system of licensing instead of property titles.

Why did licensing become the standard? That requires a brief history lesson.

Originally, computer programs were not protected by copyrights because they were not considered fixed, tangible works. Object code was distinguished from source code. (Object code is instructions for machines — source codes are for humans.) Object code was viewed as a utilitarian good, produced from source code rather than as a creative work in and of itself.

The U.S. Copyright Office attempted to classify computer programs by drawing an analogy: the blueprints of a bridge and the resulting bridge, compared to the source code of a program and the resulting executable object code:

It was this very analogy that caused the Copyright Office to issue copyright certificates for object code under its Rule of Doubt.

In 1974, the newly established U.S. Commission on New Technological Uses of Copyrighted Works (CONTU) decided that computer programs, to the extent that they embody an author’s original creation, are proper subject matter of copyright.

Then in 1980, the U.S. Congress added the definition of computer program to existing copyright laws in order to allow the owner of the program to make another copy or adaptation for use on a computer. This legislation, plus court decisions such as Apple v. Franklin, clarified that the Copyright Act gave computer programs the copyright status of literary works. To simplify: Congress said compiling code is like writing War and Peace.

As a result, software companies began to claim that they did not sell their products but rather “licensed” them to customers. Why? Because this enabled them to avoid the transfer of property rights to the end-user via the first-sale doctrine. These software license agreements are now called end-user license agreements (EULAs).

The stuff you think you own in the digital world, isn’t actually yours.

It’s hard to overstate just how bad individuals have it.

For example, when you “buy” digital goods from the App Store, or when you “buy” books via Kindle, you’re not a owner. Apple and Kindle granted you a license to use their asset. This license is non-transferrable and revocable. This means that you can’t sell it on secondary markets or even give it away. And you’re beholden to their terms in using these assets, which they reserve the rights to change at anytime. In short, you thought you were buying but in fact you are renting. Licensing digital assets for use is as different from establishing digital property rights, as renting real estate is from owning buildings.

How can there be property rights on the internet for businesses but not individuals?

Individual humans create a lot of value by living their lives online — taking photos, sharing ideas and opinions, uploading personal financial and health information, and buying and storing things like music and movies.

In theory, individuals should capture at least some of the value they create. This afterall is the point of property systems, to reward those that create value with proper legal protection and ownership over their creations and inventions. Yet on the internet, property rights are actively discouraged.

Copyright law cannot empower individuals in their digital lives because the foundation of the internet was built on licensing. There are two distinct problems caused by adopting copyright as the dominant property type structure on the internet. First, most personal data cannot be copyrighted for the simple fact that it’s not a creative work; applying the rules that we use for creative works wouldn’t easily apply to (say) search history. Second, if you create digital work or information within these digital platforms, by their terms of service, they reserve the rights to make or sell future copies and even create derivative works from your asset. The ability to make derivative works is an immensely valuable exclusive right reserved for the copyright owner! (This is why, for example, Disney lobbies so hard to extend copyright terms.)

Within the current digital environment individuals are renters — seldom owners — regulated to renting rules. Big companies aim to build network growth for themselves by locking down your personal data and assets. They do everything in their legal power to reserve as many rights and control points as possible over your data. Big companies make money by tapping into the enormous amount of “free” information created by individual internet users, bundling it together and selling it to the highest bidder.

Most governments are not helping, either. Rules around how data can be owned, shared, and used are rare to nonexistent. And because of this, individuals are losing out.

When individuals own property, immense value is unlocked for everyone.

Data is the “oil” powering the digital economy. Data is the next major asset class. How much value can be unlocked for the world at large if individuals had property rights over data? That is unknown. But history can give us an idea:

The ability to privately own land gave birth to the agricultural revolution. This, we call real property. We know well how the rules of real property work: we can buy a home, rent it out, and bestow our valuable property to our heirs when the time comes.

When individuals forced the democratization of the ownership of ideas and inventions, after a brief period of time, the industrial revolution emerged. The legal framework of Intellectual property unlocked immense value for individuals and businesses alike by creating an entirely new economy.

Now, with data, we are in a dark age; individuals have no property rights. We have lost our freedom to benefit from the most important economy the world has ever seen. The Bitmark system was created to provide a legal and economic framework for digital property.

Digital property will level the playing field for who can achieve success online — creating new avenues for wealth, prosperity, and achievement on the Internet that are not currently possible for the vast majority of people.

The movement to restore freedom in our digital lives has already begun. Last month, we partnered with IFTTT to release a simple tool for digital estate planning. Subscribe to our newsletter and we will keep you updated about our progress transforming the internet into a new system built on individual freedom and empowerment.

By Bitmark Inc. on August 11, 2017.
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Bitmark + IFTTT: How to take ownership of your digital life and plan your estate.

Bitmark + IFTTT: How to take ownership of your digital life and plan your estate.

What would happen to your personal data and digital assets if something happened to you?

The process of preparing for the transfer of assets after death is known as estate planning. Estate, a common law term, means an individual’s property, entitlements, and obligations. In modern society, legal systems have elegant solutions for handling the assets that we accumulate and create in the physical world. But increasingly the stuff we create and value most exists only in our digital lives, where there’s no system for individual ownership. In the digital environment estate planning is a minefield.

Individual humans create value by living their lives online — producing works of art, sharing ideas and opinions, uploading personal financial and health information, or buying and storing things like music and movies.

But we don’t own our stuff on the internet. We give it away for free, and, in the process, we’re losing our ability to plan for our future.

The Bitmark mission is to empower universal digital ownership, and we’re making simple tools that help you gain freedom and control of your most valuable data within the digital environment. If we could own our digital lives just like we own everything we buy and build in the physical world, wouldn’t this add to our wealth and freedom? We think so. To make digital estate planning more accessible and automated for everyone, Bitmark has partnered with IFTTT, an IoT service that gives users greater control of their personal data across a wide variety of apps and online services.

“We’re excited to have Bitmark as a partner. They’re a unique service, and doing something incredibly ambitious. Applets will help reach a broader audience that’s just beginning to think about digital data ownership and attribution.”
—Linden Tibbets, CEO of IFTTT

Start your digital estate in 5 minutes.

To get you going, we have an initial set of IFTTT Applets that interface with the digital environments where you create and share things: social media, fitness and health apps, productivity and financial software, and much more:

Bitmark IFTTT Applets

These Applets apply a mark of accepted ownership to your data and embed it into Bitmark’s standardized, universal digital property system. It’s an automated process that transforms your data into an asset that you own and pass down to loved ones.

We recommend you experiment with a few of these Applets first, and then decide which data and assets are most valuable to you. (If you’re lacking ideas, we published a blog post earlier this summer about what two of our Bitmark team members would choose.)

Here is how this process will look:

Step 1: Turn on some Applets and authorize IFTTT.

Once IFTTT is authorized, it automatically bitmarks your new property via the connected Applets. You can view your property in Bitmark’s app, where you can also issue new bitmarks for any other document type on your computer or phone:

Step 2: Check out your digital properties.

Next steps: Grant access to your estate (coming soon).

When property ownership is clear, the access and management rights to your estate, (known as fiduciary duty) is more easily worked out. These details will depend on local regulation, in the same manner as the things we own in the physical world.

Usually it requires a long, expensive, legal process for your loved ones to access your accounts — your emails, cloud storage, and digital data that’s in your name. Not to mention that, in many cases (read Twitter’s deceased user article, or Wiki article about Death and the Internet), your loved ones will never be allowed access to your accounts, and if they try, it will be a criminal offense. Ouch.

Bitmark for digital estate planning has two goals: 1) provide individuals with a structured, secure system for assigning ownership to your digital assets and data; 2) pave the way to a more free and fair legal framework for our digital lives and valuables.

Think of what we are providing today as a basic first step. Bitmark’s tools provide a framework and infrastructure to begin organizing and protecting your digital property. In the future we will add more options that make it easier to assign access to your digital estate with your lawyer, spouse, and loved ones.

“Bitmark’s work with IFTTT confirms and tracks ownership of online data, which is a significant step towards intentional management of any digital estate and future planning for incapacity and death.”
 — Megan L. Yip, Attorney, Estate planning and digital assets

Bitmark is empowering the individual to take back ownership.

Bitmark is the property system for the digital environment. As a system to manage digital property, Bitmark makes it possible to own and transfer title to anyone. For individuals, ownership is power. By establishing ownership to your data, you can in turn derive value from your digital property just as you do from the things you own in the physical world: selling, buying, transferring, donating, licensing, passing down, protecting, and much more.

This tool for digital estate planning is just one piece of our larger mission to empower universal digital ownership so we can live free online. Digital property will level the playing field for who can achieve success online — creating new avenues for wealth, prosperity, and achievement on the Internet that are not currently possible for the vast majority of people.

Read our “Defining Property in the Digital Realm: parts one, two, and three for a more in-depth context to this post.

If you would like to stay posted on future applications of Bitmark and how we are transforming the Internet into a new system built on individual freedom and empowerment, subscribe to our newsletter.

By Bitmark Inc. on July 18, 2017.
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What’s in a property title?

What’s in a property title?

Best practices for safely bitmarking your data & organizing your digital assets.

When I talk to people about Bitmark there is confusion about digital property. I think most of this confusion boils down to what exactly is in a property title (or in the digital realm, a “bitmark”), and what is in the asset itself.

A title is a public ownership claim over an asset. The asset itself can be made public or kept private — that’s totally up to the owner. Titles are always public. One function of the title is to uniquely identify that asset. (You can think of that like the address to your home on its deed or the vehicle ID number on your car title). But titles do more. Titles make property rights transferrable from one owner to another. That has massive value which we will explain later. In this article, I want to focus on clarifying what should and should not be in a digital title, thus how you should and shouldn’t bitmark your stuff. Let’s use an example to get started.

The other day, I read that location information is super valuable so I wanted to start an Applet bitmarking my location data:

The Applet automatically created the following digital property:

The property bitmark (title) represents rights to access my location data. This record is visible from the Registry. Thus, if I wanted to give or sell my location data (asset), I would not want that data embedded in the title itself. Yet that is what this Applet did. Inside the public metadata of the bitmark contains a link to my actual location:

Location is a data set that most people would think of as sensitive. I know I do. Putting sensitive data into the title is not what we want.

What should go in a title?

It is important that the title describes the asset, usually from an economic value perspective, without revealing potentially sensitive information about the asset itself.

Here are three examples to help clarify:

  1. Fitbit daily activity — Put things like date and device type, maybe a defining characteristic like age or gender (your preference) in the title. Everything else (step count, calories burned, food ate, sleep cycle, and heart information, …) should go in the asset itself. Folks who want the metadata for their research purposes, can ask your permission, you give consent and they get the full asset.
  2. Instagram photos — Similar to health data, you’ll want to name your photo title something that defines the asset like a caption. You can include the time, location, date or the bare minimum of information that makes it memorable and valuable. If the Bitmark property system becomes a sort of marketplace one day, a gallery buyer can potentially search relevant titles for something they want to highlight in their next show. The asset is the photo itself.
  3. Medium stories — Include sparse but important information about the piece, date, author, or title perhaps. The metadata is the story itself. By being bitmarked, we hope someday these titles will be checked or authenticated, so that when content is shared over messaging apps, the reader knows they are reading a verified source. Think similarly to the blue check box next to certain handles on Twitter.

Bitmark is the universal property ownership system for digital environment.

One of the most important functions a formal property system does is to transform assets from a less accessible state to a more accessible state, so that ownership can be easily communicated and assembled within a broader network. When an individual asserts ownership over their data control points change: networks become economies.

Converting an asset such as a house into an abstract concept such as a property right requires a complex system to record and organize the socially and economically useful attributes of ownership. The act of embodying an asset in a property title and recording it in a public ledger facilitates a consensus among actors as to how assets can be held, used, and exchanged.

Bitmark is about imagining a future where individual internet users will take back ownership of their digital lives — a new internet built on individual freedom and empowerment where everyone has a chance at success. This freedom stems from ownership of digital property just as we own everything we buy and build in the physical world.

If you’re interested in going deeper, one of the best features of the IFTTT platform is that you can create your own Applets, extending core functionality that the service provides. For anyone looking to extend our service here is a list of metadata options to consider:

Created (date), Contributor, Coverage, Creator, Description, Dimensions, Duration, Edition, Format, Identifier, Language, License, Medium, Publisher, Relation, Rights, Size, Source, Subject, Keywords, Type, Version, Other*

These options come from our web app and they work well for most personal data and digital assets. We recommend using them, but you can also create your own metadata. Just be clear on what will always be public (titles) and what can be kept private (assets). A good analogy to keep in mind is that the deed (title) to your home doesn’t reveal what’s inside your home, but it does explain where to find your home.

Join us in our efforts to democratize the digital economy. Sign up for our beta and try our IFTTT service. If you have any questions, we’re @BitmarkInc on Twitter.

By Bitmark Inc. on July 15, 2017.
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What is your digital fire drill?

What is your digital fire drill?

What valuable items would you miss if your phone or computer was lost or stolen today?

If you were in an accident, would your loved ones be able to gain access to your digital valuables — your personal data and digital assets — if you were incapacitated? If you were to die tomorrow, which pieces of your digital property would you want your loved ones to have?

Here’s what Sean Moss-Pultz, our CEO, would take if his digital house was on fire:

  • Master keys for digital assets (bitcoin, ethereum, bitmark, …)
  • Recover codes for password manager
  • Recover codes for encrypted hard drives
  • Recover codes for online accounts with 2FA
  • SSH keys and config file
  • Genomic data (23andMe)
  • Notes containing important family, financial, tax, medical information
  • Personal photos and videos (on phones, and on instagram)
  • Health/fitness/sleep data
  • Twitter likes
  • Google Contacts
  • Chrome bookmarks
  • Kindle highlights
  • Music playlists (Spotify and Apple)
  • Important personal and business documents from specific cloud storage folders
  • Starred emails

And here is what Wan Lin, our summer intern, would take with her:

  • Personal and Facebook photos (family and boyfriend)
  • Instagram photos and videos
  • Flickr photos
  • Evernote note with #work tag
  • Files in the “Bitmark” folder on Google Drive
  • Master thesis, saved in Dropbox
  • University acceptance letter
  • Facebook friends list
  • Business contacts in iOS contact
  • Name cards scanned and saved in Evernote
  • WordPress blog posts
  • Cryptocurrency wallets
  • Data from password management app
  • Signed work contracts attached in emails
  • Reading notes saved in Evernote
  • Video of the first day my son walked by himself (when she has a son and that happens)
  • Emails related to unfinished client work, so she can continue the work
  • Artworks on Behance
  • Starred Gmail emails

Why didn’t Sean and Wan Lin include access to their Facebook and other online accounts, purchased items like Adobe Photoshop, digital music, and eBooks? The short answer is that they didn’t want their friends and family to go to jail.

Online accounts are governed by the terms-of-service agreement to which you agreed (or, more likely, clicked a mandatory agreement box without reading) upon opening your account. Those agreements, plus state and federal privacy laws and laws that criminalize unauthorized access to computers, severely limit access to online accounts. In many situations it is a criminal offense to share your accounts with any 3rd-party no matter your relation to them.

Software and digital media is equally problematic. Contracts with service providers may be automatically terminated (by the terms of service) when a customer dies. This means that there is no right for heirs to access that data. To add insult to injury, this is compounded by the fact that many digital assets are only granted with non-transferrable rights of use (a license agreement). For example, both Amazon and Apple only offer their digital products with single user rights. This means that digital products bought through such services can only be used by the purchaser, and cannot be passed on.

This is just the beginning of a conversation around living digital.

The Bitmark mission is to empower universal digital ownership so we can live free online. One of our tools will be a collection of IFTTT applets to get started building your digital estate. These applets will interface with the digital environments where we create and share things: social media, fitness and health apps, productivity and financial software, and much more. They allow users to simply apply a mark of accepted ownership to new creations and embed it into the standardized, universal digital property system Bitmark has created. This allows individuals to derive value from their digital property just as we all do from the things we own in the physical world — selling, buying, transferring, donating, licensing, passing down, protecting, and much more.

Sign up for our beta to stay posted. If you have any questions, we’re @BitmarkInc on Twitter.

By Bitmark Inc. on July 1, 2017.
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All Future Supply Chains Will Contain Digital Assets; How the Bitmark team won the International Blockchain Hackathon

All Future Supply Chains Will Contain Digital Assets; How the Bitmark team won the International Blockchain Hackathon

By Maureen Walsh & Sean Moss-Pultz

Huge congrats to the Bitmark engineering team, who took first place in the first annual International Blockchain Hackathon!

On March 29–30, 2017, Intel, The Floor, and The Tel Aviv Stock Exchange (TASE) hosted the hackathon with intent to create blockchain solutions for leading financial institutions. Among an atmosphere of intense innovation, many worthy startups attempted to create real solutions for leading world banks, using blockchain technology.

Based on the business challenges to be introduced by The Floor’s financial partners, the International Blockchain Hackathon gave entrepreneurs and start-ups the opportunity to drive new applications, showcase technological capabilities, and create some business opportunities for new blockchain-based ventures.

During the two-day hackathon, the participating teams implemented use cases presented by the financial partners. There were 2 competing tracks: corporations & independent developers (first prize was 5 bitcoins) and startups (first prize was 3 months at The Floor).

The Bitmark engineers, joined by Tel Aviv University student Ayush Chandrato, won the corporate & independent category. They developed a supply chain system for digital production, helping rectify the challenge of 3d printing industrial products.

Challenge: 3D Printing Supply Chain Issues

There are three main issues within a 3D printing supply chain:

1) files contain sensitive IP, 
2) copies of digital assets create issues with supplier trust, and 
3) current systems have a weak payment infrastructure.

Bitmark’s Solution: Authenticated Digital Production

Bitmark created software to digitally produce and distribute products with secure provenance. With Bimark technology a manufacturer can create a new digital product with name, description, and citation of ownership. The manufacturer can procure and track digital components directly from suppliers via the blockchain. Manufacturers can then purchase digital assets via the peer-to-peer network that is the Bitmark blockchain. If needed, manufacturer can adjust to market demands in near real-time.

Big thanks to the Bitmark team for their win, and congrats to the many other teams who developed compelling solutions!

By Bitmark Inc. on May 15, 2017.