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.

What to expect when you’re using Bitmark

In modern society, freedom and economic prosperity means property ownership and accumulation of wealth. But increasingly the stuff we create and value most exists only in our digital lives, where there’s no system for individual ownership. The Bitmark mission is to empower universal digital ownership so we can live free online. To get there, we are making simple tools that help you to interact with the Bitmark property ownership system. These tools will enable a new level of control and freedom over your digital life. You can:

  • Buy digital works, directly from their creators, that give you — the owner — full rights to use, sell, and trade.
  • Donate your health data, trapped in your devices, to researchers advancing the frontiers of public health.
  • Begin a digital estate to protect your online legacy and wealth.

How to get started

Bitmark will be easily folded into your everyday patterns. We’ve integrated with IFTTT to make asserting ownership over your digital life seamless:

If this, then bitmark

Once you’ve established a Bitmark account, quickly connect it to IFTTT and choose which applets will help you most. Some popular options involve collecting your photos across social media and storing them in one simple place. Your articles can be bitmarked and shared across the web with protected attribution. Or, you can donate the health data from you phone to aid researchers advancing public health.

When your personal data and digital assets can be automatically converted into your own property, the opportunities are almost endless!

When you’re interested in transferring your data to someone else, or perhaps someone asks to receive your digital property, the steps will be very simple to get you there. Since the individual is central to the Bitmark mission, we use the most direct interface possible. Here is an example of a photograph entitled Dune in California that Xarene created then shared over Instagram and bitmarked (assigned property ownership to it) using IFTTT:

Everyone in the world can view the bitmark for this property:

A bitmark contains all the important information necessary to authenticate the ownership claims over a digital property. Included is also the provenance — the full ownership history of the property.

Is Bitmark secure?

A good way to understand security is by asking “Who is in charge of security?” The Bitmark system was designed to put individuals in control.

Your data is first encrypted and then stored in cloud storage that you control. That is totally private. The property title for your asset, known as the bitmark, is stored in the public Bitmark blockchain. That is public so it can be authenticated by anyone.

When you want to transfer ownership of your property (eg: sell, donate, or bestow), technically you are transferring ownership over the bitmark to a new owner. Then they will have rights to the data. Transfer records form a “chain of ownership” acting as a public record that protects both parties to transaction. Once the ownership transfer is recorded in the blockchain, the data will be re-encrypted for the new owner and then transferred to them.

You don’t need to know how blockchains work to use Bitmark. Conceptually, what’s important to understand is that blockchains allow for the exchange of value without central intermediaries. This is something that was thought to be impossible. It’s why Bitcoin, the blockchain for money, is significant. It’s money, issued by the people (not governments or corporations) that can’t be forged or censored. Similarly, Bitmark, the blockchain for property, is significant because data can become a property, owned and stored and transferred by individuals freely as they choose.

What is this all for?

At the simplest level, property is provenance: the “chaining of ownership” from the present all the way to the origin. The ability to demonstrate clean title is what protects one’s investment in a property by guaranteeing strong provenance.

In today’s digital economy, individuals create so much value, yet we have little to no ownership over the content we create and the data we generate.

Bitmark’s tools define a new digital freedom by providing an economic framework of standardized property rights, rules, and infrastructure.

The system will allow individuals to derive value from digital property just as we do from the things we own in the physical world, including selling, buying, transferring, donating, licensing, passing down, protecting, and much more.

When you create your Bitmark account, you will be part of the digital revolution, you will own your piece of the digital economy. Once you’re in the network you will be able to:

  • Feel relief if you’re an artist because your images, artwork, doodles, messages, prints, photos, and work will be yours and yours alone.
  • Take comfort in the security that your digital files, statements, contracts, and information will be safe and tracked if something should happen to you
  • Have peace of mind that you can legitimately share the pieces of your digital world with anyone you choose to and that no one can take that away.
  • Feel like the cool kid on the block because you have just stepped onto the cutting edge of the new digital infrastructure.

Join us!

Here’s our IFTTT service: https://ifttt.com/bitmark

By Bitmark Inc. on June 15, 2017.