The other day one of our engineers asked “Can I think of a property as a ballon?” Smiling, I asked what she meant. She drew me that picture. If I want to give you my ballon, she said, I would hand you the string, not the ballon itself. The string is like the property title, transferring the rights to use the asset.
Most of us have some idea what an asset is or could be. We are comfortable with abstract assets like money. Or scarce assets like water. Even ephemeral assets like time itself, can easily be accepted as valuable.
Property rights are one level deeper in abstraction. You need a string to get there. And then you are talking about how you and your ballon can interact with society at large. Property rights deal with interactions between entities.
Personal rights are property rights are therefore connected — two sides of the same coin.
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:
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:
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.