startups building blockchain for content and Mark Zuckerberg explores blockchain

blockchain for content

These sites, acting as centralized authorities, can essentially do what they want with their particular service. As a reaction to this, decentralized services are now gaining traction. Blockchain technology is giving rise to such services, which have the potential to offer fairer and more equitable terms to users. Or, at least that is the hope.

For example, StreamSpace, which is based in Austin, Texas, is leveraging this capability of the blockchain to create an online marketplace for filmmakers to easily publish and monetize their content under one platform. In this way, content creators need not deal with studios and streaming services to get their content published or deal with ad-based monetization schemes.

Through their platform, creators can readily publish their works and set prices according to what they believe is fair.

Viewers can readily purchase and stream content through the platform. And, since blockchain payments are immediate and irreversible, filmmakers get instant value from customers purchasing their content. This is unlike current advertising models or traditional means where they would often have to wait for net proceeds from distribution deals.

Transparency in transactions also encourages fair market pricing, which is not driven by a central authority.

Similar projects are also being undertaken for other types of content such as music. The introduction of smart contracts through the blockchain allows for real-world assets and intellectual property to be tokenized and traded. Even physical works of art can be tokenized and sold through blockchain marketplaces.  

Robert Binning, founder of StreamSpace and an active cryptocurrency enthusiast who was introduced to blockchain technology through mining bitcoin in 2012, commenting in relation to starting the businesss said: “We have been passionate about blockchain for about four years since we first tried to do something different with our gaming laptops and discovered an opportunity to mine bitcoins.” He is joined in the team by fellow co-founder and COO James Baggett and CTO Steve Woods.

Binning explained that they wanted to “solve real a world problem,” and not just try to reinvent finance away from the traditional banking system.

He added: “We spent over a year exploring different potential applications and settled on one that is strongly associated with Austin, Texas, the Live Music Capital of the World and home of SXSW -  blockchain distribution of entertainment media content.”

Binning asserted that they believe that filmmakers and independent film enthusiasts will find their offering to be the “answer they have been seeking.”  This is namely to “maximize the financial rewards possible from controlling your project from creation through to mass digital distribution.”

In terms of the differentiation between StreamSpace and the major companies that distribute streaming video on demand content today, Binning, who attended the University of Texas, posited: “Most of these large companies are pursuing a model of working hand-in-hand with the major studios to deliver the kind of content that people would have gone out to their local Blockbuster ten or twenty years ago  -  current or last year’s movie hits and top television series.”

He added: “Amazon and Netflix have taken an extra step and are funding unique movies and series just for their own services, in order to differentiate from each other and from the studio-linked streaming content aggregators. While all of these streaming giants pay lip service to indie films, they see this as a limited audience genre, like foreign films or documentaries, so independent films account for less than 2%-5% of their limited catalogs.”

But as he pointed out there are more than 10,000 movies released every year, so there is a “huge amount of entertainment media” that they are missing.

facebook to look into these future technologies including blockchain

It’s really is a no-brainer for Facebook to look into these technologies since there is serious potential to advance the current tech status quo in meaningful ways.

In his post, Zuckerberg makes mention of international censorship and, in theory, a decentralized service could circumvent such measures — such China’s blocking of Facebook and Twitter, or Iran’s recent clamp down on Instagram and Telegram.

We know that appeals to Zuckerberg. The Facebook founder has long believed his company’s mission is to connect the world — to the point that he still makes much-mockedefforts to woo the Chinese government — and the blockchain is a technology that, if utilized correctly, could give Facebook a platform to beat censors worldwide, even in China.

For example, Steemit is a Reddit-like decentralized social network that operates on the blockchain. Beyond a more robust position against censors, the service rewards its users for good content with small amount of cryptocurrency and has penalties for spam and fake content. It’s an early effort with a small community that has struggled to gain widespread adoption, but it might give Zuckerberg some early clues.

But censorship is just one of many areas where Facebook could utilize the blockchain and a decentralized network. It has invested heavily in peer-to-peer payments — perhaps in the hope of emulating the high level of user engagement WeChat sees in China — and fintech is a hotbed for blockchain-focused technology and startups. Beyond launching its own project or buying another, Facebook could also piggyback any number of decentralized payment platforms that are currently in development and aimed at making global payments cheaper (free?) and faster.

Others less obvious areas relevant to Facebook that others are attacking with decentralized projects including transparent online advertising platforms, local discovery platforms, artificial intelligence platforms, music/video streaming platforms and more.

Zuckerberg’s past New Year’s resolutions have focused on his own challenges such as learning Mandarin, making his own AI, and visiting all American states, but this time around it could impact Facebook’s tech and products.