Blockchain and Monetization of Content 201

The Promise of Ethereum

Ethereum, the leading blockchain platform, and catalyst for a growing number of decentralized applications and blockchain-based platforms has proven over the past 12 months that it is far from a fad. This immutable, unhackable, distributed database of digital assets is everything the Internet always wanted to be: a fair and public way to store and transfer information. This is a platform for truth and it’s a platform for trust.

In the music industry, the protection of rights and distribution of earnings within the music industry is a key consideration. Removing the ability for piracy and allowing listeners to download music stored on the blockchain, paying for the music with cryptocurrency would be one of the paradigm shifts. It would also mean that the right people get paid.

This challenge of monetizing content is also prevalent in the broadcast content industry. Ethereum Blockchain with smart contracts makes for a perfect solution.

Pain Points for Content Creators

The industry has not changed in over 80 years. Today, it continues to be a largely offline and extensive process, involving multiple dis-jointed parties – the creators, the owners, the distributors, the increasing array of formats (eg. mobile, free-to-air TV, cable, OTT, cinemas, etc) and then there is a global consumer base with differing interests and language preferences.

The whole ecosystem today is highly fragmented and content creators are challenged to optimally monetize their content. Compounding the monetization challenge is the fact that content creators also face extremely high costs of distribution. Because the value chain is a cumbersome process for content to reach end viewers; typically 30% to 40% of the value of the content is being lost to cost of distribution via third-party commissions and fees. Hosting a conference booth and meeting events with champagne in the South of France at the Cannes Film Festival is no cheap affair.

To give some context on the potential value of a piece of content, let’s take well-known franchises like “Game of Thrones” or the “F1 Series”.   These projects can be sold in 193+ countries via free-to-air, cable, satellite and streaming mobile platforms, that is, it can potentially be sold 600 different ways once you factor language and territorial configurations.

An “A” list project can potentially earn millions of dollars via such a syndication, however, a lesser known title is lucky to be sold in 10 countries and monetized in 10 ways. Hence the potential to optimize the value of this content is at least 50 times more for the content creator if they can easily monetize their content across the various permutations.

The chief pain points of content sellers are:

  • Rights are tied up for the long-term (average 2-5 years) in distributor exclusivity contracts
  • Distributor fees are significant; averaging 35% of the value of the content
  • Rights are typically sold in bulk with other content which limits differentiation for content creators
  • The multiplicity of currencies and the vagaries of the fluctuating exchange rates
  • Content ages very fast and becomes less attractive to distributors to market

Such problems, which appear daunting are actually very easy to address, provided you have a global platform and a globally trusted ledger. Enter Ethereum Blockchain.   

Pain Points for Content Buyers

Content buyers purchase rights to play the content on their own networks and channels, such as Netflix and cable TV channels like Sony. The buyers also face a host of problems:

  • The content discovery process is fragmented and manual
  • Delayed verifiability of the rights
  • Limited by distributor’s rights options
  • Bundled rights instead of customized selection

As we can see, these problems can also be solved by implementing a global platform and a globally trusted ledger. Thus, Blockchain is not an add-on, but a natural solution to the problems faced by the content rights industry.

Existing Solutions

There are companies operating traditional marketplaces for trading content rights today; like RightsTrade (2011), TRX (2015) and AllRites (2015). With the advent of the blockchain, we are starting to observe the emergence of companies like Hubii Network, LiveTree, and AllRites exploring the use of blockchain to democratize content.

In the case of AllRites, the company was established by media professionals with decades of experience in the industry. Being intimate with the distribution challenges, they are proponents of blockchain and are moving their existing marketplace onto the Ethereum Blockchain.

But they are not stopping there, the AllRites vision is to create an integrated B2B and B2C ecosystem to holistically support the overall industry. Built on Blockchain technology, the AllRites ecosystem will drive trade efficiencies between content producers and buyers globally, facilitate funding of creative ideas and offer direct streaming to end-customers. Two associated B2C platforms will complement their existing marketplace – RiteFund and RiteStream. For consumers, these platforms allow individuals to directly support and benefit from creative concepts that they believe in.

With RiteFund, the platform facilitates content creators to list their projects and allows prospective contributors to help get a project of their choice off the ground, like Kickstarter, but with infinitely more transparency in rights management and benefits sharing thanks to smart contracts.

RiteStream is for content owners with unsold rights to optimally monetize their content via direct streaming to a global viewership base. The smart contracts seamlessly manage viewers, rights availability and revenue sharing in the backend. For example, an OTT player, like iFlix, may purchase rights to showcase a piece of content in only 30 countries, with RiteStream that same piece of content can potentially be monetized in the remaining 163 countries by direct streaming, if viewers are interested in that content. View RiteStream like the “Spotify” of TV, Movies and Sports content.

For esoteric sports like, Extreme Sailing – they have ardent fans globally but such a sport is very niche and unlikely to garner support from mainstream broadcasters. With RiteFund, fans of Extreme Sailing can directly support creative talent who are also passionate about their sport and who are creating great content about it. These same creative talents can now monetize their content by streaming it directly to the Extreme Sailing fans globally via RiteStream.

Blockchain Technology Deployed

The team at AllRites believe that if the content itself can be reliably audited, the management of its rights becomes a much simpler exercise. Thanks to the Ethereum Blockchain, each ID can be a smart contract that manages the identity and purchase history of the rights belonging to one piece of content at an individual level. Thus, the rights can be sliced and diced in multiple ways and the buyers can buy only those rights which they need. The smart contract tied to each content piece records the transaction history of that content piece individually in a transparent and immutable manner.

While the content rights can be viewed by all prospective buyers, the sellers can be assured of optimal monetization due to the plethora of ways in which the rights have been divided into.

The ID tied to the content can be managed by creating a non-fungible token. It could be similar to the EIP721 protocol that was famously used by CryptoKitties. Thus, the sale and purchase of content rights can be recorded on individual non fungible tokens without affecting the entire ecosystem.

A global fungible token that adheres to the ERC20 standards can take care of the sale and purchase aspects of the deal. To ensure trust, AllRites will be storing the content as decentralized encrypted files which can be unlocked only by a private key.

On successful completion of a sale, the seller sends the private key to the buyer while the buyer transfers the payment tokens to the seller. As an added layer of security, the key and the tokens corresponding to the bid made on the content rights can be placed in an escrow. Once the sale is finalized, a smart contract takes over and governs the transfer of the private key and the tokens to the new owners in an automated manner.

Regarding the case of content creators with unsold content, the RiteStream platform caters to them. Here, the platform becomes the universal global distributor of the rights that went unsold and streams it directly to the viewers in exchange for tokens. In this case, content creators get a platform like YouTube, but with an infinitely better monetization potential.

It has also been seen that content creators, despite having amazing ideas, often struggle to get their plans off the ground due to lack of funding. Consumers are robbed of potential gems. In the music world, its analogues with the likes of Justin Bieber and Carly Rae Jepsen being discovered via YouTube.

With Ethereum, smart contracts can be implemented which facilitate the transfer of funds from fans and supporters directly to the content creators in an easy and trackable manner. Once the content is created, it is uploaded onto the AllRites Marketplace where content rights can be transacted. After subtracting for platform fees, all proceeds can be seamlessly transferred back to the fans/supporters corresponding to the ratio in which they were contributed.

Conclusion

Using blockchain and smart contracts makes the business of content rights deal making and distribution a lot less complicated and instantaneously verifiable. Blockchain takes care of the globally trusted ledger needs, the smart contracts take care of transactions by automating them.

This translates to tremendous efficiency gains for both content buyers and sellers. And, for owners of content, the age-old challenge of optimally monetizing their content is solved.

The added bonus is that in this new decentralized and immutable ecosystem driven by blockchain, consumers can finally have a direct say in what content they want to support and watch.

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HubMiner Inc. Announces the Launch of World First Advance Direct Liquid Cooling Miner: Enhanced Performance and Productivity 4553

Hubminer Inc. is strongly emerging as a game-changing discovery in the rapidly evolving global cryptocurrency market. The company recently announced its arrival with four cryptocurrency mining rigs, each offering hash rates that are unheard of in the industry. The four products from Hubminer Inc. can be used for mining Bitcoin, Litecoin, Ethereum, Monero, Dash, and Zcash. The earliest customers of the company have already started to receive the first set of miner shipped out already.

Driven in part by recent speculation around Bitcoin’s third halving, the current macroeconomic environment, and as more sophisticated investors enter a maturing market, According to the data released by TokenInsight, last quarter, total derivatives market trading volume on Huobi Futures reached $438 billion, accounting for 22% of the total market trading volume. While institutional traders were major contributors to the recent growth, there was also a substantial uptick in activity from retail traders.

“The last few quarters have been particularly exciting for the crypto derivatives market, but I’m more excited that the increased activity we’re seeing today may be a catalyst for widespread crypto adoption,” said Ciara. “Rising demand for crypto derivatives from both institutional and retail user bases signifies growing acceptance of digital assets and a maturing market.”

Hubminer Inc. is constantly innovating to bring new, improved mining equipment to the market. Currently, the company’s offering consists of HubMiner’s range of mining rigs. They are multi-cryptocurrency mining platforms that support operations on Bitcoin, Litecoin, Ethereum and Dash blockchains. There are currently four different products on offer – F-X8, F-X16, F-X32 and F-X16 x2, all capable of supporting profitable operations on the blockchain of choice.

Delivery Fee and Custom Fee will be covered by HubMiner Inc., the customer only pays for the unit and receives everything needed for setup without any hidden fees. “Consumers now know our competitors are beat. They can’t reach our power, and our extremely low power costs. We have huge mining power. It’s the best investment on the market,” said Richard McDermott, Operational Director, COO, HubMiner Inc. “We have strived to give customers the first-rate possible investment in the market.”

KuCoin Doubles Down on Its Commitment to Compliance and Security with Chainalysis Partnership 4294

KuCoin, an IDG-backed crypto exchange, today announced that it has partnered with Chainalysis, the blockchain analysis company, further deepening its commitment to compliance and security and jointly promoting compliance-first business practices in the crypto industry. KuCoin will use Chainalysis KYT (Know-Your-Transaction) software to detect and prevent money laundering and illicit activity in real-time and Chainalysis Reactor to conduct further investigations into suspicious activity.

In addition to leveraging Chainalysis KYT for compliance, KuCoin has also built its own fraud monitoring system to identify early warnings of abnormal behavior to protect the security of users’ digital assets.

“We teamed up with Chainalysis to create a safe and compliant trading environment. Through KuCoin’s efforts, the crypto world will combat illegal activities, such as laundering money and financing terrorism,” KuCoin Global CEO Johnny Lyu said. “Although KuCoin has already deployed in this aspect, we hope to further strengthen our technical expansion into compliance with our cooperation with Chainalysis. Not only does it provide infrastructure to the blockchain ecosystem, but it also meets regulatory compliance requirements across different countries and regions.”

“Chainalysis is thrilled to partner with exchanges like KuCoin that prioritize compliance and the safety of its users,” said Jason Bonds, Chief Revenue Officer, Chainalysis. “Our relationship with KuCoin is also an example of our continued commitment to working with leading exchanges in the Asia Pacific region, an important hub of cryptocurrency activity.”

Founded in September 2017, KuCoin has grown into one of the most popular crypto exchanges. Now, KuCoin offers financial services including fiat-to-crypto, crypto-to-crypto, futures, staking, borrowing, token launch and more to its 5 million users across 207 countries and regions around the world.

Chainalysis serves as a strategic partner to financial institutions, governments, and cryptocurrency businesses like KuCoin around the world, providing expertise on sophisticated cryptocurrency crime and money laundering tactics, techniques, and procedures. Chainalysis KYT (Know Your Transaction) enables compliance teams to monitor large volumes of cryptocurrency activity and identify high risk transactions on a continuous basis by applying global AML standards to each transaction across all users within an organization’s user base. Chainalysis Reactor, the company’s cryptocurrency investigation software, helps identify and stop bad actors using cryptocurrencies for illicit activities such as fraud, extortion, and money laundering.

OK Group Launches OK Recruit, A Blockchain Talent Development Scheme 4419

OK Group, the world’s leading blockchain enterprise, announced the launch of the blockchain talent recruitment and training plan, called OK Recruit, which is expected to create hundreds of job opportunities in the blockchain industry, including positions on research, development and applications. OK Group will also train more than 1,000 blockchain elites within 3 years through partnerships with major universities and scientific research institutions in China.

As the COVID-19 epidemic continues to spread globally, many technology companies have been severely affected and even started to lay off employees. Given that, it’s unusual for companies to conduct such large-scale recruitment at this moment, which also implied a strong development momentum of the blockchain industry.

According to the announcement, OK Recruit consists of three parts, including recruitment, training and recommendation. In terms of talent recruitment, OK Group will offer hundreds of positions, among which, the main ones are in the blockchain research and application field, such as Blockchain Development Engineer, Senior Java Engineer (Blockchain), and Senior iOS Development Engineer. Others positions like marketing and operations are also open for applications as well.

In addition, OK Group will set up a special fund for blockchain personnel training, to encourage potential talent to join in blockchain industry. At the same time, OK Group will continue to strengthen cooperation with local universities and scientific research institutions to promote the construction of talent echelon.

As one of the earliest blockchain companies established in China, OK Group has been committed to promoting the research, development, and commercial adoption of blockchain technology, and is always standing at the forefront of talent development and training programs.

In recent years, OK Group has established a number of blockchain technology research institutions, among which, the Blockchain Business School has been promoting the spread of blockchain knowledge and talents through the development of courses and special lectures. Besides, OK Group also established a blockchain engineering institute focusing on the research and development of underlying technologies and public chains.

About OK Group
OK Group focuses on the R&D and application of blockchain technology. The company provides blockchain services and applications, including stablecoin, blockchain explorer, blockchain big data, blockchain asset custodian services, and blockchain training institutions. OK Group owns LEAP Holdings Group Limited (1499.HK), a listed company in Hong Kong.

Klaytn Partners with Chainlink 4352

Chainlink

Klaytn, the public blockchain project of Korea’s Internet giant Kakao, today announced a partnership with Chainlink, the market-leading decentralized oracle. Chainlink is a decentralized open-source oracle network that gives smart contracts secure and reliable access to data providers, web APIs, IoT devices, payment systems, etc. By integrating the Chainlink network, Klaytn’s smart contracts can connect with resources outside the blockchain, enabling the creation of applications that are connected with real-world data and systems. Such connections can be utilized across a variety of markets including decentralized finance, non-fungible tokens, and more.

“Chainlink can provide Klaytn with a secure oracle framework for building blockchain applications that interoperate with traditional infrastructure, increasing our capacity to develop more advanced products across a more diverse set of markets,” said Sangmin Seo, the Head of Platform Group at Ground X, heading the development of Klaytn.

“We look forward to providing the Klaytn ecosystem with secure and reliable oracles to enable the development of next-generation decentralized applications,” said Sergey Nazarov, the Co-Founder of Chainlink. “Klaytn can accelerate towards its goal of blockchain mass adoption with the addition of real-world connectivity made possible by Chainlink oracles.”

Klaytn is a global public blockchain platform developed by Ground X, the blockchain affiliate of the leading South Korean Internet company, Kakao. Klaytn is a service-centric blockchain platform providing an intuitive development environment and a friendly end-user experience. It is built upon solid reliability and significant stability with substantial service development for mass adoption. The platform allows real world applications of large scale to be produced right away so that our end-users can make full use of services without much expertise in blockchain or cryptocurrency.

Digital Assets: Concept and Approaches to Regulating Them 4072

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The development of the field of information technologies contributed to the emergence of digital assets. This term is defined differently therefore causing the misrepresentation of information and terminological confusion. That is why we first need to sort out the existing definitions and identify the difference.

In the wide sense, a digital asset is any electronic resource that has value, in particular, images, files, videos, accounts, etc. The term “cryptocurrency” that emerged with the development of blockchain is often used to define digital assets.

So what is a digital asset? According to the definition formed while researching the essence of the term “digital asset” in the economic and legal aspects, it is “an information resource derivative of the right to a value and circulating in the distributed ledger in the form of a unique identifier”. The concept contains the following components:

· Economic characterized by having a unique identifier in the financial field;
· Legal that characterizes an asset as “derivative of the right” in the legal field;
· Information, which is represented by an information resource of a distributed ledger;
· Value that characterizes the “value” of a digital asset in the field of tangible and intangible benefits.

It is incorrect to equate the terms “digital asset” and “cryptocurrency”. Let’s look at the unique features that differentiate digital assets from cryptocurrencies:
· Cryptocurrencies are limited in terms of supply, whereas digital assets can, in theory, be created infinitely (Buntinx, 2017);
· Cryptocurrencies are characterized by complete decentralization (Arianova T., 2018);
· Cryptocurrencies are not backed by real assets, whereas digital assets contain property rights;
· Cryptocurrencies are limited in the areas of their application, whereas digital assets are not.
· Essentially, a digital asset is a digital copy of a real asset. That is why the ownership of a digital asset is confirmed and can always be checked by the property right to it recorded in the blockchain.
· A digital asset functions based on a protocol and has the mechanisms for restoring access and guaranteeing the security of a real asset.

The main issue is the absence of clear criteria for classifying a token as a digital asset. Because of that, some states have developed special tests to determine the features of digital assets. For example, the Howey Test, Maltese Financial Instrument Test, Guidelines of the Swiss regulatory body (FINMA) for evaluating ICOs (Initial Coin Offering), the Digital Asset Test from Simcord and others.

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The Howey Test is used within the legal system of the USA and is now being applied in the field of ICOs. The test analyzes the main characteristics of a token for correspondence to the features of securities. The Howey Test defines a transaction as an investment contract if “an individual invests money in a joint venture and must wait for profit exclusively from the actions of a promoter or a third party”. Thus, if the United States Securities Commission defines an asset as a security, the profit from which depends exclusively on a third party, the token falls under regulation of the Commission as a security.

The financial regulator of Malta also developed a test that defines the features of a digital asset. First, the test determines whether an asset is a virtual one (or a utility token). Such token does not have its own value and can’t exist outside of its blockchain platform or be exchanged for other assets. If it is already circulating on an exchange, a second stage of analysis takes place ¾ determining the correspondence of the financial asset’s definition to the European legislation.

In the FINMA Guidelines, tokens are classified as a) payment tokens; b) utility tokens; c) asset tokens.

The Digital Asset Test from Simcord is the most relevant one that accounts for all aspects and allows determining the level of correspondence of a blockchain token to the features of a digital asset. The methodology of the test includes a questionnaire that tests the features of a blockchain token in accordance with specific criteria, as well as a mathematical formalization of the process.

Therefore, the ambiguity of the concept of a digital asset causes the need to develop the tools and criteria to test the correspondence of a resource to the category of a digital asset. The methodology of the Digital Asset Test allows establishing the level of correspondence of a blockchain token to the features of a digital asset in the most effective way.

A recent survey by CHILDLY finds that 66% support digital asset taxation as it becomes the norm 4277

In the midst of continuously arising questions and confusion surrounding digital assets taxation, a recent survey polled over 5,750 users worldwide by CHILDLY’s Dove Wallet has found that 66 % of all respondents were in support of it. In particular, nearly half of the respondents expressed a strong support view, considered it as an obligation & duty.

On the contrary, 20% of survey participants have dissented with their disapproval. Among those dissents, 11% of respondents expressed their strong opposition to digital asset taxation, insisting that a completely new & different framework & tax rules are needed. 9% also showed the opposing opinion with concern that taxing digital assets is premature and too early with very little or no understanding.

While taxation rules in many countries are taking shape rapidly, some of the survey results from countries such as Korea, now drawing up its tax proposal, also showed still remaining discontented feelings about digital assets taxation interestingly. According to the survey, more than 53% of users from Korea expressed a dissenting opinion.

Overall, such a high approval rating for digital asset taxation can be interpreted as a reflection of expectations for full-fledged regulation & legalization, which means a bigger digital assets market with the inflow of financial opportunities.

“Although many countries have already begun its taxation on digital assets, voices of those asking for the more judicious approach to applying tax rules should be heard at all levels,” said Euntai Kim, CEO of Childly.