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Blockchain: Encouraging collaboration since 2016

Blockchain enables computers globally to communicate by building information technology in a truly pioneering way. This disrupted technology is growing at an unprecedented rate and is being explored and adopted by industries far beyond the traditional use case of fintech.    

Gartner predicts that by 2022 a blockchain based business will be worth $10 billion and established as the next revolution in transaction or event recording. This highlights the potential of this distributed ledger technology and how it can really challenge the way we structure society, which has also been illustrated in Digital Catapult and Furtherfields’ recently launched “Blockchain: Change Everything Forever” video. Emerging technologies are capable of replacing existing living and working practices, refreshing the way we communicate and interact, for the better.    

Blockchain has the ability to completely overhaul the reliance on central points of authority. The way data and transactions are handled and the rules for how that data is used will be turned on its head. More unassuming industries such as art, music and publishing are also starting to realise the benefits this ledger technology can bring to them. 

The advanced, streamline and secure services which it brings can transform businesses like never before and reinvent traditional working practices to be more efficient and ultimately encourage business growth.     

Diminishing roles

The role of the ‘middle man’ is starting to diminish, and will soon be almost redundant as the ability of blockchain to validate and register transactions is realised and embraced. Too often creatives - such as artists, photographers or designers - are made to feel disvalued when it comes to ownership, as often online distribution means work is lost in transit.    

As it stands, creators are spending over 90 per cent of their time producing creations that generate zero in revenue. This underlines the importance of creatives having the ability to track their work when produced on a collaborative project. By implementing blockchain technology into transactions within the music industry allows for money and data to be exchanged in a secure and visible manner. This ensures that money is paid where money is due, by transforming the way that artists monetise their work and keep track of their content. This not only empowers artists, it ensures they realise the fundamental role they play in our ever-increasingly digital economy.    

At Digital Catapult we have worked with the UK Games Fund to create Smart Contracts that uses blockchain technology to revolutionise contracts for games development. Those working on the same game are able to use this working prototype to register and identify equity, clearly outline ownership and Intellectual Property (IP) and define business rules. All regulatory and legal requirements of making a game are taken care of without the threat of losing track of the stage in process. 

Fractionalising IP ownership 

To help drive democratised creative teamwork, this solution helps with the challenges surrounding people joining the project at different times and contributing varying skill sets to the project. This process of fractionalising IP ownership and revenue sharing means collaborators have a notarised proof of who has agreed to what.    

Whether it’s in gaming or VR, early stage developments require a certain amount of flexibility. Smart Contracts can be deployed in creative, digital industries and beyond to allow for this autonomy. The traditional route of securing legal advice on governance and regulation, and having to register a company can be too costly and complex in small, early stage developments. The simple alternative that is introduced by deploying a Smart Contract platform can ensure protection, equity definition and voting rights for all of those involved.   With complete transparency comes trust and security. Cybersecurity continues to prevail as a top priority for businesses. Companies are desperately looking for solutions to protect themselves against cyber criminals who are becoming more and more sophisticated. Blockchain can certainly help in this complex threat landscape today.   

The distributed ledger technology has proven resilient to hackers. With blockchain as its transactional core, Bitcoin has held $6 billion worth of value and not lost a single penny, or even got close to a cyber-breach. The rise in visibility enabled by blockchain, increases the chance of cyber criminals being seen and caught, which consequently deters them from breaking and entering.    

Ultimately, blockchain has the ability to encourage collaboration and innovation in the UK to ensure it continues to thrive. Not only this, but it can help secure the business security in a time when the threat landscape is becoming ever-more advanced. The sooner whole industries realise the benefits of this technology will mean not only digital innovation flourishes, but solutions for real life challenges can be developed to confirm the UK as a digital leader. 

Sam Davies, Lead Technologist, Digital Catapult
Image source: Shutterstock/violetkaipa

Sam Davies is a Lead Technologist at the Digital Catapult where he is researching the use of blockchain and smart contract technology within IoT and the Creative Industries.