In the buzzing world of altcoins, blockchains, and crypto-startups, if you aren't decentralized these days, you're probably still considered a bit of a dinosaur. But in the world of electronic publishing, legacy opinion remains, that media should be submitted to a central authority, subjected to editorial policies and stored on servers in ever larger data-centres.
Not for much longer. Step forward a new breed of platform, aiming to bring the benefits of decentralization and blockchain technologies to the media publishing industry.
In Decentralized Space, Nobody Can Stop You from Screaming
In a fully decentralized platform, media is shared directly between users and stored in multiple locations. The stability afforded by not being dependent on a central server (with no single point of failure), means data cannot easily fall prey to hacking, manipulation or data loss, so access to the information will not be disrupted.
With no editorial authority, creators are free to post anything they like without fear of restriction or influence by third parties. And because data is not centrally held, it is generally considered impossible for governments or anyone else to censor or remove any posts.
Of course, freedom of speech is one of the big advantages touted by the players in this nascent field. Players like P2P microblogging platform, Twister, and independent web 3.0 publishing platform, DECENT
As Twister states:
“Because twister is completely decentralized no one can censor you. No one can remove your posts. Your account cannot be blocked.”
And from DECENT:
“Our aim is to eliminate all political and geographical barriers in the publishing segment, so people around the world will have the same opportunity to express themselves freely.”
Anonymous is Synonymous
Going hand in hand with blockchain and decentralisation technologies are encryption and anonymity. Again, key features of both DECENT, Twister, and another microblogging platform, trsst.
trsst claims it:
“Looks and feels like twitter but encrypted and anonymized and decentralized and only you hold the keys.”
Content is encrypted, ensuring that, where relevant, only authorised users can get access to it. And the identities of creators and viewers are protected, meaning those wishing to remain anonymous are able to.
“Anonymity was on top of our mind when creating the project,” the DECENT team explains. “The authors and their audience are identified only by their unique ID and protected by advanced cryptography. Unless they wish to, users cannot be associated with any given content.”
They Show Nothing but Text and Violence
Actually, that's where you're wrong. Whilst Matej Michalko, founder of DECENT told Cointelegraph:
“The most published type of content (surely from the beginning) is expected to be text format.”
However, the platform actually allows for any text, picture, video or music content. A trait it shares with BlockTech's Alexandria Library Project, and non-blockchain based server software, MediaGoblin, which add support for 3D printable models into the fray.
The simple benefit of being able to find all types of media in one place, coupled with the advantages of decentralization, are a pair of huge steps in the right direction... but we're chiefly interested in the future of money here at Cointelegraph, and MediaGoblin shows no inclination to implement a system by which content creators can be rewarded.
Show Me the Money
Not so for Alexandria and DECENT. Both are based on blockchain technology, and both are designed from the ground up to have a payments layer, so that content creators can profit from their publications.
Through a combination of setting pricing and suggesting tips, authors are in full control of the value of their content and receive 100% of the royalties due. From DECENT:
“The micropayment system is combined with strong encryption of the content and several advanced cryptographic technologies. It is designed to ensure the authors get paid for all of the viewed content (and) consumers are only charged when they get access to the content they paid for.”
It should be noted that the majority of these platforms are currently still in the development stages, but from the current state of play, it seems that for content creators, future publishing and monetisation possibilities for their product looks very rosy indeed.