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Protect Digital Content with Bitcoin!!
Originally posted 24 Mar 2016 by
A blockchain start-up named Mine Labs has announced development of Media chain. This is the decentralized metadata protocol that is Bitcoin blockchain-based and relies on Inter-Planetary File System (IPFS) in order to ensure and protect the rights to the creative digital works. Mine Labs is a New York based company. Since the start of 2015, different emerging blockchain startups have started to focus on development of blockchain-based systems for identification and authentication in order to assist the freelancers, artists and providers of digital content to protect their work against plagiarism. In order to store and encrypt the digital rights on Bitcoin blockchain, many of the blockchain startups have encoded an ID in to Bitcoin blockchain by using CoinSpark or OP_RETURN to reference the data that is centrally hosted, or they have used custom built blockchain in order to directly attach the metadata to the transactions. But there are many challenges in the use of the two techniques to encode the metadata on to Bitcoin blockchain. For instance, maximum storage of data per transaction that is allowed by the built-in OP_RETURN code of Bitcoin protocol is 40 byte. Because of restricted storage, storing metadata’s long strings on to Bitcoin blockchain is difficult. Therefore using the OP_RETURN for encrypting metadata on to Bitcoin blockchain is very inefficient. It is discouraged by the core developers who think that it adds to the “blockchain bloat”. Security is main issue with 2nd technique of building custom blockchain. The newly established networks of blockchain that lack miners & hash power can be vulnerable to 51% attacks. This problem intensifies in case data and blockchain becomes large and there isn’t enough hash power for securing protected information. According to Pete Dushenski, as the shorter walls can be attacked more easily, city has seen growth at security’s expense. To bring it in to Bitcoin terms, size of city is Blockchain and height of the walls is network’s hashrate.
The larger is the Blockchain, more hashpower will be required for maintaining the same security level. Instead of relying solely on the built-in features of Bitcoin’s blockchain for storing metadata, new method to validate data without the need to secure large amounts of information on to Bitcoin blockchain has been introduced by Mine Labs. The Mine Labs’ protocol, known as Mediachain, capitalizes on limitations of the existing startups by using Inter-Planetary File System in order to store actual data, but publishing data on to Bitcoin blockchain in order to authenticate information using time stamps. It allows the providers of digital content, freelancers and artists to encrypt the rights to digital content through making pictures and other information discoverable and interoperable in decentralized hybrid system. Mine Lab’s Denis Nazarov explains that Mediachain is a collaborative federated media metadata protocol which allows the parties to make statements above the creative works. Metadata statements are signed cryptographically by contributor. They are time stamped in Bitcoin blockchain and are stored in the IPFS. Then the statements can be looked up through perceptual search by using an instance of media itself. A core technology that is behind Media chain is the Inter-Planetary File system. This is new protocol of hypermedia distribution that was developed by IPFS community & a number of contributors from open source community in order to enable creation of the completely distributed applications. IPFS’s concept is very similar to Web when it comes to providing high throughput model of block storage with cryptographic hyperlinks that are content-specific. Unique advantage of using IPFS as foundation of applications is that IPFS gives cryptographic proof to every data set that is stored in system. IPFS listed as “new hypermedia distribution protocol,” is stack incorporating many of best distributed systems ideas of last 5 years ( BitTorrent swarms, Merkle DAGs, DHTs) to deliver namespace that is global and uniformly addressable and in which anyone may participate. Mine Lab’s Arkaidy Kukarkin further explains that a new object format patterned after JSON-LD allows the company to store the richly interlinked and structured data within the system. As the data that is encoded in to IFPS system gets accompanied by unique cryptographic hash of digital content, actual links to content can’t be altered or changed. Cryptographic has of content is published by Mediachain on to Bitcoin blockchain. What this does is that shis provides irrefutable & unalterable data which can be used for verifying and authenticating the digital content.
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