Blockchain is the foundation of a New Era of the Internet —
“Publishing is at the epicenter of digital disruption.” Paul Michelman, MIT & MIT Sloan.
Why is blockchain important for commerce and business (and, lest we forget, publishing is business)?
It is a persistent, transparent, and its end goal is to cut down on middlemen, which is considered to be the new age of economics – Cryptoeconomics.
“Cryptoeconomics” is the practical science of building distributed systems, where properties of those systems are secured by financial incentives, and where the economic mechanisms are guaranteed by cryptography. It is the general term for the practice of designing and scaling blockchains like Ethereum and Bitcoin.
Bookchain by Scenarex utilizes Ethereum for its digital bookselling platform. We will circle back around to Bookchain and Ethereum. But first, join me as I explore blockchain to try to understand this technology that is shaping the publishing industry.
Blockchain is a type of internet network that runs on hundreds of thousands of computers worldwide. There are dozens of blockchain internet network platforms running 24/7 globally. And, yes, blockchain was invented to support bitcoin transactions. However, it is now being utilized for recording many different types of information.
As for real-world applications, here is one that validates blockchain technology commercial use:
Deloitte (a “Big Four” accounting organization) recently surveyed 1,000 companies across seven countries about integrating blockchain into their business operations. Their survey found that 34% already had a blockchain system in production today, while another 41% expected to deploy a blockchain application within the next 12 months. In addition, nearly 40% of the surveyed companies reported they would invest $5 million or more in blockchain in the coming year. – Investopedia
Blockchain is a digital ledger on all platforms. Blockchain apps act as a third party and allow us to trade one-on-one but on a global scale.
Arizona’s Electronic Transactions Act 2017
“‘Blockchain technology means distributed ledger technology that uses a distributed, decentralized, shared and replicated ledger, which may be public or private, permissioned or permissionless, or driven by tokenized crypto economics or tokenless. The data on the ledger is protected with cryptography, is immutable and auditable and provides an uncensored truth.”
It is decentralized. It isn’t controlled by any government or company.
As we prepare to head into the third decade of blockchain, it’s no longer a question of “if” legacy companies will catch on to the technology — it’s a question of “when.” – Investopedia
[ Editor’s Note: In 2020, just a half a year away, Facebook is planning on launching its own cryptocurrency, Libra, on its own blockchain platform called Calibra. Whether are not that platform will be decentralized is a concern—a major concern. Google is also planning on launching BigQuery – with its own cryptocurrency. ]
Reread: It is decentralized. It isn’t controlled by any government or company that is until Facebook and Google have their own platforms…Amazon can’t be far behind…
Are you with me so far…?
Blockchain = a block of digital information that is stored in a public database known as the chain.
Each digital record is a “block.” Changes can only be made to the “block” by adding new information to the end that references previous transactions on that particular block. Each change is called a “hash.” Each block of information is added by a chain.
A “hash” is a unique fingerprint for each bit of added information to the chain of information (blocks)
WHY, again, am I reading this article?
The goal of blockchain is to allow digital information to be recorded and distributed, but not edited (or hacked or pirated). This is what makes blockchain a natural for ebook distribution.
For our purposes, we are going to discuss Ethereum, the world’s leading programmable blockchain app.
Now to circle back around to Bookchain by Scenarex and Ethereum. Bookchain uses Ethererum for its digital bookselling platform.
COOL TIP > check out Eretheum just to see this new type of artwork called NFT (non-fungible token –NFTs also find potential use in digital art, by helping prove authenticity and ownership.) I don’t quite understand what it is, but the graphic is fun to watch as it morphs on the Ethereum.org site. Blockchain has given rise to this new form of graphics and art. And allows the creators to benefit from their works.
The Ethereum community is the largest and most active blockchain community in the world. It includes core protocol developers, cryptoeconomic researchers, cypherpunks, mining organizations, ETH holders, app developers, ordinary users, anarchists, fortune 500 companies, and individuals.
There is no company or centralized organization that controls Ethereum. Ethereum is maintained and improved over time by a diverse global community of contributors who work on everything from the core protocol to consumer applications. This website, just like the rest of Ethereum, was built – and continues to be built – by a collection of people working together.
Now, we can say that Ethereum is decentralized. It isn’t controlled by any government or company.
Ethereum is a foundation for a new era of the internet that utilizes blockchain technologies:
- An internet where money and payments are built in.
- An internet where users can own their data, and your apps don’t spy and steal from you.
- An internet where everyone has access to an open financial system.
- An internet built on neutral, open-access infrastructure, controlled by no company or person.
Are you still with me…?
“…attacks are further thwarted because the cost of changing the contents of old blocks is compounded by each new block that gets added to the chain. When a new block is made, it contains the hash of the one before it. Any changes in old blocks will result in invalid hashes for all subsequent blocks. In that lock analogy, it’s as though the design for the lock at the end of the chain depends on all the locks that came before it. So changing one lock in the middle of the blockchain means having to find new keys for every lock after it.” IEEE SPECTRUM
“Ensuring irreversibility becomes necessary only when you invite anyone and everyone to take part in the curation of a ledger.” This is why blockchain technology platforms run on tens of thousands of nodes and computers. The information is decentralized, thereby making it almost impossible to steal, alter, or lose.
Why authors and publishers should care about blockchain
Any information (this includes books, novellas, short stories, graphics, photos, transactions…) that can be digitized can be recorded using blockchain technology. This digitized record can be referenced through a ledger entry on the intended blockchain platform which decentralizes it over its thousands of network nodes. Any time the blockchain is accessed it is timestamped with another block of digitized information.
As an author, the blockchain provides a way for you to securely publish your book and keep control of your digital rights. It allows your published book to be treated more like a physical book, allowing your readers to own the digital book forever (as opposed to being allowed to checkout via Kindle).
How do I get my book published on a blockchain platform?
There are a couple of different companies out there that provide the front end support to get your book published on the blockchain.
Bookchain utilizes the Eretheum blockchain to create a brand-new platform bringing a refreshingly flexible way to publish and distribute ebooks, based on blockchain technology. Through smart contracts, the platform enables the configuration of the security, traceability, attribution, and distribution settings of an ebook.
The first four things to know and understand about the Bookchain platform are:
- You do NOT need cryptocurrency (aka Bitcoin, etc.) to sign up
- You will NOT be paid in cryptocurrency (unless you want to)
- It is endorsed and underwritten by the Canada Media Fund, NRC, and the Canada Ministry of Economie.
- It is secure!
Why are we so into Bookchain?
We became interested in Bookchain when one of OZMA Grand Prize winners, Susan Faw, informed us that she is now publishing on Bookchain because her books were pirated! Yes, pirated!
Read about how and what happened to her and her published works here (from her blog posts on Chanticleer Reviews):
Piracy —Not Just on the High Seas https://www.chantireviews.com/2019/06/14/piracy-not-just-on-the-high-seas-by-award-winning-author-susan-faw/
CRYPTOCURRENCY – Protecting Your Coin from Pirates https://www.chantireviews.com/2019/06/29/cryptocurrency-protecting-your-coin-from-pirates-by-award-winning-author-susan-faw-cryptocurrency-book-sales-book-marketing/
Join us on the High SEAS to the New Territories of DIGITAL BOOK PUBLISHING
What are your experiences? What are your thoughts?
Do let us know!
Links to Resources Used and Quoted in this Article:
I have listed a few of the Youtube videos that I watched while trying to understand this new technology. They discuss what makes blockchain hard to hack and the concept of “consensus” that allows blockchain to exist. Stay tuned as we ride the waves of blockchain!
Blockchain Simply Explained: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SSo_EIwHSd4
Blockchain for Dummies by Edureka: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=daQZt_klZhA
IEEE SPECTRUMmagazine – by Morgen E. Peck
Blockchains: How they work and why they will change the world https://spectrum.ieee.org/computing/networks/blockchains-how-they-work-and-why-theyll-change-the-world
How Blockchains Work https://spectrum.ieee.org/computing/networks/how-blockchains-work
What’s in a Blockchain? With New Tools, Anyone Can Find Out https://spectrum.ieee.org/tech-talk/computing/networks/whats-in-a-blockchain-with-these-new-tools-anyone-can-find-out
And our own, Argus Brown, CTO & COO of Chanticleer Reviews & Media.