Taology: Using Math to Establish Creative Authenticity
My previous article was a technical demonstration of how a blockchain may be used to establish the provenance of a creative work. This time I am going to deconstruct the intimidating buzzwords in plain, simple English and explain how it all binds together to provide the industry and fans a means for verifying the authenticity of any given piece of content.
What is a blockchain?
Very simply, a blockchain is a way to store data in a specific manner where nobody needs to trust anyone else, with the interesting side effect that the information becomes tradable like a token (“tokenized”). That’s it. That’s what all the fuss is about, so now I’ll explain why there’s a fuss.
A blockchain is a way to store data in a specific manner in which nobody needs to trust anyone else to tell the truth, with the side effect that the information becomes tradable like a token.
What is a smart contract?
A smart contract is, unfortunately, complex enough of a topic that it takes a bit more to explain compared to a blockchain.
When astronomers Carl Sagan and Frank Drake wished to communicate with species from another planet, they placed a message written in the language of mathematics on the Voyager space craft. The message was mathematical because “1 + 1 = 2” is a true statement anywhere in the universe, which is why math is called a “universal language.” A blockchain gains its trustworthiness through this universal nature of mathematics: as the mathematics may be understood by anyone, the operation of the software becomes trustworthy by everyone.
…as the mathematics may be understood by anyone, the operation of the software becomes trustworthy by everyone.
In exactly the same way that a player piano roll forms a set of instructions to play a tune, a blockchain allows for the “playback” of data from the moment it was launched. With proper governance, that record becomes permanently fixed and unalterable. In such a network each new piece of data added to a blockchain is mathematically linked to every single piece of data that came before, therefore the older a piece of data is the more trustworthy it becomes.
While the Wikipedia definition of a smart contract is laughably vague, in the perspective of what we’ve already discussed we may now say that a “smart contract” is a way of describing the effects of the mathematics of the operation of a blockchain. In the same way sheet music ties various arrangements of that music together, the mathematics involved in a blockchain determine what data is being revealed in a smart contract.
In the same way sheet music ties various arrangements of that music together, the mathematics involved in a blockchain determine what data is being revealed in a smart contract.
Authenticity Established by Mathematical Harmony
When the cryptography is properly applied, what is otherwise an unintelligible stream of data is only unlocked by application of your unique identity and relationships between seemingly unrelated points of data are revealed. If your cryptographic identity is linked with your real identity (as through Know Your Customer technology from the fintech space), the blockchain then becomes a legally enforceable set of smart contracts in relation to the content one claims.
If your cryptographic identity is linked with your real identity, the blockchain then becomes a legally enforceable set of smart contracts in relation to the content one claims.
Development Strategy By Beethoven
Beethoven once said, “Do not simply practice your art, but force your way into its secrets.” It is no coincidence that blockchain technology and music share many concepts in common as they are both explained through mathematics. Recognition of these similarities has allowed us to design and build a system which doesn’t exploit artists and creators, but instead exploits the natural harmonies which exist between music and applied blockchain technology to protect the artist and creator in ways never before possible. In my next articles I’ll describe how these harmonies may be used to create a wide range of content licenses which seamlessly integrate into existing DRM platforms, while allowing for future development of entirely new DRM schemes.