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Tao Network Launches BandNameBlockchain.com!

With the recent discussions over the efficacy of a blockchain based band name registry, I thought it would be both timely and appropriate to demonstrate what that looks like for the layman. I’m proud to announce the launch of BandNameBlockchain.com and with this article I’ll explain how it works.

Isn’t This Useless?

Absolutely not! Establishing provenance for a band name in the pre-Internet era is a nightmare not worth discussing. Suffice it to say that it wasn’t uncommon to build up quite the following in your home town to discover another band just as successful as you are in another state or country with the same name.

In 1997 the grand-daddy of Internet band name registries went online, BandName.com. It’s still in operation today, although the site looks like it hasn’t been updated in quite some time. If one performs a Google search for “band name registry” there’s just not much else to see except for professional services and legal advice.

What Does a Blockchain Solve?

A properly engineered blockchain solution for band name registration provides a decentralized database that isn’t prone to someone paying the bills for a server for it to exist. When paired with a social-media derived cryptographic identity, your information outlasts even you…but more on that in a moment.

This is one of those little pains of an industry where a full blown blockchain startup isn’t required, but something easy and functional would be of real benefit.

How We Did It

We designed the Tao Network with a special transaction type called an “intelligent transaction.” These transactions can carry data payloads…or messages…in addition to providing regular settlement services. You can read more about intelligent transactions in the Tao Network technology primer. This is a unique and powerful feature of the Tao Network and not available in Bitcoin or other similar blockchain networks and what allows the registration system to function. Other solutions must shoehorn additional data stores to accomplish the same effect, but Tao Network blockchain data is completely self-contained providing an unrivaled level of data security.

Establishing Identity

When one is prompted to login, three popular social media sites are presented: Twitter, Facebook, and Spotify. It doesn’t matter which one you might choose, because what happens next is pure cryptographic magic.

Once you’ve authenticated the Taology platform, behind the scenes a cryptographic identity is created and registered on the Tao Network blockchain. Your social media information is never stored on the blockchain, so a cryptographic proof is stored in its place. This proof is then reduced to three plain English sentences that can be entered into any Taology powered platform and your information becomes available, instantly!

The means for re-generating an identity are published in the source code on GitHub, which makes for a truly decentralized identity solution!

The Search Engine

The powerful search engine we’ve developed is probably the most comprehensive band name search on the planet. Powered in part by MusicBrainz and our good friends at Musikki, the Taology search engine also scours Facebook, Twitter, Google, Deezer, iTunes, Spotify, and Bands In Town to see if that band name is already in use in the public sphere. Misspellings, intentional or otherwise, are often caught by the system further protecting a band’s hard earned brand.

If available, you may enter some basic details about your band including a description, primary genre, and country of origin. One of the features that makes Taology unique is that it constantly updates registered bands from the search engine. At first your band will have only a placeholder image however once you’ve appeared on other sites, your published image will appear automatically! You don’t ever have to worry about updating your social media or website links, either. Taology handles all of that automatically and your profile continues to grow as you do.

Every band page also includes a QR code which may be published and circulated as proof of authenticity. If you scan the QR code to the right with the appropriate app on your smartphone, you will be taken directly to the band page in the image above.

All of these little touches are great, but the real power comes from the blockchain, itself.

Blockchain: The Data Store

Each Taology registered band name is provided a special badge on their page. This badge is a clickable link to a third party website which provides the exact transaction containing the band data. This data is in plain, human readable, UTF-8 encoded English organized into a common JSON data block. Through a two-step process, anyone running the Tao Network blockchain client can view this data.

Okay, so that also happens to look like a bunch of gobbledy-gook but you can still see the important metadata, which is now linked to a cryptographic identity, which is linked to your social media account. This independently verifiable chain of evidence is the core of any solution for the music industry.

This independently verifiable chain of evidence is the core of any solution for the music industry.

I Love This Business

I love this business because I am able to provide useful tools like this absolutely free. I’m not sure I mentioned that before, but this service is comes at absolutely no cost. The network actually pays for the operational costs, so small applications such as this are able to simply be given away for free. There’s nothing a new band needs more than one more thing to pay for. I’m one of those people who thinks that what little money a band has should go into the music. The tools we can provide through blockchain technology can make up the rest.

Give a test drive. Kick the tires. This is what a consumer-facing, non-financial blockchain application looks like. I look forward to your feedback.