We are beginning to experiment with two book projects that leverage blockchain technology to track users’ ownership of ebooks. We were attracted to the blockchain because it appears to address issues fundamental to the publishing industry — such as, for example, what it means to “own” a digital object like an ebook — while also moving us in the direction of a recorded marketplace of ideas and creativity that includes, but is by no means limited to, books. Bill Rosenblatt’s recent Forbes article offers insight into both the technology and the approach that two blockchain publishing platform start-ups are taking. One company has issued its own cryptocurrency and built its own ebook browser to enable authors to publish directly to the blockchain community; the second company offers a browser-based solution and accepts “fiat” currency (i.e., Euro, Canadian Dollar, USD, etc.) as opposed to cryptocurrency. We are excited to learn more and better understand what this new technology means for publishing — watch this space as the story unfolds.
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