Blockchain-Powered Creative Notarization Startup Ascribe Raises $2 Million

Ascribe, which describes its solution as a "notary and timestamp for intellectual property and creative works," has raised $2 million.

Another startup looking to find innovative applications for blockchain technology has secured investment. Ascribe, which describes its solution as a “notary and timestamp for intellectual property and creative works,” has raised $2 million in seed funding.

The investment was made by Earlybird Venture Capital, Freelands Ventures, Digital Currency Group, and various angels, according to a report by TechCrunch.

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The solution lets artists and writers certify work as their own when publishing to the web, using the blockchain to generate an indelible record and timestamp of the work’s existence. It can then be sold, licensed or lent out while preserving the integrity of the owner’s rights.

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The startup’s three founders have backgrounds in finance, technology and curation. Bruce Pon, Ascribe’s CEO, described how the blockchain can protect rights to digital art:

“We are working on securing copyright, giving creators a means to easily license and transfer their work and we’re swallowing the Internet to give creators visibility on what happens to their work. The idea to use blockchain to allow artists to create digital scarcity germinated in mid-2013 when Trent and Masha asked ‘Can you own digital art, like you own bitcoin?’ Trent built a prototype in fall-2013. In mid-2014, we decided to leave our companies to start Ascribe full-time. Since then, we’ve been refining the technology and working with early users.”

One notable feature is the web crawler, which scans the web for copies of your images and can notify you where they appear. Pon explained:

“We’ve set our development team to build the tools to crawl and index all digital artifacts on the internet and then perform a similarity search using web-scale machine learning. This means that within a reasonable amount of accuracy, we can tell you where your stuff has ended up.”

In its FAQs, Ascribe says its solution can also work for physical objects, such as physical art.

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