What is a transaction?
This is the only operation that can be performed on the blockchain. It allows a movement to be recorded in the general ledger. This movement can be the transfer of assets from one owner to another, the creation of assets, or the "burning" of assets, to name the most typical cases. The transaction essentially contains the following data:
– Sender (encrypted public key)
– Beneficiary (encrypted public key)
– Asset (currency or token)
– Date / time
– Additional information (metadata)
In theory, every transaction recorded on a public blockchain will be available for eternity. As long as a node exists on the network, it is alive and its ledger is searchable by anyone.
The most fundamental use of a transaction is to move an asset, but because additional information can be attached to a transaction, it can be seen as a way to store immutable information with a record of the date and time it was stored. In other words, a transaction can be used on paper to leave some message on a wall (blockchain) to even say "Farid was here".
What does this have to do with intellectual property?
Immutability, timestamping, recordable metadata, and the property of belonging to only one object at a time in an infallible manner make transactions an ideal way to store patents, trademarks, and copyrights. If we look at it from the simplest point of view, we can use a blockchain transaction to write a poem, and then if someone else claims authorship, we will have irrefutable proof that we claimed it first.
In fact, Li₿εʁLiøη has already done this and registered the first poem on the Cardano blockchain:
In fact, the US state of Vermont has a law that allows blockchain transactions to be admitted as evidence in any legal process, recognizing the authenticity and credibility of the transaction as a legal document.
Transactions such as intellectual property certificates
Photo by Jen Theodore
With proper standardization and legal governance, blockchain can be used to register intellectual property of inventions and works with national and international jurisdiction, allowing authors to own their creations and state-issued licenses publicly and transparently, searchable and verified by any authority or individual anywhere in the world, non-alienable and transferable only under conditions agreed upon by the issuing authority and the author.
In an article by the International Society for Automation, they mention five use cases of blockchain in intellectual property:
- Smart contracts to manage the storage, purchase and sale of patents.
- As proof of authorship registration documentation.
- Marketplace for buying / selling licenses.
- Unification in a global patent system.
- Version control and digital asset management.
The world of intellectual property definitely has a lot to explore in blockchain technology in search of more effective ways to protect the copyright of inventions and works, transfer control and ownership to creators, while also enabling the creation of alternative licenses to conventional, obsolete and restrictive "copyright".