We’ve come a long way, Mr. Edison. Since the early days of cinema, the moving image has captured the imagination of, well, everyone. In some ways, the formula hasn’t changed much, but the means of distribution have. We’ve moved from literal celluloid to digital, where films are beamed through bits and bytes into theaters.
Now? From blockbuster to Blockbuster the chain to … blockchain.
News comes this week, from the Santa Monica Daily Press, that a local theater will debut a movie that is being released and distributed via blockchain. The movie is titled “No Postage Necessary” and, as the report noted, has a bitcoin subplot.
In a way, might it be the case that bitcoin is becoming a subplot to the blockchain story? Where once the mind boggled with — and has been consumed with — cryptocurrencies, now the attention has been shifting to the rails, as it were, that underpin the movement of those currencies. Perhaps equally important, blockchain is heralded as a new way to deliver and speed the movement of all sorts of data and media.
The movie gets released more widely later in the month. Regardless of the picks or pans, the movement of the moving image through this distribution method means blockchain may be gearing up for a new plot. In the article, Kathrine Olson — co-founder of Vevue, a decentralized autonomous organization behind the film’s distribution — said that the middleman gets taken out of the equation, and distributor fees disappear.
The model is one that enthusiasts and supporters say will let creators keep more of what they earn (with that middleman absent, along with their corporate entity’s commissions) and make sure stakeholders in the process are kept honest. As the argument goes, honesty comes because there is an immutable record of how people get paid. There’s also the promise of putting pirates at bay, given the peer-to-peer (P2P) nature of data transference.
If the movement to a wholly digital platform is one that threatens to upend any number of systems and industries (government, music, logistics), that’s because everyone is playing off the same set of records. The promise may be especially valuable in media, where invoices get invoiced and royalties get paid, but record-keeping is paramount. Investors, producers and talent? All on the same page. In this case, content may be created a bit more swiftly or get to market more quickly than it might have previously. Plus, distribution can be truly global in nature, operating across models both transactional and subscription-based.
It was digital currency that has made people sit up and take notice of blockchain, or at least notice the buzz, but it may be an endeavor (here, art) that beats speculation (you know, the crypto kind). A decade since its launch, blockchain may finally be ready for its closeup.