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Digital rights and ownership royalties on Bitcoin

Todd Price explores how we can transform society by integrating physical rights into the digital realm, thanks to Bitcoin.

Looking around at the state of the global economy today, it’s worth asking how much our fundamental relationship with debt has to do with the situation.

Depending upon which model you use to evaluate the magnitude of the debt, U.S. debt figures range from $32 to $145 trillion. Of course, the argument is used that these figures are balanced by the value added by circulating the debt throughout the economy but it’s worth asking some questions about the fundamental assumptions that underpin this model.

Is there a better way of stimulating the creation of value in the economy?

Many people talk about the properties of Bitcoin that make the units of account themselves be referred to as ‘sound money’ with its algorithmic distribution.

But are there some other properties of the Bitcoin system that enable new mechanisms for bringing forward value in the market? Using the blockchain as an append-only database, society can do so much more than simply move sound money around. 

Although one could be forgiven for thinking the term triple-entry accounting confines the innovation only to accountants, by taking a deeper look at what kind of radical potentials it unlocks, it has much wider applicability than the name implies.

Tracking digital rights and ownership royalties with triple-entry accounting

By leveraging the blockchain to track digital rights and ownership royalties, society can start to record individuals’ equity in markets rather than debt.

Digital rights refer to much more than simply the ownership of some digital media. It encompasses all manner of the rights of the individual when expressed through the digital medium. The right to privacy, the right to property, the right to freedom of expression, the right to education and the right to consumer protection.

By empowering individuals to preserve their rights in digital media, it increases the confidence of the market that it will be able to benefit from the value that it generates.

This might mean artists can keep track of when someone consumes their creative output down to the individual play of a musical track, the seconds of a video streamed, or the exclusive ownership of a piece of provably unique digital art.

This may even include preserving their prestige on an arcade games’ high score board and the value they have created for the game owner and other players in giving them something to strive towards.

Incentives can be baked into these digital rights where the leaderboard may receive a cut of all future plays in a game, where the musician gets a fraction of a cent per play of their song, and a streamer gets paid pro rata immediately for how long someone consumes their content or where the transfer of digital art deterministically allocates a portion of the sale price back to the creator.

New economic models are made possible by digital ownership on the blockchain

Even entirely new economic models pop up for more traditional markets such as real estate. Instead of going into debt to purchase a house, a group could collectively invest in the house and immediately receive a yield on that investment in the form of rent paid and distributed through a smart contract to the parties.

Rather than exposing yourself entirely to the fluctuations in one regional market, an individual may record their part ownership in several properties worldwide. This has the effect of diversifying their investment and reducing their exposure to fluctuations in the markets of one location thus preserving their equity.

True commonwealth made possible by blockchain

This could be extended even further to truly honour the vesting of authority within governmental bodies in that we the people could own the wealth common to a country and have an equal stake in the yield generated by it as the country’s economic output from its mineral wealth or primary resources.

Instead of the government putting up a tender for private corporations to build roads and then relying upon tolls to get the return on investment, the people of the region could collectively invest in the infrastructure and receive free or discounted travel while car registrations from outside the area may be invoiced at a higher rate and the proceeds deterministically split up to the parties who invested.

Transforming society by integrating physical rights into the digital realm

There are no limitations to how extensively society can be transformed by more seamlessly integrating their rights in the physical world with their rights in the digital world.

By being able to granularly track rights and attributions, while having a native substrate for financial accounting and settling for the value exchanged, perhaps we can transcend the vicious and predatory elements of debt-based markets which have plagued the world for so long.

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