The idea of using the Bitcoin blockchain to represent and track the ownership of off-chain assets is almost as old as Bitcoin itself. One of the startups that is pursuing this vision is Berlin-based Ascribe, which allows creators to register (‘ascribe’), transfer and archive digital art.

Ascribe CTO Trent McConaghy joined us for a fascinating discussion of their ambitious goals to enable a so-far elusive secondary market for digital art, help creators monetize their work and ultimately retrofit an entire ownership layer to the internet.

Topics covered included:
– Why ownership in the internet is broken
– How Ascribe wants to realize the vision of Project Xanadu of an internet with bi-directional links and baked-in copyrights
– How the SPOOL (Secure Public Online Ownership Ledger) protocol works
– The components of the Ascribe tech stack
– How Ascribe will crawl and similarity-match the entire internet to retrofit an internet of ownership
– Why Ascribe focuses first on the digital art market