Mediachain, a company that uses the blockchain to create a massive media database, has announced a $1.5 million venture capital seed round. Lead investors are VC companies like Andreessen Horowitz (a16z) and Union Square Ventures (USV) with other investors including Digital Currency Group, LDV Capital, Alexis Ohanian, William Mougayar, Kanyi Maqubela, David Lee, Mathieu Drouin and Brian Message.
The funding will enable the company to further the open source development of the Mediachain platform, and to build applications and services to make it accessible to everyone.
“The internet is blind,” cofounder Denis Nazarov said in a blog post. “Every day billions of images, songs, videos, and written works are shared online, but they quickly lose connection to their creator or any information about them as they are reposted. What if all data about media was completely open and decentralized, and developers could utilize the technology behind Shazam or Google Image Search to easily retrieve it? We’d know who made what, its history, or even how to pay the creator, in a completely decentralized, programmable way.”
A16z and USV have previously jointly funded OpenBazaar, a decentralized online marketplace where users can sell literally everything, giving $1 million (£690,000) to OB1, a company led by the project’s developers.
“What if the information about all media ever created was completely open, and you could instantly know everything about whatever you were viewing, watching, reading, or listening to — who made it, what it was, where it originated — regardless of how you came across it?” Mediachain summed up its longterm vision in the blog post.
Mediachain was first announced in January 2016. The company connects media to information, through the content itself. It combines a decentralized media library with content identification technology to enable collaborative registration, identification, and tracking of creative works online. In turn, developers can automate attribution, preserve history, provide creators and organizations with rich analytics about how their content is being used, and even create a channel for exchanging value directly through content, no matter where it is.
The data is maintained by participants of the network and no permission is required to contribute or access it, which makes an ideal environment for collaboration and innovation between media organizations, distribution platforms, and independent creators and developers who want to retain control over their data while broadening their reach.
There have already been 2 million photos registered to Mediachain with partners including the Museum of Modern Art (MoMA), Getty Images, the Digital Public Library of America (DPLA), and Europeana.