Wemark Announced the First Stock Photography Marketplace Built on Blockchain

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by Sofiko Abeslamidze · 3 min read

Being backed by the biggest players in the image industry, Wemark allows photographers to connect directly with buyers, regaining control, transparency and revenue from distributors and agencies.

The digital media industry indeed is flourishing since rapidly developed technologies have made digital content available to large audiences. Nowadays everyone who has the Internet access can easily share, modify and redistribute the content provided by creators.

At the first glance, it seems to be a perfect world wherein digitally stored media data can be used to facilitate the discovery and creation of new information in every field of human knowledge. However, alongside the obvious benefits, a recently established digital marketplace has raised several issues that digital content creators have to face.

Once to make a living photographers only needed to shoot stock imagery and then license it directly for social media or company websites representing a final consumer. Nevertheless, towering growth of the industry has contributed to the emerging of stock photography agencies that collect hundreds of millions of images and eventually resell it for commercials. Therefore, because of such an intermediary, it is becoming increasingly difficult for photographers to generate substantial income from their work.

Yet there is another huge challenge for artists and creators. As large distribution agencies have monopolized content distribution, reaching customers and getting fair compensation for the work done are growing obstacles. Stock photography is one of the most centrally controlled industries with major agencies as Shutterstock and Getty Images taking up to 85% of the revenue generated by creators.

Having in mind transparency and control problems burdening the providers of digital content, Wemark designed a curated stock photography marketplace of over 1M images powered by a blockchain-based licensing protocol. The team at the helm of Wemark project believes blockchain technology can help creators to regain control and full transparency, thus digital content licensing is a perfect use-case for smart contracts that facilitate payments and bypass middlemen.

Wemark’s licensing protocol accepts payments directly from customers, registers a license and automatically distributes the funds to the photographer. This removes third party involvement in licensing and payments, creates a new standard of transparency for creators, and helps them keep the vast majority of the revenue.

Some of the most successful names in stock photography, including Monkey Business, Caia Image and CAVAN have shared the vision of the Wemark’s blockchain-based digital marketplace and collaborated with the company. Reportedly, they are going to make their collections available through Wemark’s new licensing protocol in the near future.

Notably these collections, which top the sales rankings of agencies like Shutterstock and Getty Images today, are some of the most well-known and widely used sources of premium images among top publishers, advertising agencies and big brands alike.

Aside of the impressive list of Wemark’s partners, the projects is backed by an equally inspiring line of advisors with a strong understanding of the digital content space such as  founder of Picasa, Lars Perkins, co-founder of Forbes.co, Miguel Forbes and former Shutterstock executives Keren Sachs,

Speaking on the Wemark’s perspectives, Keren Sachs defined the launch of the first curated stock photography marketplace as a tremendous milestone for the project, saying:

“The world’s leading content providers have entrusted us with their photos before we have even licensed an image. They believe in what we are building and the future of the content licensing on the blockchain. We are honored and invigorated by the support from the creative community.”

Wemark is a Tel Aviv-based project that was founded back in 2015. From that time, the company has raised over $1M from Palo Alto’s NFX fund, Elevator Fund, Sarona ventures and private investors.

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Sofiko Abeslamidze

Sofiko is a freelance fintech copywriter at Coinspeaker. With a Bachelor degree in International Business and Economics, Sofiko has been deepening her knowledge of an agile innovative industry primary focusing on the robust blockchain technology and cryptocurrencies. As a bank employee, Sofiko particularly keens on crypto and blockchain integration into the established banking systems.