ICOs and the Media Industry
become the most common form of raising funds and facilitating investment in
blockchain projects as they allow investors to fund projects using
it easy for anyone to invest in a startup, ICOs lower the barrier to investing
and solve many of the challenges associated with the world of traditional
venture funding, in which small-scale investors cannot typically participate. Blockchain startups in the media industry have, without a
doubt, benefited from ICOs. Recent examples of ICO-funded media companies
include BitClave, a blockchain-based search engine; Crazy
multiplayer game; and e-Chat, a decentralized messaging
all too easy to lose sight of the more traditional, enterprise-based investments
that are happening for blockchain-based media projects.
developments have shown that funding opportunities for blockchain companies in
the media space are not limited to ICOs. Traditional funding organizations are
also becoming involved in the space.
recent example is the announcement by Gil Beyda of Comcast
Ventures, the venture capital arm of Comcast, that the group plans on “doubling
down on blockchain” investments in 2018.
Comcast Ventures has not revealed many details about which blockchain projects
it may support, it’s a safe bet that the goal will be to fund technologies that
can help solve challenges for Comcast’s telecommunications business. It is also
clear, based on Beyda’s statements, that the group is interested in investing
in blockchain technology, not speculating on cryptocurrency.
Comcast Ventures’ blockchain investments to date is MState, an accelerator that focuses
on helping enterprises to leverage blockchain technology. IBM partnered with
Comcast in announcing support for MState.
enterprise-backed organizations are also turning to the blockchain to solve
challenges in the media ecosystem. The Open Music Initiative, a consortium whose supporters
include enterprises such as Viacom, Netflix, Sony and Time Warner, recently announced that it is studying
blockchain technology and smart contracts as a solution for automating royalty payments for owners of
digital music assets.
in the music industry, one of the biggest blockchain acquisitions of 2017 was Spotify’s purchase of
develops a blockchain-based solution for connecting applications to digital
asset ownership information. The acquisition helped Spotify to solve challenges
in managing its own library of digital audio files.
may not quite qualify as an enterprise. It is, however, an established company
with more than $2 billion in revenue and 1,600 employees. Its acquisition of
Mediachain is another example of investment in the blockchain media industry by
a company of significant size that originated outside the blockchain ecosystem.
The Future of Blockchain Media Funding
examples above suggest that traditional funding organizations and enterprises
are showing increasing interest in blockchain technology — and especially in technologies
that offer promising solutions for the media industry.
remain the chief funding mechanism for most blockchain startups, in the media
ecosystem and beyond, for now. The sums of capital invested in blockchain
companies by traditional means has so far been limited.
interest from enterprises in blockchain investment clearly exists. Blockchain
startups in the media industry might do well to think about how their
technology can help established enterprises and pursue funding accordingly.