in the image-sharing and socializing space hope that they can use blockchain
technology to restore innovation to this market. Here’s a look at what
blockchain-based projects are doing to bring new features and opportunities to
The Basics of Image Sharing
photo-sharing platforms are integrated into broader services, like Facebook.
Others are stand-alone websites dedicated specifically to storing and
socializing images. Wikipedia lists two-dozen active image-sharing
websites in the latter category alone.
their scope, most image-sharing platforms offer the same core set of features.
They allow users to upload photos, comment on them, share them with others and
store them in the cloud.
sites like SmugMug, most of these services typically come without fees. The
platforms make money through advertising and sometimes by collecting data about
the above adds up to a photo-sharing market that has a number of contenders,
yet little real differentiation between them. While the platforms vary somewhat
in the specifics of the software tools and interfaces that they offer, they all
do the same basic thing. And they have been doing it in the same basic way
since the mid-2000s, when sites like SmugMug and Flickr debuted. There has been
little meaningful innovation in the market since that time.
startups hope that blockchain technology can jump-start the stagnating
photo-sharing market. Their efforts center around several distinct areas of
these platforms hope to use blockchains and cryptocurrencies to enable rewards
systems for people who share photos, a feature absent from conventional
include Selfllery, which allows users to earn cryptocurrency for sharing
photos and participating on the platform in other ways. SteemPhotos, a photo-sharing service
integrated into the Steem platform, provides similar revenue-generating
opportunities for photo creators by allowing viewers to reward the producers of
photos they like. SocialX, a decentralized social media
platform that includes image sharing and socializing, also provides rewards
opportunities using cryptocurrencies.
Postalgia is using digital tokens for a
different purpose. The platform allows users to purchase physical prints of
photos that are stored on their mobile devices. Postalgia uses cryptocurrency
to enable the payments.
project also hopes to eventually use a blockchain to store digital photos
permanently, but it is unclear when that feature may be rolled out.
and Registering Images
startup, KeeeX, is already using a blockchain to store photos and metadata
related to them via its Photo Proof app. The company says its goal is
to enable users to “certify” their images by creating an immutable record of when
and where they were created and by whom.
which allows any kind of digital asset to be registered on the blockchain,
serves a similar purpose.
Kodak, the major photography company, is now using the blockchain as part of
its KodakOne platform. KodakOne allows
photographers to register images on a blockchain; then it uses web crawlers to
identify unauthorized reproductions of those photos on the internet.
now more than a half-dozen platforms that use blockchain technology to create
innovative new features for users to share or store digital photos.
Conventional image-sharing services outnumber these projects, but that may not
remain the case for long. Traditional image-sharing platforms do not have a
strong record of innovation in recent years, and projects that can use a
blockchain to introduce new features, like revenue generation for users or the
management of photo attribution rights, stand to become quite attractive to the
hundreds of millions of people who upload and share images each day.