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Open Publish

A publishing protocol for registering media as a digital asset on the Bitcoin blockchain.

Open Publish creates a similar system to the those describe by de Soto in his essay The Mystery of Capital by fixing the economic potential of assets, integrating dispersed information into one system, making people accountable, making assets fungible, networking people, and protecting transactions.

Open Publish aims to give ownership of digital media back to the individual and allow individuals to create contracts for licensing and micropayment channels using Bitcoin. Think combining Proof of Existence, OpenAssets and a royalty payment mechanism.

Like Proof of Existence, digital media is represented as a cryptographic digest but in a content-addressable format that works seamlessly with IPFS, BitTorrent and WebTorrent. This content-addressable representation is provably signed, timestamped, and recorded in perpetuity by the Bitcoin blockchain in a format compatible with both the BitTorrent Magnet URI scheme and IPFS address scheme.

The Open Publish protocol allows claiming ownership over a digital asset that can be used by other products to represent a limited and non-exclusive copyright of this document.

The Open Publish protocol allows for transfering partial ownership of these digital assets.

Any honest third-party software can read the state of ownership from the Bitcoin blockchain and create software that directs payments to the legitimate owners of the content in the form of direct tips, dividends, monthly subscriptions or various synchronization licenses modeled on existing intellectual property systems.

For example, someone could write software that displays media with a consumer Bitcoin wallet allowing for people to easily and directly tip the rights-holders.

It assumes that the wallet address that posted the Open Publish registration transaction to the Bitcoin blockchain is controlled by the owner of the registered media.

Blockai cannot control what assets are registered on the Bitcoin blockchain so it is up to individual developers or development teams to make sure they honor their local rules and regulations pertaining to copyright. For example, Blockai will not display content that is deemed to not be owned by the claimant Bitcoin address, fully adhering to any DMCA notices or other local regulations.


npm install openpublish

Browser Usage

In our examples we're going to use test-common-wallet to create our wallet.

This simple wallet and the Open Publish API adhere to the Common Wallet standard.

Bitcoin Wallet

We will assume that this wallet is owned and operated by Alice.

var aliceWallet = testCommonWallet({
  seed: 'some-random-very-long-and-super-safe-passphrase',
  network: 'testnet',
  commonBlockchain: commonBlockchain

We'll need to provide an instance of a commonBlockchain which will provide functions for signing a transaction, propagating a transaction, and looking up a transaction by txid.

In this example we're using the in memory version that is provided by mem-common-blockchain.

var commonBlockchain = require('mem-common-blockchain')({
  type: 'local'

// or we could connect to testnet

// commonBlockchain = require('blockcypher-unofficial')({
//   network: "testnet"
// })

Register Media with an Open Publish transaction posted to the Bitcoin network

Hosting and distribution of content is not the goal of Open Publish although an optional link to the content can be part of the metadata.

Files can be hosted on any existing web servers at the expense of the owner. A private service by Blockai called Bitstore is a content-addressable file hosting and distribution service that uses Bitcoin public key infrastructure for authentication and payment. All files hosted on Bitstore are seeded on both BitTorrent and WebTorrent. As it uses Bitcoin wallets for authentication no account creation is necessary which makes it very convenient for application developers.

In this example, Alice is using her wallet along with a file that she draged and dropped on to a web page.

var openpublish = require('openpublish')

var file // a browser File object returned from drop or file select form
var fileUri // a permalink to the above file

  file: file,
  uri: fileUri,
  commonWallet: aliceWallet,
  commonBlockchain: commonBlockchain
}, function(err, receipt) {
  var registerData =
  var sha1 = registerData.sha1 // the SHA-1 that represents your media file
  var blockcastTx = receipt.blockcastTx
  var txid = blockcastTx.txid // the Bitcoin transaction where the first payload of the the data is embedded
  var transactionTotal = blockcastTx.transactionTotal // the number of Bitcoin transactions in the data payload

Transfering ownership of digital assets

Open Publish allows for rights-holders to transfer partial ownership of the digital assets that represent their registered works, in a manner similar to how rights are transfered in music and book publishing.

In this example, Alice's is transfering part ownership of her digital asset to her friend Bob.

Alice started with 100,000,000 of total value in her asset when she first registered her media file.

After this transaction has been signed by both wallets and cleared by the Bitcoin network, Alice will have 70,000,000 and Bob will have 30,000,000.

Transfers are only valid for a set number of days before full ownership reverts back to Alice.

var bobWallet = testCommonWallet({
  seed: 'another-random-very-long-and-super-safe-passphrase',
  network: 'testnet',
  commonBlockchain: commonBlockchain

var sha1 = 'dc724af18fbdd4e59189f5fe768a5f8311527050'

  assetValue: 30000000, // the number of assets that Alice is transfering
  bitcoinValue: 5000000, // the number of bitcoin that Bob is transfering
  ttl: 365, // the number of days that the transfer is valid for before reverting back to Alice
  sha1: registerData.sha1,
  assetWallet: aliceWallet,
  bitcoinWallet: bobWallet,
  commonBlockchain: commonBlockchain
}, function(err, receipt) {
  var blockcastTx = receipt.blockcastTx
  var txid = blockcastTx.txid // the Bitcoin transaction where the first payload of the the data is embedded
  var transactionTotal = blockcastTx.transactionTotal // the number of Bitcoin transactions in the data payload

Alice and Bob will probably not have their wallets open at the same time and also need a way to negotiate and settle on a price before they both independently sign the transfer transactions.

Bob decides he'd like to buy another 20,000,000 of the asset from Alice for 3,000,000 satoshi.

// on Bob's computer
  assetValue: 20000000,
  bitcoinValue: 3000000,
  ttl: ttl,
  sha1: sha1,
  assetAddress: aliceWallet.address,
  bitcoinWallet: bobWallet,
  commonBlockchain: commonBlockchain
}, function (err, proposedBid) {

Alice recieves the bid and decides to accept the offer.

// on Alice's computer
var proposedBid = incomingBidOffersForAlice[0]
proposedBid.assetWallet = aliceWallet
proposedBid.commonBlockchain = commonBlockchain

openpublish.acceptBid(proposedBid, function (err, acceptedBid) {

Bob then recieves the accepted offer back, signs, and propagates the transfer.

// on Bob's computer
var acceptedBid = acceptedBidOffersForBob[0]
acceptedBid.bitcoinWallet = bobWallet
acceptedBid.commonBlockchain = commonBlockchain

openpublish.transferAcceptedBid(acceptedBid, function (err, receipt) {
  var transfer = receipt.transfer
  var blockcastTx = receipt.blockcastTx
  var txid = blockcastTx.txid // the Bitcoin transaction where the first payload of the the data is embedded
  var transactionTotal = blockcastTx.transactionTotal // the number of Bitcoin transactions in the data payload

This functionality allows for independent messaging services to create public order books for Open Publish asset transfers.

Public stream

Open Publish transactions are native Bitcoin transactions. This means they are broadcast and stored on all nodes in the Bitcoin network. Anyone can freely stream, read, and write their own Open Publish transactions in same equal-access manner as native Bitcoin transactions. Open Publish takes advantage of the unique distributed yet single-source-of-truth nature of the Bitcoin blockchain.

What this means is that neither Blockai nor any other private entity is required to register with Open Publish.

Running Your Own Open Publish State Engine

If you'd like to run your own Open Publish state engine you'll need a compatible data store and access to a Common Blockchain adapter like rpc-common-blockchain.

You can use this to independently verify the state of Open Publish registrations and transfers and to run your own Open Publish based services.

Check out the openpublish-state-engine for more info.

Tipping and Micropayments

Open Publish comes with some very basic tipping functionalities. The tip will only be valid if the destination address matches the owner of the asset as registered on the blockchain.

In this example, Alice found a really great photograph that is represented by the SHA-1 d1aef793e057364f8bd7a0344b4aa77be4aa7561. She used the operations store she built for openpublish-state-engine to find out the wallet address of the rights-holder and then sent them a tip in bitcoin.

var sha1 = 'd1aef793e057364f8bd7a0344b4aa77be4aa7561'

  sha1: sha1
}, function(err, existingRegistration) {
  var tipDestinationAddress = existingRegistration.addr
    destination: tipDestinationAddress,
    sha1: sha1,
    amount: 10000, // in satoshi
    commonWallet: aliceWallet,
    commonBlockchain: commonBlockchain
  }, function(error, tipTx) {
    var propagateResponse = tipTx.propagateResponse
    var txid = tipTx.txid


A publishing protocol for registering media as a digital asset on the Bitcoin blockchain.






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