Bitcoin Blockchain Being Eyed by Patent Application for Artwork Provenance

A recently released publication is looking to utilize the blockchain infrastructure in establishing and maintaining artwork chain of ownership. The USPTO (Us Patent and Trademark Office) published the patent application on Thursday, and in it listed Howard H. Sheerin as its inventor.

Who Is Howard H. Sheerin?

Howard is based in Scottsdale, AZ where he works as a patent attorney. The information currently available on his LinkedIn page indicates that he currently works in Silicon Valley, California. This is where he has been taking studies pertaining to the cryptocurrency industry, while at the same time making his contribution to the cryptocurrency revolution.

His contributions include drafting a number of Blockchain/Bitcoin patent application documents. The payment information provided on his personal website indicates that the attorney also accepts bitcoin as a payment method.

Patent Application Details

In his patent application, Mr. Sheerin points out that authenticity certificates are vital as they enable sellers to get the complete worth of their artwork when taking part in sales, and auctions. On the other hand, paper certificates are insufficient provenance guarantors.

He goes on to say that paper certificates have in the past been issued by artists for the artwork that they have created. This was being done with the aim of increasing the value of each art piece as it gets transferred from one buyer to another.

When the second party wants to purchase a particular piece of art, the initial buyer can present this authentication certificate, together with the piece of art as a way of proving that they own the piece, as well as establishing legal ownership. However, there is a downside to the use of paper certificates.

This is because it is very easy for one to forge paper certificates. It is a fact that contributes to a decline in the efficiency of this system, as well as the actual value of the art piece. As such, there is a need to ensure that a better system is introduced. And this has to be a system that cannot easily be bypassed.

Purpose Of The Patent Application

By applying for this patent, Sheerin hopes that the new system will make it easier for artists to establish ownership of art pieces. It should also make it possible for the ownership rights to be transferred via Bitcoin or any other cryptocurrency to a third party.

However, using blockchain to try and establish the chain-of-ownership is not devoid of difficulties. This is because the entire process will be dependent on the element of trust. A lot of trust has to be placed on the original owners of the art pieces for this system to be effective.

The system being proposed by Sheerin is proposing a scenario where ownership gets established through the use of a particular bitcoin address, but the actual data gets maintained in a COO website (chain-of-ownership).

As a result, as much as it seems like this system will ease the manner in which artists are able to transfer the rights to ownership of art pieces, the system will still require the parties involved in the transaction to trust the entity that maintains the database in charge of verifying all data.

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