Mediachain: Decentralized Media Library Sharing Blockchain?
Mediachain is a platform that uses a blockchain to record both data and metadata that can be used to manage content and protect its ownership. It uses a client-server model which can be accessed through a command line application; users can query servers for new content, or publish their own work to them.
The system can be used by developers as a convenient back-end, allowing them to build more user-friendly apps to distribute content, and its developers point out that it fits naturally as part of a development stack with Ethereum and IPFS. However, it is yet to gain widespread adoption despite its demonstrable power.
Mediachain's website never identifies any of the project's founders or developers, but some can be team members can be found through the group's GitHub page and blogs. The most involved member of the project – and the only one identified using his real name – seems to be Arkadiy Kukarkin, and a user named Vyzo has the most contributions to the project's GitHub repository.
Interestingly, Vyzo is also a prominent contributor to the repository for Gambit, a popular implementation of the Scheme programming language, which demonstrates significant programming prowess.
Kukarkin has published many of the company's blog posts, but the most frequent contributor to that webpage is named Denis Nazarov. The group's GitHub repository notes that it is based in Brooklyn, New York, but offers no further details.
Mediachain has been covered by several significant publications, including Forbes, Newsweek, TechCrunch, and CoinDesk. It has also gained a decent following on social media, with over 2,000 followers on Twitter and several hundred subscribed to its Medium blog.
Mediachain's primary product is a client-server application for publishing content with a metadata fingerprint to a blockchain. Users with the client software will be able to query servers for new content, and those running the server application can host their copy of the blockchain for the community.
The platform's developers suggest that it is intended as a lightweight back-end for more accessible applications, perhaps used it in tandem with Ethereum, IPFS, or other decentralized services. However, the company doesn't point out any applications that have made use of its platform.
Among Mediachain's most significant innovations is its Attribution Engine, which uses a neural network to identify images or other content and attribute proper credit to their original publisher. It provides few details about this system, but it seems that it will be able to scan any input to see if it matches anything published in the service's blockchain.
Mediachain's website includes no roadmap describing its history or future plans, and while it has a thorough documentation page, it has not published a whitepaper. Dates on the group's blogs and GitHub contributions indicate that the project has been underway for nearly two years, but has only begun to gain significant momentum towards the end of 2017.
Some of the articles about the company, linked to on the bottom of their website, indicate that the developers gained over $1 million in funding in the summer of 2016, but they don't indicate a clear business model for their product that can offer these investors any returns.
Mediachain's software is completed and available on GitHub. Using the software currently requires users to compile it themselves, and it is not yet fully supported on Windows systems. It's not clear how much content is currently available on the platform's blockchain, but it doesn't appear to be widely used. The software is published with an MIT license, meaning programmers are allowed to use the code even for proprietary software.
Mediachain has developed a strong back-end platform, but it seems that it hasn't yet been used to create any interesting end-user products.
Mediachain's developers have demonstrated its strong capabilities; the platform is useful for not only entertainment, but also for sharing cultural information from museums and managing digital rights to images or other content. However, this command line application will likely continue to have very limited appeal until developers use it to create something compelling.