The combination of 3D printing, Bitcoin and the Ethereum blockchain for the first time create the possibility to sell truly individual products to consumers.
School holidays are over and youths are starting school again. So stores are packed with pens, pencil cases, rules, breadboxes. And all of these articles have a nice packaging. Images of Barney “I love you” dinosaur and My Little Pony are targeted at younger children. Harry Potter and Twilight werewolves attract teenagers.
I tend to notice the articles that are not available in store. And what is not available is: the breadbox that I want. I, like most people, have a favorite actor, a favorite artist, a favorite scene in a movie. So, I would like to see a picture of my favorite movie scene on my breadbox. And, unfortunately I cannot have this, there is only the breadboxes on the store shelf to choose from.
There are two additional shortcomings:
Advances in technology offer us building blocks to move past the limitations. To construct a solution we need to look at 3 elements:
1) Production on demand
3) Verification of Copyright
Production on demand
Many companies can print a photo on a T-shirt for you. Or print on a cap, hat, breadbox, pen, pencil case, mobile phone cover, shoes … And at low cost. Production on demand is becoming commonplace, up to the level of at home production with 3D printers.
But of course you cannot just have a screenshot from your favorite movie printed on a GSM cover. The movie is protected by Copyright. And so the solution is that the film company sells you a license to reproduce one screenshot one time. The film company can do this by selling a license document in their webshop, alongside their DVD film boxes. To counter fraud, the film company could even include an individual barcode in every license document.
The film company does not now ahead of time what your favorite scene is. This makes it difficult for them to create a license document. There is nothing stopping a consumer from buying 1 license document and using the 1 license to print 10 breadboxes. So, it is important that there is an easy way to verify the purchase and usage of licenses.
So we are aiming for a process that allows consumers to select any image and purchase a 1 time right to reproduce it for personal usage. I call the process MyRepro. In order to implement this we need a technology that can take us beyond the limitations of traditional license documents. And this new technology is BlockChain, combined with a Smart Contract platform like Ethereum.
The process looks as follows: a consumer looks for his favorite image using Google or Bing. Or just takes a screenshot off Netflix. Paste the image in a document, and include the intended usage “To reprint on the cover of my Iphone 7”.
Verification of Copyright
The BlockChain is a public ledger where every sales transaction can be registered, as well as the right to repro that follows from the transaction. By using the blockchain every transaction becomes permanent, easy for anyone to verify and impossible to alter.
Now every business could implement a BlockChain MyRepro on its own. What would be even better is a worldwide MyRepro service provider. 1 place for consumers to go and buy a personal reproduction right. Using BitCoin and Ethereum, all parties can quickly receive their respective benefits from the transaction: the consumer gets his personalized article, the film company gets paid, and MyRepro collects a small service fee.
For now, there is no global MyRepro service. Yet the potential is enormous. I was stuck in traffic travelling to Brussels today. And I noticed all cars surrounding me look alike: mainly grey and blue. Imagine a MyRepro traffic jam where you are next to a King Kong car, a Scooby Doo van, a Seinfield caravan … A colorful experience.
Think of a world with real SpongeBob Bikini pants, Kendall Jenner shoes, Kim Kardashian T-shirts, a Bill Nye the science guy briefcase, a Vin Diesel car, a Chef Tony kitchen …
This phenomenon is not limited to media companies. There are as many people as there are specific interests. Some people would love to have images of heavy construction equipment on their mobile phone cover, others a picture of a building you own, a picture of your brand or product.
MyRepro offers consumers the possibility to express their personality and individuality by adopting the style of the brands they identify with. In doing so, consumers become living billboards of these brands. Companies get to activate prospects, bind consumers, spread their image and make money in the process.