What is the Bitmark Protocol?
The Bitmark Protocol is an end-to-end Internet protocol for securing data provenance. The Bitmark Protocol restores trust in data by securing its provenance on a public blockchain so that the origin and history of information can always be easily authenticated. The Bitmark Protocol has been in production since 2018, and organizations such UC Berkeley, KKBOX, and Pfizer already entrust the Protocol with some of their most valuable data. The Protocol currently secures the provenance of more than one million data records across industries as diverse as healthcare, music, art, finance, and more.
What is data provenance?
Data provenance is an established method for securing the origins and history of data. On a local scale, data provenance is traditionally managed by a trusted, centralized authority that carefully secures the provenance of all data within a specific trust zone, such as a corporate database.
Why does the Internet need data provenance?
The single most significant problem facing the Internet today is the inability to trust information whose history is either unknown, obscured, or misrepresented. The open, decentralized nature of the Internet poses significant challenges to traditional centralized data provenance methods. These approaches, such as governmental regulatory bodies and corporate oversight boards, are unable to reliably confer provenance to data that move fluidly across jurisdictions and borders. This lack of an end-to-end protocol for securing data provenance on the Internet has made it possible for third parties to secretly insert themselves between users, resulting in many of the most urgent technological threats facing us today, from problems with digital rights management to fake news to mass surveillance. The Bitmark protocol is the missing link of the Internet.
How does the Bitmark Protocol bring data provenance to the Internet?
The Bitmark Protocol is the world’s first completely decentralized, end-to-end data provenance protocol for the Internet. This means that the provenance of any data communicated can always be trusted without the need for a centralized authority. The Bitmark Protocol accomplishes this end-to-end security secures data provenance through by recording registration and transfer on a public blockchain. Data can then be transferred peer-to-peer, creating an unforgivable provenance. By bringing secure, decentralized, end-to-end data provenance to the Internet, the Bitmark Protocol patches an increasingly serious design oversight in the original end-to-end architecture of the World Wide Web.
Why hasn’t this been done before?
Historically, the main obstacle for an end-to-end protocol for data provenance was how to secure the information without the need for a trusted third party to authenticate the validity of the provenance. A proper end-to-end protocol must be fully self-contained and independent. Its integrity cannot be compromised by any intervening parties, whether anticipated or unanticipated.
With the advent of public blockchain systems such as Bitcoin, it is now possible to securely record information without a trusted third party. The Bitmark Protocol uses this method to secure data provenance.
What does the Bitmark Protocol allow me to do?
The Bitmark Protocol allows your data to become an asset that can generate economic value. Every type of asset — whether it be land, fine art, or ideas — requires a trustworthy system for tracking the origin and history of control. Data can only become a valuable economic asset if its provenance is fully secured. The Bitmark Protocol provides a set of rules governing how data can be held, used, and exchanged. The data itself can be held locally or stored in a cloud. The Protocol provides safe, low-cost access control without requiring trusted third parties. When changes of control are needed, the underlying data can be transferred peer-to-peer, creating an unforgeable provenance. See our current projects to learn how different industries are using the Bitmark Protocol to add value to their data.
How much does it cost to use the Bitmark Protocol?
The primary advantage of end-to-end protocols and blockchains is that they can operate at a fraction of the costs required to secure the same transactions using trusted third parties. Traditionally, the bulk of the expense required to transact over the Internet comes from the teams of middlemen (usually bankers, lawyers, and accountants) required to create trust for each party to a transaction. By replacing these third parties with trusted and transparent cryptography, the Bitmark Protocol dramatically reduces transaction costs. Currently, each transaction costs just two times the price of a regular bitcoin transaction fee, and we are currently developing a “layer two” technology to radically decrease this cost even further.
How does data provenance relate to property rights?
Property rights are established economic and legal agreements of control across different trust boundaries. Within the Bitmark Protocol, data provenance and property rights complement each other through the ability to link data provenance to legal agreements to create agreements of digital ownership, copyrights, licenses, and other new forms of control.
For most of human history, property rights have been “decentralized” and “end-to-end” in the form of personal property. Today, the Bitmark Protocol is bringing personal property rights to data by providing a decentralized, end-to-end protocol for tracking data provenance.
What about GDPR, CCPA, HIPAA, and other data regulations?
The Bitmark Protocol is designed to complement rather than replace governmental regulation. As a transparent, public ledger for recording data provenance, the Protocol enhances the capacities of governments to better recognize and respond to the complexities of data provenance in a borderless, decentralized Internet.
Who makes the Bitmark Protocol?
The Bitmark Protocol is an open-source project created through a collaboration between Bitmark Inc. and Blockchain Commons. If you would like to contribute to the Protocol, please see our Contribute page.
How does Bitmark Inc. make money from the Bitmark Protocol?
Partners across various industries, such as music, health, finance, and art, use the Bitmark Protocol to provide services to their customers. Bitmark Inc. charges these partners a service fee and takes a share of their revenues.
How can I share feedback?
We welcome comments and questions about the company, the Bitmark Protocol, or any of our products. Please email firstname.lastname@example.org to share your feedback.