Darkblock provides a decentralized application that lets creators sell (and manage) digital content directly to consumers without the need for any intermediate, proprietary or bureaucratic services.
Their splash page touts content access controls for the decentralized creator economy.
From a tactical perspective, Darkblock allows the creators of Non Fungible Tokens (NFT) to attach private, one-of-a-kind, unlockable content to an NFT even if they no longer have possession of that NFT.
I find this technology fascinating, since it drives a few interesting use-cases.
- Digital Drop
- A rapper sells a collection of NFTs and then, on a given release date, attaches a FLAC of a new song to that NFT. All the owners of that NFT will now have the song.
- Decentralized Kickstarter
- A movie producer offers a limited amount of NFT to fans. She creates a contract that states that once all the NFT sell out, she will begin to produce the film and then release it digitally to all of the NFT owners upon completion.
- Digital Scratch off tickets
- Users buy an NFT and a script randomly populates each NFT with a seed phrase to another digital wallet. The NFT owner uses that seed phrase to see if he won any valuable NFT or crypto currency. Or the unlocked content provides Geo-coordinates that lead to a pair of popular sneakers.
- Replacement of Current Streaming Services
- Darkblock replaces all the functions of current streaming services.
I will quickly dive into scenario four to illustrate the benefits of Darkblock.
Consider the current state of creative content delivery.
A creator develops (or licenses) content to a streaming service (HBO Max, HULU, Prime Video, Netflix, YouTube Red).
Users subscribe to the streaming service through either an external identity provider (Apple ID, Facebook, Google) or the streaming content providers' proprietary identity service (username and password database).
The user enters payment information in the form of a credit card account (American Express, Chase, Barclays), and the financial institution brokers the payment to the streaming content provider.
The streaming service then provides the access management, or Digital Rights Management (DRM) of the creator's content and gatekeeps which videos the user can view and at what times.
An external cloud platform will provide the hardware, network and caching resources to store and move the video around the Internet.
Each one of these services: Identity, Payment, Content Delivery, Rights Management and Hardware Resources introduce a new organization into the streaming ecosystem. Each organization will (1) take a cut of creator profits and (2) censor any content that imposes on their ideologies.
Contrast the current streaming ecosystem (above) to the Darkblock ecosystem:
In the Web 3.0, the blockchain (and related DAPPS) provides identity, payment, infrastructure and digital rights management services.
Darkblock writes the following on their website:
Darkblock is a control panel for decentralized content. Contrary to DRM, creators choose how each NFT is distributed, shown, sold, rented, hidden, destroyed, or unlocked. Users can determine sliced ownership, royalty structures, and inherent properties, all while making sure their creations won’t be copied, distributed, or used outside of their intended purpose.
Darkblock will be the decentralized ground layer protocol enabling autonomy in the NFT space.
We call this protocol layer PeRM: Personal Rights Management. We feel that everyone should have control of their own creations and content without the possibility of interference as a matter of principle.
Create A Darkblock
You must be a creator of an NFT to create a Darkblock.
You do not, however, need to own the NFT to create a Darkblock.
NFT I Created (But Do Not Own)
To demonstrate, I will log into my Hello World Rarible account.
Find these two NFT under the created tab.
Ultra Magnus no longer owns the Partu Media NFT, since I transferred it to my official John Sobanski account.
The Darkblock App
Navigate to app.darkblock.io.
Click Connect Wallet to connect with MetaMask.
If you do not know how to use MetaMask, I wrote a blog post on how to create and configure a MetaMask wallet to use Decentralized Applications (dApps).
The Darkblock App provides tabs to list the NFT you own and the NFT you created.
In the last section, we saw that Ultra Magnus does not own any NFT.
Darkblock tells us that Ultra Magnus does not own any NFT.
The Darkblock App, however, shows that Ultra Magnus Created two NFT, via the Created By Me tab.
Since I (Ultra Magnus) created the NFT, I can create a Darkblock.
I upload content in the form of a High-Res picture into the Darkblock App, and then click Create Darkblock.
I then sign the request.
If I click back to the Ultra Magnus created by Me tab, I now see that the two NFT include Darkblock goodies.
I then click the My NFT's tab.
Darkblock indicates that I now have digital goodies to unlock.
View A Darkblock
Darkblock provides an App to view the new, locked digital content.
The Fire Stick App provides a secret code and instructs me to go to app.darkblock.io/tv.
On my laptop I enter the code.
I sign the login request.
This signing request demonstrates how Darkblock uses the blockchain for Identity and Access Management (IAM) of the digital content.
My (broken) TV (I have some dead pixels in the upper left) shows the NFT I own in this particular account.
This account owns an Isometric Pixel Art NFT of an Orange Francis Francis X1 Espresso Machine, with unlockable Darkblock content.
I click Decrypt.
The App decrypts the secret content.
The App displays my secret content (a Grey Espresso Machine) along with some display controls and a QR code that links to the public version of the NFT.
In this way, a museum (for example) can tune the display of secret content during an exhibition.
Here I change the matte background to corkboard.
Darkblock provides artists with an NFT control panel for access rights and Creator Rights Management. Artists can use NFT for media distribution and permissions management, which opens the door for exciting possibilities.
A Note To Recent (Oct 2021) Rarible Creators
I attempted to create a brand new NFT for this blog post.
I selected single collectible.
I disabled free minting.
I clicked Create item to mint the NFT then and there.
I paid $170.00 to mint the item then and there (vs. lazy minting).
Rarible depicts a successful mint.
You too can view my isometric pixel art masterpiece.
The Darkblock App, however, does not detect that I, John Sobanski created the NFT.
OpenSea also believes that GayAuburnSeahorseOfAwe created the item, not John Sobanski.
I reached out to Rarible, and they responded immediately (excellent tech support thank you!)
Due to the newly created contract for lazy-minting, which is also being used for normal NFTs, the new "profile" on OpenSea hasn't been setup yet.
This should be fixed within the week. If it hasn't by then, please get back to me and I will make sure to escalate this to our management again!
In other words, if you want to use Darkblock today (Oct 2021), either use an old NFT, use OpenSea to mint, or wait until Rarible completes the upgrade of the post-lazy minting indexing on OpenSea.