Blockmagic is a magazine that focuses on the many diverse, interesting and sometimes fun applications of blockchain. A recently launched blockchain app will be of interest to writers, content publishers and digital media creators — the app offers time stamping articles and postings on the internet, currently as a plugin on WordPress.
The WordProof Timestamp — We Stamp For You — will allow writers and editors to automatically “timestamp” their articles and content using the EOS blockchain, and thus claim and prove ownership.
The “free” service (but see the issue with EOS accounts below) has been launched as a plugin for the hugely popular WordPress platform, which has emerged as the backbone of the web in recent years (up to a third of all websites run on it). While those who were comfortable with the nerdish blockchain aspects (like serpentine addresses and setting up wallets) could use the timestamp, the new plugin is for novices and everyone who needs to protect their documents without the hassles.
Launched in collaboration with EOSWriter.io, which is using WordProof to timestamp all of its published articles, here is how We Stamp For You works:
· A simple “key” is all it takes to use the timestamp plugin.
· A look at the content shows the timestamp link at the bottom of the article, and on clicking the link, one is taken to the WordProof certificate, where the content and its editing history can be viewed.
· When viewed on a blockchain explorer (the certificate provides the link), one can see the transaction ID and the block number.
· There is a link to the timestamp checker — an online tool where one can paste the content of the article and its hash id, and check if the content has changed from its final timestamped version.
Now why would a writer or editor timestamp their articles and content on the internet using blockchain?
WordProof offers two use cases — a) proving the identity of the writer, or authorship of the content as part of corporate governance, b) the ability to automatically timestamp all generated content on blockchain without manual intervention.
The word ‘Wordproof’ sounds like ‘theft proof’, but does the automatic plugin actually make content immune from theft? It certainly won’t protect against plagiarism, the main concern of the content world. Nor does it stop anyone from taking ownership of fake or copied content. The blockchain itself wouldn’t warn anyone about it, or can it?
There is one way it could help — like in the case of scientific journals, where the timestamp of receiving the submission is important for claims of who got there first, the use of time stamping can hold similar advantages for proving original ownership.
We Stamp For You and WordProof are for those who are not tech savvy. The EOSIO blockchain makes things a bit simple, as it replaces long addresses with comprehensible usernames. A drawback is the price one has to pay to set up an account, and the staking of a little bit of EOS to operate on the network. On the plus side, heavy users can save on paying costly gas, as they actually “own” a part of the EOS network with their coins, rather than being just a customer.
EOSWriter is quite upbeat about time-stamping on blockchain, calling it a historic moment. Black.One, the parent company behind EOSIO, says only blockchain registered content will be seen as ‘authentic, original and true’, not the ones that are now published on private servers and databases (Brendan Blumer).
According to Blumer, in five years from now, any content publisher not using time-stamping on blockchain will be considered a fraud. Really?
Sebastiaan van der Lans is the creator of WordProof. Eventually, WordProof wants to bring WordPress itself as an interface to the EOS blockchain, for which it welcomes testing partners. Time stamping content is also being seen as part of the creation of Internet 3.0 using EOSIO.
As for WordPress and its evolution with blockchain, it has launched the WP Blockchain plugin this year, but the plugin page refers to non-testing on latest versions and other issues. It has also launched Newspack, which appears to be an archiving plugin for decentralized storage. If the reader is aware of more blockchain infiltration into WordPress, they may comment below.