Blockchain and Stupid Ideas

I came up with a BRILLIANT idea about the future of law and how AI is going to change our IP landscape.

Want to hear it?


It was to create a bot that trolls the internet performing image searches and notifying trademark and copyright owners of potential infringement.

I was so proud of this idea that I even mentioned it here.

This, apparently was a short-sighted and stupid idea…because according to this guy, there will be no copyright or trademark infringement due to blockchain technology.

In this episode, I ask Colin…newly minted blockchain enthusiast, about blockchain.

Q: What are some good resources for people to learn about what blockchain technology is?

A: I liked this Planet Money episode on Bitcoin.  Also, this TED talk on Blockchain.  And perhaps this list would be instructive for newbies: BOOKS (though I don’t know that you need them “right now.”  That’s a bit of a hyperbole.).  I’ve been reading Blockchain Revolution.

Q: Blockchain is like a Bitcoin thing, right? (I first learned this at a Start-Up Grind event in Seattle.  I was listening to the CEO of Remitly speak and someone asked him about banks using bitcoin and he responded that they were more interested in blockchain, and I didn’t understand what they were saying.)

A: Yes, but it can be used apart from Bitcoin too.  Mainstream people and businesses seem more excited about blockchain than they do bitcoin.  Maybe it’s because bitcoin would make them irrelevant?  I dunno. But blockchain was popularized as a bitcoin thing.

Q: Explain how blockchain will make my business idea irrelevant.

A: Blockchain is similar to an RFID tag.  So, you know how the RFID tag is used in warehouses to keep track of physical goods in transit?  Well, blockchain is a “tag” that can be attached to intellectual or digital goods as well as embedded in physical goods.  So, if you can create a blockchain tag for your intellectual property – say your e-book, the photograph you uploaded to the internet, or your super unique logo – then, you can track where it goes and who is using it.  If that’s possible, then you won’t need to troll the internet looking for infringers because you will be automatically notified of it or could potentially disable them from misappropriating it.

Q: Are there legitimate uses for bitcoin or is it just like Mr. Robot and the Silk Road?

A: For those of you who don’t know what Shreya is talking about, bitcoin has notoriously been advertised in conjunction with trading illegal goods and services – so, drugs.  Or sex trafficking (in Mr. Robot).  It seems like bitcoin was a great idea but has now succumbed to human foibles.  

Q: What is your wildly inaccurate and unresearched prediction on how blockchain can be used in the legal industry aside from making my business idea irrelevant?

A: Besides the previously discussed changes to intellectual property, blockchain will be useful for the veracity of transactions, such as the transfer of assets or investigating title status of a property. Basically blockchain can eliminate “middlemen” services or products like escrow, title companies/insurance, etc. whose purpose is to verify ownership/status of property or verify that contractual obligations have been fulfilled.

Q: But nobody REALLY knows about the future, right?  I mean, my idea could still be great.

A: Sure. Time is a flat circle, man? You could be the bridge between two points of intellectual property management. Code it. Raise capital. Sell it quick!