Blockchain Unlocks Transparency in Publishing Workflow

Imagine a digital ledger that is permanent and irreversible, and you will begin to understand why blockchain promises so much for the online world. With blockchain, transparency and certainty are guaranteed for every e-transaction. The platform that underlines bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies, blockchain is already taking up a role in supply chain management, music licensing, and even health care record-keeping. Blockchain enthusiasts expect publishing will soon follow.

Not only the future of the internet may come to rely on blockchain, but also the future of civilization. At least that’s the lofty dream of publisher and entrepreneur Rana DiOrio, co-founder and CEO of Creative Mint. Blockchain, she says, will bring visibility to the creative supply chain that will ensure fair treatment for authors, artists, and other creators. In fact, DiOrio believes blockchain will put in practice a digital version of the golden rule.

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CHRISTOPHER KENNEALLY: Well, we’re looking forward to speaking with you about Creative Mint and what you’re up to these days, because it involves this very important new technology of blockchain. In a phrase, Creative Mint intends to identify, nurture, and launch purpose-driven brands that will accelerate the growth of social conscious brand ecosystems. Now, that’s a mouthful and quite an ambition. But as an entrepreneur, you can point to the success of Little Pickle Press, which you founded in 2009 and licensed to Sourcebooks in 2017. So how is Creative Mint the next step in your dream to promote kindness as a force for good in the publishing world and in the world at large?

RANA DiORIO: Well, the kindness piece is fostering transparency and equanimity and equal pay for equal work and all those things that the blockchain can effect by virtue of the technology. What we’re doing is we’re enabling creatives to get their brands to be developed into big brand ecosystems – so think, you know, Black Panther-type franchise. The reason why that can happen is because it’s a well architected product development plan backed by a genius marketing strategy and a lot of capital. Well, the average creative or author doesn’t have that access to capital, nor does he or she have access to the product development relationships or access to a comprehensive brand and marketing strategy. And we’re going to be able to pull all those pieces together with our platform.

CK: And there are two pieces of that that are important to talk about. I want to begin with blockchain, which I gave what I hope is a fairly reasonable definition about – a digital ledger that is permanent and irreversible. But for many listening, that may not mean much. It may not translate into the kinds of objectives that you’re discussing. But how does blockchain make all this possible? Why is that permanent, irreversible ledger of transactions so fundamental to what you’re trying to do?

RD: Well, there’s two layers to it, Chris. The first is, as Brian O’Leary of BISG brilliantly stated when I first presented the idea to him is that, Rana, he said, intellectual property rights transactions are the ideal taxonomy for the blockchain. So think about it. Rights transactions happen for creative works in myriad ways. You obviously have your book deal, and then you have your video deal and you have your ed-tech licensing deal or your video game deal or your merchandising deal. All of those deals can be committed to smart contracts that then reside in a blockchain for all to see, so there’s checks and balances built into the system. So that’s the use case on the rights side.

What we’re also leveraging the blockchain for is to bring capital to fuel these brands, and our platform enables investors to seamlessly set up an account in our system and slide their USD or Ethereum or bitcoin into their wallet and purchase tokens in the Creative Mint platform initially but then ultimately into these brand ecosystems. So you’ll actually own a token that will entitle you to a piece of the distributable revenue associated with these brands, Chris. And this is all committed to the blockchain, into the Ethereum mainnet for all to see.

View the complete transcript here.


Author: Christopher Kenneally

Christopher Kenneally hosts CCC's Velocity of Content podcast series, which debuted in 2006 and is the longest continuously running podcast covering the publishing industry. As CCC's Senior Director, Marketing, he is responsible for organizing and hosting programs that address the business needs of all stakeholders in publishing and research. His reporting has appeared in the New York Times, Boston Globe, Los Angeles Times, The Independent (London), WBUR-FM, NPR, and WGBH-TV.
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