When you think of blockchain, you probably think Bitcoin, Bored Apes, or Elon Musk pumping-and-dumping Dogecoin. But that’s only a small part of the story. In the broadest and simplest terms, a blockchain is a fancy way of saying a decentralized database. This means that there is no central authority in charge of what’s read or written to the database. Before blockchains, most databases had centralized management and ownership. For example, Amazon decides which books and authors are sold on their site. They have access to all customer data, orders, and can even track the amount of time readers spend on each page of their Kindle eBooks. Every post from Facebook’s nearly 3 billion users is uploaded to a central database owned by the company. TikTok tracks every user interaction to feed its centralized eyeball-gluing algorithm. These products are beloved by consumers because they are entertaining and easy to use.
But this convenience comes at a cost. Without your knowing, TikTok can change your beliefs by serving videos that promote certain agendas. Platforms like Twitter can censor tweets or outright ban users. Maybe you trust the current management teams, but tomorrow could be a different story.
We believe blockchain might just be the future of publishing. Blockchain is the underlying technology that enables the promises of Web3. Here’s our brief history of the web:
- Web1 (Read): Large organizations like the New York Times, universities, and governments published online content for readers. Over time, platforms like WordPress democratized publishing, allowing anyone with an internet connection to create their own blog.
- Web2 (Read/Write): In the early 2000s, social media platforms like Facebook enabled dialogue (i.e. read/write). For example, Sarah could make a Facebook post and Jon could add a comment or interact with the content. All content is stored on databases owned and controlled by a centralized company like Facebook.
- Web3 (Read/Write/Own): Blockchain allows people to own and control their content. For example, instead of posting on Instagram, a photographer may choose to mint their photography on a blockchain as an NFT. Rather than surrendering ownership to a social platform, the photographer can now monetize their creations. The photo is not stored in a centralized database, but rather across a peer-to-peer distributed networked, or blockchain.
At a minimum, blockchain provides authors another marketplace to share and monetize their content. In addition to publishing your paperback on Amazon, why not also publish to a blockchain where your content will be preserved? Behemoth companies like Standard Oil and Myspace are now defunct. Why trust a single company like Facebook to keep your memories alive forever? We’re not saying blockchain is bulletproof against the ravages of time, but it’s worth diversifying your treasure troves. And maybe you’ll make some money off your stories along the way.
Authorship or ownership of your story has been central to our philosophy at Biograph before we even heard of “Web3”. We call the people on Biograph “authors” rather than “users”. Our app makes it easy to publish your creations on a blockchain in a few simple steps.
A Case Study: From Paperback to NFTs
Mfon Akpan, our celebrated author and friend, began working with Biograph in the Summer of 2020. We helped Mfon publish his first paperback The Hitchhiker’s Guide to Virtual Reality. If you couldn’t tell from the book title, Mfon is an educator on the cutting edge of technology. We’ve since published dozens of eBooks and Audiobooks with Mfon. Together, we’ve been streamlining our publishing process, so that Mfon can create, publish, and monetize without any friction. In June 2022, we worked with Mfon to publish his latest work What is an NFT Domain Name? on the Polygon blockchain. We have many more publications in the pipeline and Mfon is thrilled with our new process:
“The user interface, that thing is so easy. Even Instagram is not as easy. It’s so smooth. I was just blown away with the way I could just click… It really touched me in a way. I worked at SCAD. Many of my students were UX designers. I’ve seen all types of apps that they’ve worked on, they’ve come together with, and that was just…it was great. So kudos there!”
Biograph is dedicated to making storytelling and publishing more accessible to all. Join authors like Mfon on Biograph today for access to publishing technologies of the future.