High Fidelity reveal currency and IP protection roadmaps

In a pair of blog posts, Philip Rosedale of High Fidelity revealed the company’s plans to use blockchain technology as both a virtual worlds currency and for content protection.

The blockchain is described as “an incorruptible digital ledger of economic transactions that can be programmed to record not just financial transactions but virtually everything of value” (Don Tapscott, Blockchain Revolution: How the Technology Behind Bitcoin Is Changing Money, Business, and the World). It allows transactions to be simultaneously anonymous and secure by maintaining a tamper-proof public ledger of value. While it is most recognised for its role in driving Bitcoin, the technology is seen by more than 40 of the world’s top financial institutions as a potential means to provide speedier and more secure currency transactions. However, the technology has the potential to have far wider application.

To understand the basics of the blockchain, think of a database duplicated across the Internet, allowing any part of it to be updated by anyone at any time, and the updates being immediately available across all the duplicates of the database. Information held on a blockchain exists as a shared — and continually reconciled — database existing across multiple nodes. The decentralised blockchain network automatically checks with itself every ten minutes, reconciling every transaction, with each group of transactions checked referred to as a”block”. Within the network, nodes all operate as “administrators” of the entire network, and are encouraged to join it through what is (mistakenly) referred to as “mining”  – competing to “win” currency exchanges, sometimes for financial reward to the node’s operators (High Fidelity indicate that node operators will not gain directly from “mining” activities, but will instead be paid in HFCs for their computing resources used by the network).

Centralised, distributed and de-centralised networks – blockchains utilised decentralised networks

The key points to all this is that the blockchain is both openly transparent – the data is embedded in the network as a whole, not in any single point, and is by definition “public”. The lack of any centralisation also means it cannot be easily hacked – doing so would require huge amounts of computing power; nor is there a single point of data which can be corrupted or reliant on a single point of management for its continued existence – as High Fidelity point out, this means that the service can continue, even if High Fidelity does not. Thus, blockchain networks are considered both highly robust and very secure.

An estimated 700 Bitcoin-like crypto-currencies are already thought to be in operation, although the potential use of blockchains goes far, far beyond this (identity management, data management, record-keeping, stock broking, etc., etc.).

High Fidelity plans, over the coming months, to deploy their own blockchain network which will support both a new crypto-currency, the HFC (presumably “High Fidelity Currency”), which will ultimately operate independently of High Fidelity’s control. In addition, the system will provide a mechanism to protect intellectual property by embedding object certification affirming item ownership into the blockchain. This means that creators of original digital content. As High Fidelity explain:

Digital certificates issued by the High Fidelity marketplace (and likely other marketplaces choosing to use HFC) will serve a similar function as patents or trademarks — creators will register their works to get the initial certificates, and these certificates will be given out only for work that is not infringing on other or earlier works…. Once granted, these durable certificates cannot be revoked and can then be attached to purchases on the blockchain to prove the origin of goods. The absence of an accompanying digital certificate and blockchain entry will make digital forgery more obvious and impactful than in the real world — for example, server operators may choose not to host content without certificates and end-users may choose not to ‘see’ content according to it’s certificate status.

This approach could provide an extremely durable and trusted means of sharing digital content, one which is more durable than other approaches to digital rights management, for the same reasons as the blockchain offers security, transparency and robustness to operating a crypto-currency.

That the HFC blockchain is designed to operate independently of High Fidelity means that it can become self-sustaining, providing a currency environment that can be traded with other crypto-currencies and which can be exchanged for fiat currency through multiple exchanges.

The two blog posts – Roadmap Currency and Content Protection and Roadmap: Protecting Intellectual Property in Virtual Worlds – are very much companion pieces to be read in the order given. The first provides an overview of the HFC blockchain system and currency management, including how High Fidelity hope to establish a stable exchange rate mechanism without running into the issues of speculative dabbling in the system, inflated ICOs, etc., and on the use of digital wallets and personal security. It also outlines the certification mechanism for content protection, which the second article takes a deeper dive into, explaining how the relative strengthen of a blockchain approach as very quickly sketched out above could be used in protecting creator’s IP and controlling how their products / creations are used.

The decentralised approach to currency and digital rights management is something that has been pointed to numerous times during High Fidelity’s development, but this is the first time the plans have been more fully fleshed out and defined in writing. It’s an ambitious approach, one likely to stir debate and discussion – particularly given the current situation regarding the Decentraland / Ethereum and the risk of speculation around ICOs (again, something High Fidelity hope to avoid).

it’s also one which again points to High Fidelity’s founders looking far more towards more of an “open metaverse” approach to virtual environments and goods than others might be considering.

Advertisements

2016 OpenSimulator Community Conference December 10th / 11th

Image courtesy of the OpenSimulator Community Conference
Image courtesy of the OpenSimulator Community Conference

The 2016 OpenSimulator Community  Conference is in progress over the weekend of December 10th / 11th. An annual event, the conference focuses on the developer and user community creating the OpenSimulator software.  It is organised as a joint production by Core Developers of OpenSimuator and AvaCon, and this year is sponsored by University of California, Irvine, Institute for Virtual Environments and Computer Games, Rockcliffe University Consortium, and Virtual Outworlding together with a host crowdfunders.

The conference this year once again features business presentations, talks, panel discussions, workshops, social events and hypergrid activities, covering a wide range of subject areas, including education, social VR, using virtual worlds and environments for historical recreations – and much more besides.

You can find the full schedule of events on the OpenSimulator Community Conference website, together with instructions on how to log-in and join and of the sessions.  The latter are also being streamed for those unable to attend via avatar.

Image courtesy of the OpenSimulator Community Conference
Image courtesy of the OpenSimulator Community Conference

Related Links

 

2016 OpenSimulator Conference registrations open

Image courtesy of the OpenSimulator Community Conference
Image courtesy of the OpenSimulator Community Conference

On Tuesday, November 8th, registrations for the 2016 OpenSimulator Community Conference opened.

The 2016 conference will be over two days: Saturday 10th and Sunday 11th December, with social events being held in the run-up to, and around the dates of, the conference itself.

Since seats are limited, registration is open on a first-come-first-served basis until the maximum number of virtual conference centre tickets is reached.  At that point, community members will still be able to register for the live streamed version of the conference that will be available.

Attendance is free, but those wishing to financially support the conference can sponsor or participate in the OSCC Crowdfunder Campaign when registering. Participants in the Crowdfunding Campaign will receive a variety of thank you gifts depending upon their level of participation, including early access, conference promotional items, and ability to have a virtual expo booth at the event.

Registrations can be made here.

Image courtesy of the OpenSimulator Community Conference
Image courtesy of the OpenSimulator Community Conference

In addition, the organisers are still seeking individuals and groups willing to host  social events If you are interested, please complete the Community Events Sign-up page.

Volunteers are also still being sought as:

  • Greeters / audience helpers
  • Moderators
  • Builders
  • Scripters
  • Social Media / Communications
  • Streaming and Technical Support

Those interested in volunteering can do so via the Volunteer Sign-up form,  Depending upon their interests, volunteers can select more than one role if they wish.

About the Conference

The OpenSimulator Community Conference is an annual conference that focuses on the developer and user community creating the OpenSimulator software. The conference is a joint production by Core Developers of OpenSimulator and AvaCon, Inc., a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization dedicated to promoting the growth, enhancement, and development of the metaverse, virtual worlds, augmented reality, and 3D immersive and virtual spaces.  The conference features a day of presentations, panels, keynote sessions, and social events across diverse sectors of the OpenSimulator user base.

OSCC 2016: call for proposals and volunteers

Image courtesy of the OpenSimulator Community Conference
Image courtesy of the OpenSimulator Community Conference

The 2016 OpenSimulator Community Conference (OSCC) will take place on Saturday 10th and Sunday 11th December 2016.

An annual conference that focuses on the developer and user community creating the OpenSimulator software.  Organised as a joint production by Core Developers of OpenSimulator and AvaCon, Inc., and sponsored by the University of California, Irvine, Institute for Virtual Environments and Computer Games, the conference features a day of presentations, panels, keynote sessions, and social events across diverse sectors of the OpenSimulator user base.

Call for Proposals

The Conference for 2016 will feature a series of dynamic short presentations and panels that spotlight the best of the OpenSimulator platform and community, and a Call for Proposals has been issued to individuals or groups who are shaping the Metaverse.

The focus for the 2016 event is the visions for the future and the evolution of the platform, with 20-minute sessions available for speakers, while community-sponsored tours, content give-aways and Hypergrid explorations take attendees to far away places. The organisers encourage presentations that span current innovations and activities, performance artistry, educational simulations, innovative business cases or  have a publication or track record of real world use.

Image courtesy of the OpenSimulator Community Conference
Image courtesy of the OpenSimulator Community Conference

Those wishing to participate directly in the conference as speakers can do so via the following tracks:

  • Creative
  • Education
  • Technical
  • Experiential
  • Other

All proposals should be submitted using the conference Proposal Submission form, and any questions direct to the conference organisers.

The key dates for proposals are:

  • October 9th, 2016 11:59 PST: Deadline for proposals
  • October 23rd, 2016:  acceptance details e-mails will be dispatched by the conference organisers to accepted speakers
  • October 30th, 2016: accepted speakers must register for the conference in order to be included in the conference schedule and the programme
  • November 19th, 2016: presenter Orientation & Training sessions to prepare speakers for the conference and to set-up Presenter Booths. Any custom content, props, and audio-visuals must be submitted to be included in the conference programme.
  • December 10th – 11th, 2016: 2016 OpenSimulator Community Conference
  • December 11th, 2016 – OSCC Hypergrid tour and other community events.
Image courtesy of the OpenSimulator Community Conference
Image courtesy of the OpenSimulator Community Conference

Community Social Events

A key part of OSCC is the social events held in the run-up to, and around the dates of, the conference itself. Those interested in running / hosting a social event should complete the Community Events Sign-up page.  There will also be limited available space on the OSCC conference grid for those who would like to host an OSCC meet-up or an after conference event on Sunday, December 11th. Please contact the conference organisers. with any questions.

Volunteers

The conference needs volunteers to help in a range of activities:

  • Greeters / audience assistances
  • Moderators
  • Builders
  • Scripters
  • Social Media / Communications
  • Streaming and Technical Support

Those interested in volunteering can do so via the Volunteer Sign-up form,  Depending upon interests, volunteers can select more than one role if they wish.

About the Conference

The OpenSimulator Community Conference is an annual conference that focuses on the developer and user community creating the OpenSimulator software. The conference is a joint production by Core Developers of OpenSimulator and AvaCon, Inc., a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization dedicated to promoting the growth, enhancement, and development of the metaverse, virtual worlds, augmented reality, and 3D immersive and virtual spaces.  The conference features a day of presentations, panels, keynote sessions, and social events across diverse sectors of the OpenSimulator user base.