Blockchain in simple words
Everyone talks about it and few, fortunately growing in number, know and understand what it is.
Wikipedia’s description of the blockchain is:
“The blockchain (literally“ chain of blocks ”) is a shared and immutable data structure. It is defined as a digital register whose entries are grouped into blocks, concatenated in chronological order, and whose integrity is guaranteed by the use of cryptography …”
The comprehensibility of the definition does not improve going forward.
We will try to use a stripped down language and really simple examples to offer you an understandable though basic explanation.
Let’s pretend that the blockchain is a physical place with a series of safes placed one after the other, and that these safes cannot be removed or changed over time.
In those safes we can lock a kilogram of ham or the mathematical formula of nuclear fusion … but that’s our business.
Or perhaps it is better to say a business of art, in our case.
Let’s explain better: if the information saved through the blockchain has no connection with the physical object to which it refers, the blockchain acts as a time stamp for the information contained, ie it certifies that:
1. the xy information has been saved
2. the information xy will be unchangeable over time
3. the information xy was saved on such day at such time
So all this is useful, but it is not the solution to all evils.
The real secret and value of the blockchain is made explicit when there is a unique and certain link between the information saved and the object to which it refers.
If the link between information and object has not been uniquely created, that information is not of certain belonging.
Let’s take an example relevant to art:
An art collector buys a painting with authenticity from a gallery owner.
The gallery owner still sells the works with the “analogical method”, that is with only paper documentation (see authentication).
However, the collector wants a digital archive and therefore, through one of the many software on the market, digitizes all the information and paper documents of the work.
Save them immediately afterwards in the blockchain.
Now, what has changed from the past? LITTLE to say nothing.
The precious information instead of being paper is digital, it has been saved in a digital safe and, yes it’s true, that information will not change and will be more usable perhaps, but the object could be replaced, damaged, or it could change due to the signs of the time without anyone noticing.
If the owner sold the work, offering the digitized information, he would have the same credibility as a collector who sells with authentic paper … perhaps less, especially in Italy.
Therefore, a basic step is missing: an inseparable link between object and digital information.
The name of this bond is called digital fingerprint of the work of art.
If the fingerprint is saved in the blockchain, the maximized result will be obtained: no one will be able to falsify the artwork, the information will be stored and updated in a certain way, the damage and natural decay will be easy to identify and monitor.
How ? Through a photograph and SpeakART.
The blockchain works with diamonds, why? Because the blockchain easily records transactions, and therefore it is possible to trace the origin of a stone, but above all because they are marked and recognizable through a unique code, a code that creates the inseparable link between object and information, digital or paper.
SpeakART does just that, digitally “marks” the work of art and its status of conservation, without physically touching the artwork.