BeinCrypto spoke to S!NG CEO and co-founder Geoff Osler about how his app helps people easily create non-fungible tokens (NFTs), store them, and ensures a record of original content.
NFTs are booming, with use cases for these tokens expanding as more innovators get involved in this growing area of cryptocurrencies.
Already in 2021, records have been broken when it comes to the most popular use for NFTs — digital art. NFT marketplaces like Nifty Gateway have made massive sales on digital artwork NFTs, with Beeple still holding the record $69 million sale.
However, with interest based on collectibles and digital art, many are concerned about other tangible use cases extending beyond digital art, music, or collectibles.
In addition, issues like artists having their work stolen and sold as an NFT by third parties continue to be brought up when discussing the idea of true “ownership.”
This is where S!NG comes in.
Defining ownership through NFTs
S!NG is an NFT creator with a particular purpose. Simply uploading or recording onto the appmmediately makes an NFT of the content you’ve contributed.
“At its core, an intellectual property management system, it sounds rather boring, it came from the patent space, originally, so the idea here was that inventors for patents needed a way to collaborate but also to document that collaboration.”
So, for example, Osler explains that users can upload their ideas, melodies, images, and other intellectual works to the app. Others can be invited to collaborate, with all the changes and owners being immediately recorded on the blockchain.
Osler explains that they didn’t originally intend to focus specifically on creatives. However, on seeing the need by artists, the creative industries became the perfect target group.
“We found ourselves being brought more and more quickly into music where there are millions of more creators every day, creating millions of files, whether it’s Tik Tok or YouTube or just the traditional music industry and it’s a massive multi-billion dollar industry.”
Choosing NFTs before it was cool
Since S!NG began development around three years ago, it was well ahead of the current NFT craze.
“We looked at different database technologies, we looked at different potentially controlled environments like hyper ledger, and we settled on NFT,” says Olser.
“Our lead developer determined that the ERC-721 or NFT was exactly the right way to create a digital object of intellectual property. Only more recently, you know, in the last several months, as this has blown up. So we did not predict when it was going to blow up. We just knew that it was important to build the platform around it.”
Weighing up privacy versus adoption
As the S!NG app requires users to make an account with an email and password, rather than holding their own keys, S!NG does reflect a centralized entity.
Olsen explains why an app with interest in securing ownership would go this route rather than through decentralization.
“It’s important, I believe, for us to make this powerful technology available to people who aren’t necessarily well steeped in crypto and understanding that there is massive benefit, to give creators access to this kind of technology.”
However, Osler has no intention of holding onto keys forever.
“I think people are going to learn more and more and more about this, they’re going to become more and more comfortable with crypto and what it is and what it means, why they’ve saved stuff in theory,” he says.
“To that end, we’ve maintained strict standards in the background, so when you can log in, you’re saying we are creating an Ethereum wallet on your behalf that belongs to you, and we will expose the ability within the software soon for you to take that back and go with it somewhere else if you want.”
“All of this stuff has to survive S!NG. It can’t be dependent on us as a platform at all. That’s not the business we’re in. We won’t keep people’s creativity hostage. We’re not going to hide the cancel button,” he explains.
“If we are doing a good job. We will earn people’s trust by being an easy way for them to create NFTs, hopefully, to manage and to share and even to buy and sell. However, it needs to survive us.”
“That is a level of evidence that nobody in the world has ever had before.”
S!NG is providing a way for people to claim their intellectual property easily. However, using NFTs and the blockchain is a novel approach with little legal precedence.
For Osler, this isn’t the legal hurdle it may seem to be. While going through the process of creating the app, Olser and his team looked into the legal repercussions and possibilities.
When referring to an early investor who also served as a legal guide, Osler says:
“He refers to our technology boldly as better than copyright. Wow, that’s a pretty bold statement, especially for a senior litigator to make that statement.”
“So unpacking that a little bit. The reason why we suggest that it’s better than copyright is that you’re not simply registering with one jurisdiction. You’re registering with the planet blockchain. You are not paying for that registration which would today cost at least in the US. It’s 100 bucks and a whole lot of paperwork, and it’s a pain in the butt. Instead, you’re doing it for free, and you’re doing as many ideas as you want for free,” he explains.
For Osler, placing the idea within an NFT even helps fix some of the problems copyrights face. The immutable information in these NFTs makes it harder for someone to come and dispute the origin of a piece of music, artwork, or design.
Within a court of law, he explains that copyright disputes are based on evidence.
“The court accepts evidentiary standards but facts are a personal journal, or an email or a signature. All of those things are admissible as evidence and all of them have a different level of power,” he says.
“As soon as you sit down with a judge and you explain, well, here’s how this works, right and here are, you know, are a number of nodes that were active, here’s the amount of agreement consensus we had in the network here, it’s unimpeachable. So it’s not really about the law, as much as it is about just accepting cryptos or accepting Ethereum as being a new standard for for for digital witnessing.”
In addition, he explains that unlike with standard copyright, the evidence backing the process completed over NFTs means every contribution is recorded.
Making creating and selling NFTs easy
For their next steps, S!NG aims to integrate with NFT marketplaces to make it possible for users to create and sell their NFTs easily.
“I think what you’re going to see from us is you’re going to see a way to take those NFTs from the same platform and as easy as it was to create them, to be able to get them out and sold.”