2017-03-24Konferenzveröffentlichung DOI: 10.18452/1442
Enabling the Traceability of Ideas Shared OnlineUsing Decentralized Trusted Timestamping
Online discussion and sharing platforms have enabled ideas to be disseminated more quickly than ever before. However, there are many good reasons why individuals hesitate to share their ideas online. In academia, for instance, researchers may not want their contribution to be made public until after it has been published to ensure that they are appropriately credited for their work. As a consequence, novel ideas or creative work tend to only be shared within a small circle of trusted peers instead of with wider audiences online. This status quo prevents other experts on a specific topic from contributing to the discussion. In this paper, we present a proof-of-concept implementation of an online discussion and sharing platform that addresses this problem. The web-based application, coined VirtualPatent, automatically timestamps each post a user shares by creating a distributed timestamp on the blockchain of the cryptocurrency Bitcoin – a method for trusted-timestamp creation that we published in a previous paper. Unlike platform-managed timestamps, timestamps stored on the blockchain are persistent and cannot be tampered with. The system thus enables the author of a posting made online to retrospectively prove the exact time that the specific contribution was first put forth in a tamperproof manner – similar to a published paper, but with the simplicity of writing a post on a social media website.
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