Stock photos, we’ve all seen them. Whether it be the latest Coca-Cola advert on your favourite website or a seemingly randomised vector image on a newly formed company logo, the chances are that there were stock photo’s used to create the image.
If you’re not savvy with the advertising/graphic production industry you may be wondering what a stock photo is, let me give you a brief round up: stock photos are generic images which licensing companies lease out to graphic designers and project managers, to use for their commercial projects, at a fee which is less than the cost of actually hiring a photographer and producing exclusive images.
Generally speaking, producing stock photos is a way for both amateur and professional photographers to get their work ‘out there’ and generate a form of financial income to fund their career. The problem with the current centralised stock photo providers is the fact that their platforms do not really benefit anyone other than their investors.
The current way in which the stock photo industry works is by asking users to upload photos which are then verified by the staff of the company which they have decided to use. Once the photo is verified (something which can take an exorbitant amount of time) the listing company will decide on the final price to lease the image, without any input of the photographer, and then take a hefty cut of the profits which are generated via the leasing of said photo, again, the photographer has no input regarding the percentage of funds which the licensing company takes.
As you can imagine the combination of these setbacks makes the stock photo industry one which is highly profitable for the platforms which are leasing the photographs, but not so much for the photographers. To add to the fact that the centralised nature of the industry negatively affects the profits of photographers, it also provides issues regarding availability and choice for the end user. This is where blockchain technology can assist.
As with many aspects of the online digital marketplace, blockchain technology is providing the platform for developers to begin disrupting numerous industries, and the stock photo business is one of them. Photochain are a blockchain based startup company which aim’s to revolutionise the stock photo industry and even has a working prototype of their platform ready to be tested by the public (access it here).
After a quick browse of the current demo platform from Photochain you can easily see what the team is attempting to achieve and get the impression that they know what they are doing. Their platform appears to address all the issues which I noted above and even allows end users to buy the image they desire directly from the person who created it, skipping the need for a middleman who does nothing other than take a percentage of the sale fee.
The currency of the Photochain platform is their own PHT token which basically allows the company to keep their prices extremely low due to the fact that they’re able to avoid all the fees which are associated with traditional fiat companies, while also giving utility to their token.
Currently numerous cryptocurrency startup projects fail due to the fact that their token does not have an actual purpose in the real world, this is not the case for Photochain. The Photochain ecosystem, when it is fully launched, will be entirely dependent on the PHT token and it is, in fact, their token which makes their goal entirely possible.
By allowing end users to buy the lease for a stock photo using their PHT token they are able to seamlessly control all data which is processed on-chain. The benefits of using an on-chain system should be evident to all: speed, security, immutability, and cost effectiveness.
So, How Does it Work?
If you’re a graphic designer or photographer you’ve probably read all the above and thought it sounds too good to be true. Well, let me briefly explain the mechanics behind the concept which make the Photochain vision a real world possibility.
Let’s take the use case of Johnny the student photographer who has a drawer full of SD cards which are loaded with beautiful, scenic, pictures of nature. If he was to use one of the existing, centralised, services he would be entirely at the mercy of the platform creators for every aspect of leasing his image, as a result of this he has decided to try out the new system offered by Photochain.
When Johnny uploads his image to their platform it is verified within just ten minutes and then instantly copy-written by the DCC (Digital Copyright Chain), which autonomously assigns the ownership rights of his image to him, protecting his intellectual property rights. Once the image has been uploaded to the blockchain Johnny is able to then set his desired price in PHT tokens and then sit back and wait for people to buy his photo. It is really that simple.
From that point onward, every-time an end user buys one of Johnny’s photographs his personal wallet (also secured via the blockchain) will be credited with the tokens which he has earned within 10 seconds of the purchase, and he can then withdraw them to convert to fiat as, and when, he deicides is appropriate.
Sounds simple, right?
Let’s take another example, this time of Jane the graphic designer. Jane has a project which she needs a large number of stock photos to complete. Traditionally she would have to spend a significant amount of her finances on signup fees to the centralised platform and then, in some cases, a per download fee for each photo she uses. The process takes a significant amount of time due to the verification process and is extremely costly.
With Photochain Jane would simply need to signup to the Photochain platform and load up her wallet with PHT tokens, that is it. Every-time she finds a picture she wishes to use she simply buys it with her PHT and a unique download link is generated specifically for her to use.
In a Nutshell
There you have it, a decentralised, efficient, cost effective solution to the current centralised stock photo industry. Personally I believe the Photochain platform has the potential to be an extremely successful project. Their current demo offers seamless usage and proves that there are very valid use cases for cryptocurrencies.
As the PHT token actually has a use I do believe that it is one which is well worth keeping an eye on and I honestly urge all photographers/graphic designers to investigate the company as it would be to their own benefit. If the Photochain company manages to deliver on their plans and offer the quoted 95% of all fees made from uploads to the photographers who took the picture, and near enough eliminate verification periods, it will definitely prove to be a great use of blockchain technology.
Whatever your thoughts on crypto, photography or graphic design this is definitely something worth investigating. Enough of my waffling on, read-up on the links below.
Please remember that this article is not to be taken as any form of investment advice and that you should do your own research before investing your hard earned cash into anything. We would also like to remind you that Something Decent is not in anyway responsible for the distribution of airdrops, bounties or giveaways unless it is stated that we are personally conducting them