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US Commerce Department Weighs Blockchain at Washington Event

Could blockchain reshape the world of digital copyright?

This was one of the central questions explored during an event today co-organized by the US Department of Commerce in conjunction with several other government agencies.

Held in Washington, DC, the event drew a mix of regulators, business representatives and members of the startup world, who discussed the scope of next-generations systems for copyright management. There, blockchain appeared to be both a subject of curiosity and a potential solution to the panelists engaged.

One of the more forceful advocates for the tech was Berklee College of Music's George Howard, who works as an associate professor of management and is a member of the Open Music Initiative, which has been weighing blockchain applications of its own in conjunction with companies like Intel.

Appearing on the first panel, Howard spoke positively about the tech, later arguing that blockchain would come to form the basis of a wide range of tools to create a backup layer for information given the state of current events.

He went on to tell attendees:

"We are arguably in a Pizzagate, post-truth world where it's going to take some secondary source to say, 'Who are you?'"

Among the panelists during a follow-up session was Nathan Lands, co-founder and CEO of Blockai, a startup that uses the bitcoin blockchain to create copyright claims over images.

"The idea of what we're building is, as soon as the creator creates something, with whatever creator tool they’re using, automatically we kind of notarize on the bitcoin blockchain a record," he said during the panel.

The event is the latest that has seen a US government agency discuss how blockchain tech could potentially impact its constituents or be covered by its mandate.

Last month, the US Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) held a panel on the technology, and so far this year, the IRS and CFTC have also been involved in industry dialogue.