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Story Network: The IP Blockchain Explained

A beginner's guide to Story Network, the programmable IP blockchain
William M. Peaster William M. Peaster Jul 9, 20244 min read
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Story Network: The IP Blockchain Explained

Intellectual property (IP) includes creations like artistic works, designs, images, inventions, names, and symbols.

This encompasses a massive range of assets, from AI models to game assets.

Despite its enormous value, though, which is estimated in the trillions of dollars, IP often remains stuck in an outdated legal system that makes it difficult to license, monetize, and trade effectively.

That's where the new Story Network comes in, a new blockchain that aims to transform IP into liquid, programmable, and ownable digital assets.

Since the chain is brand new and NFT-centric, let's dive into its design, how it works, and the potential applications it offers.

What is Story Network?

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Story Network was created specifically for bringing IP onchain, making it easier to manage and monetize.

On Story Network, IP is represented as onchain assets called IP Assets, which are NFTs. These NFTs carry detailed metadata about the underlying IP and serve as its digital representations. They can be linked to existing NFTs, e.g. a CryptoPunk, or be issued to represent offchain items.

Each IP Asset is linked to an IP Account, a specialized smart contract that manages interactions and data related to the IP.

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Also at the heart of Story Network is its Proof-of-Creativity (PoC) Protocol, which facilitates the creation and management of IP Assets, enabling use cases like permissionless licensing and automated royalty payments.

Another key pillar here is the Programmable IP License (PIL), a legal framework that bridges the onchain world with traditional legal systems, ensuring that the digital representation of IP on Story Network is enforceable in the real world.

How is Story Network designed?

Story Network is a Layer 1 (L1) blockchain optimized for handling complex IP data structures efficiently that leans on elements from both the Ethereum Virtual Machine (EVM) and the Cosmos SDK.

Notably, Story Network is EVM-equivalent, meaning it supports the same code execution environment as Ethereum. This compatibility allows developers to port existing applications and smart contracts written in Ethereum's popular Solidity programming language to Story Network with minimal or no changes.

As for the Cosmos SDK, it provides the underlying framework for Story Network’s consensus and networking layers, offering high scalability and low transaction costs. This design choice also allows Story Network to interoperate with other blockchains within the Cosmos ecosystem, enhancing its flexibility.

The nouns and verbs architecture

Story Network employs a nouns and verbs architecture in its approach to IP.

IP Assets are the nouns, i.e. the things. Recall that these are the NFTs that represent pieces of intellectual property on Story Network. These assets contain metadata and are associated with IP Accounts that manage their data and interactions.

On the flip side, Story's Modules are the verbs. Modules are customizable programs that define and extend the functionality of IP Accounts. Developers can create modules to suit various business logic needs.

For example, the Licensing Module on Story Network simplifies the process of licensing. Creators can define licensing terms and attach them to their IP Assets, allowing others to mint License Tokens.

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The aforementioned PIL framework then provides a standardized, customizable legal contract that defines how that IP can be used, covering aspects like commercial use, attribution, and royalty terms.

Additionally, there is the Royalty Module, which automates the distribution of royalties. When an IP Asset is used or generates revenue, the Royalty Module ensures that payments are automatically distributed according to predefined royalty terms.

This module even tracks relationships between original and derivative works, ensuring that all contributors receive their fair share of royalties. This functionality is particularly useful for complex IP relationships involving multiple creators and remixes.

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Why tokenize IP on Story Network?

Tokenizing IP on Story Network offers several notable benefits:

  • 🌊 Liquidity IP can be traded or used as collateral, creating new financial opportunities.
  • 🧱 Programmability Automated actions like royalty payments can be embedded within IP NFTs, simplifying management.
  • 🔍 Transparency The underlying blockchain provides a clear and immutable record of IP ownership and transactions.

These are compelling pillars for content creators, but what will the actual use cases look like?

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For instance, artists, musicians, writers, and beyond can register their IP as NFTs on Story Network, set licensing terms, and automate royalty payments. This makes it easier to control and monetize their work.

For developers, they can build applications that leverage tokenized IP. Think things like AI model marketplaces, content remixing platforms, and DeFi apps that use IP NFTs as collateral.

Two of the earliest app examples in the Story ecosystem are Magma and Mahojin. The former is a collaborative design tool that uses Story Network to manage and monetize creative works via NFTs, while the latter is a platform for AI training data and models.

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Zooming out

How might making IP programmable and liquid influence the interaction between creators and consumers? Will tokenizing and trading IP democratize access to creative works? And how effectively can the PIL system adapt to diverse global legal landscapes, especially as AI-generated content becomes more prevalent?

The answers to these questions remain to be seen, but Story Network is diving in here in unprecedented fashion and looking to revolutionize the future of digital IP through the cryptoeconomy. As the chain evolves and gains traction, its bull case is its potential to redefine IP management to be better in line with the content challenges of the 21st century.

Can Story win out, then? We'll see, but this innovative reach into a new terrain is exciting nonetheless — stay up to date on the project accordingly!

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William M. Peaster

Written by William M. Peaster

635 Articles View all      

William M. Peaster, Senior Writer, has been with Bankless since January 2021. Immersed in Ethereum since 2017, he writes the Metaversal newsletter on the onchain frontier, covering everything from AI projects to crypto games, as the team’s lead NFT analyst. With a background in creative writing, he writes fiction and publishes art on Ethereum in his free time. He lives in Washington.

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