DECENT is a decentralized publishing platform, which we first covered last year. Using blockchain technology, it allows creators to freely share their content on a peer-to-peer network while maintaining a secure record of ownership. Although it’s still under development, they now have a working prototype to demonstrate how it works.
As we’ve previously explained, DECENT allows users to upload any digital content to its peer-to-peer network, including books, movies and video games. Along with it, they issue a DECENT transaction, which logs them as the author on the blockchain.
If the media is intended for sale, the data is encrypted using a public/private keypair. The data and private key are then divided and distributed to several hosts (called “publishers,”) obsoleting reliance on a central server. Using an incentive system analogous to Bitcoin mining, the publishers verify blocks in the DECENT chain and are rewarded with a cryptocurrency called DCT.
In order to access the encrypted files, consumers issue their own DECENT transactions, sending enough DCT to cover the purchase price. Once it is confirmed on the blockchain, the publishers hosting it send all the data and key pieces to the new owner(s), and the designated DCT are redeemed by the content author. Almost nothing is kept by corporate middlemen, whereas publishing things like e-books costs more than 50% of your earnings using traditional methods.
This also circumvents censorship by third parties, and DECENT’s pseudonymous nature can protect the participant’s identity, as well. The result is freedom of speech for all those involved, a blessing to countries like China where those who voice or disseminate unsanctioned opinions are regularly threatened. Fighting for free speech is one of DECENT’s primary goals, as elaborated upon in their white paper (a work in progress).
The prototype was first demonstrated at the beginning of 2016. As shown in a YouTube video published January 15th, DECENT has developed key features of its peer-to-peer network, such as buying, rating and sharing content. One can also rate authors and check whether previously-issued transactions have been secured in the blockchain.
The graphical user interface is reminiscent of the original Bitcoin QT client, with three important tabs: one for sending, one for receiving, and one for browsing transactions you’ve previously been involved with. Now, however, you can check out digital content available on the network, which is currently just test data from the DECENT team. The upload tab allows the submission of new content, with no arbitrary restrictions.
For those interested in acquiring DCT tokens, a crowdsale is expected in the first quarter of 2016. DECENT is also planning to make them available on several cryptocurrency exchanges, but not for fiat currency. They have yet to provide more details about the new coin; follow them on Facebook for the latest information.