A blockchain is an decentralized, immutable, public ledger of transactions. It is most famously used by Bitcoin to prevent users from spending the same bitcoin twice and injecting new bitcoins into the economy at a set pace.

But blockchain is rising as a disruptive technology with boundless applications. One of those applications is provenance, or proof of ownership. In this sense, blockchain could be used in DRM schemes to ensure that someone who plays digital media, such as a song or video, actually owns it.

Blockchain DRM-driven systems are still in development, and they could help or hurt consumers depending on how they are implemented. It could serve as a common rights repository for content owners and could even enable the transfer of rights between users. It could also be used to enforce all of those bad policies we pointed out above, because blockchains are much more difficult to hack or bypass.

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