“We are going into one of the most remarkable technology decades of all times,” said renowned entrepreneur and internet personality Gary Vaynerchuck, commonly known as Gary Vee, in a recent instagram reel. “And the blockchain is going to be the winner.”
Never afraid of making bold predictions, Gary Vee seems to have an uncanny ability to spot trends. He was one of the first to realize that the internet could be harnessed to expand his family’s wine business (he took Wine Library from $3 million in 1996 to $60 million in 2001 in gross revenue). He also built Resy, one of the world’s first successful restaurant reservation software platforms. Today, he is chairman of New York-based VaynerX, a global modern-day marketing and communications company.
This isn’t the first time, however, that Gary Vee has advocated for blockchain technology; he’s been a strong proponent of it, along with non-fungible tokens (NFTs) and cryptocurrency as a whole for quite some time.
Just last year at VeeCon 2022, he said that NFTs and decentralized blockchain technologies are part of the largest technological innovation the world has yet to see. And earlier this year, he challenged those who are skeptical about Bitcoin: “If you are cynical about Bitcoin, you need to see the chess moves to how society will evolve,” he said during an interview with CoinDesk.
In this latest post, he remarks on the benefits of blockchain as it relates to artificial intelligence (AI) and copyright laws. “With the emergence of AI and the scale of AI, the blockchain is about to get very important because provenance is going to really matter as a source of information,” he said. “With deep fakes, blockchain is going to become important.”
So, what exactly does he mean?
Consider an artist, musician, or writer who spends years and thousands of dollars creating a masterpiece. While their work is protected in the real world through copyright laws, digital copyright violation on the internet has become rampant.
Blockchain technology can help creators protect against copyright infringement by establishing an immutable database of dates of registration, provenance (i.e. point of origin), and contact information. With blockchain, creators could essentially timestamp a creation on the ledger, providing proof of ownership of that creation. That information would be immediately made public and would effectively be immune from tampering or modification. It would also make it easier for legitimate entities to find the author of a piece and transmit remuneration.
This same mechanism can be applied to deep fakes – or synthetic representations created using AI to generate completely new video, photo, or audio content, with the end goal of portraying something that didn’t actually occur in reality. Deep fakes pose a significant threat, enabling fraudsters to replicate someone’s voice, image and movements for nefarious purposes – from spreading misinformation to conducting financial transactions.
Timestamping on the blockchain, however, can help identify deep fakes by confirming the date of an item’s origins or showing that the content has been in someone’s possession at a particular time. In other words, blockchain can help create an audit trail for digital content, and can be useful in proving that images, videos, or content in general has not been altered over time.
Given the growing threat that deep fakes pose to individual rights and all aspects of society, blockchain can act as a powerful protective mechanism. At the very least, it can provide greater transparency and trust. While much remains to be seen, we certainly think Gary Vee is onto something: blockchain holds infinite potential and it will be up to us to utilize it for the greater good.