As we write this, the cyber currency Bitcoin has grown nearly 1,000 percent since the start of 2017. Chances are, you didn’t invest in Bitcoin.

Neither did we. But whether it crashes and burns or continues its dizzying ascent, there’s a good chance photographers are going to profit from the technology that makes Bitcoin possible.

Bitcoin is built on a form of secure digital record-keeping called blockchain. There’s a lot that goes into blockchain technology (mostly math), but for the sake of simplification you can think of it as a chronological string of encrypted digital records stored on a peer-to-peer network.

There are different types of blockchains but for the purposes of this article, we’re referring to the Bitcoin-type blockchain. But Naylor says that blockchain has more potential than just secure record-keeping.

He’s particularly bullish on its use in image licensing. Blockchain can be used to create so-called “smart contracts.” Much like an API which defines how two software programs talk to each other and exchange information, a smart contract contains self-executing instructions that only trigger when parties to the contract fulfill their obligations. Read more from…

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