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project screenshot
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Creating unique copies of ebooks that users can own outright, with the freedom to do what they want with it. Just like how physical copies are owned by users.


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Project Description

We humans have a unique way of adding value to entities just by interacting with it: a particular DVD of Star Wars once owned by Mark Hamill fetches more than its MRP (Maximum Retail Price), you attach sentimental value to the watch that your dad gave you (so much so that you’re not willing to part with it for any sum of money). This level of interaction and sentiment-attachment is only possible in the physical realm, precisely because there is no uniqueness attached with digital copies. Until the advent of blockchain and Non-Fungible Tokens.

With NFTs, suddenly we’re able to hold unique digital collectibles, attach sentimental value to it, and have a history associated with it. But they don’t just have to be collectibles. They can be utilitarian entities, just like the watch that you wear to tell time. Here we propose such a platform for utilitarian non-fungible tokens: for digital content.

All forms of digital content (movies, e-books, tv series, comics, music, games, etc.) can be distributed on the platform, but we’ll concentrate on e-books for simplicity and scope of this project.

A unique NFT is generated and assigned to an owner when an e-book sale is executed. And since these tokens are unique, they behave like physical entities, i.e. as physical copies of a book. This means that there are a whole new set of behaviors that opens up for the owner, which doesn’t exist in any of the current content distribution platforms.An owner can sell or rent the book as she pleases, for the price that she chooses, to anyone in the globe.

The books will have the history of its previous owners as it jumps from hand to hand, and it becomes verifiable to all whether one particular copy of Harry Potter was once owned by Emma Watson or not. Limited editions and other collectible characteristics can also be incorporated into the tokens to sell them at a premium.

A whole new market gets opened up with this, while providing increased freedom and control to the customers. The platform is designed in such a way that each monetary transaction attached to a particular e-book copy results in a percentage of that transaction value being sent to the content creator/author, incentivizing their participation on the platform. Thus, both content creators and consumers are incentivized to be on the platform. The supply would always be limited, as new NFTs are only generated at the time of an e-book sale from the author/publisher, hence ensuring digital scarcity. We believe a free-market economics model would drive down the prices of resales and rentals, making it affordable for the Third World (or people in Levels 1 to 3) and other emerging markets, nudging people away from piracy.

How it's Made

Nuxt.js was used for building the frontend of the webapp. The NFTs adhere to ERC-721 token standard, so we ended up using OpenZeppelin library. All contract interactions are handled by Web3.js functions, and the book cover and book content etc are all stored on IPFS. The webapp in itself is hosted on IPFS, via fleek.

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