A16z, USV Lead $1.5 Million Round for Blockchain Startup Mediachain

By Rob Price for business insider

Top Silicon Valley investors are betting on a startup that wants to create a vast decentralised library of the world’s images so authorship isn’t lost and artists can get paid.

Mediachain, first announced in January 2016, is using the technology behind digital currency bitcoin — the “blockchain” — to create a massive media database.

A blockchain is a decentralised ledger shared between its users, recording transactions — or just about anything else.

Mediachain is using it to create a database that records the original author of various works. Save your photo, or song, or video, to the Mediachain blockchain, and your authorship of it is recorded forever. (Or, until the blockchain is forgotten about.)

“The internet is blind,” cofounder Denis Nazarov said in a press release. “Every day billions of images, songs, videos, and written works are shared online, but they quickly lose connection to their creator or any information about them as they are reposted. What if all data about media was completely open and decentralized, and developers could utilize the technology behind Shazam or Google Image Search to easily retrieve it? We’d know who made what, its history, or even how to pay the creator, in a completely decentralized, programmable way.”

There have already been 2 million photos registered to Mediachain, the company says, with partners including Getty Images and The Museum of Modern Art (MoMA).

The company is now turning to outside investment to bolster its efforts. On Wednesday, it announced a $1.5 million (£1 million) venture capital seed round. Lead investors are VC firms Andreessen Horowitz (a16z) and Union Square Ventures (USV) — with other investors including RRE Ventures and Reddit cofounder Alexis Ohanian.

A16z and USV aren’t strangers to this kind of investments. The two firms have previously jointly funded OpenBazaar, a decentralised online marketplace where users can sell literally everything, giving $1 million (£690,000) to OB1, a company led by the project’s developers.

Announcing the investment, Mediachain summed up its longterm vision in a blog post: “What if the information about all media ever created was completely open, and you could instantly know everything about whatever you were viewing, watching, reading, or listening to — who made it, what it was, where it originated — regardless of how you came across it?”

The company says it is currently working toward an alpha release of its product

First appeared at Business Insider