AllCoinNews had an opportunity to chat with John Bulich, Co-Founder of Ledger Assets and Uproov.
Uproov is a startup that uses the Bitcoin blockchain to stamp or notarize photos, videos and audio recordings.
ACN: How were Ledger Assets and Uproov started? Who are the founders?
Co-founders are a team of experienced Australian entrepreneurs.
After spending many months in 2014 designing a remittance system, we realized the most innovative part of our system was the blockchain and subsequently formed Ledger Assets. We then shifted our focus from remittance, which was fast becoming a crowded sector, and which is tightly regulated, to areas that utilized the blockchain for the control and transfer of assets, both digital and physical.
ACN: What are the backgrounds of the Uproov team?
Both the co-founders have a long history in Information technology including a Ph.D in Total Technology from The University of Manchester in the U.K.
ACN: There seem to be quite a few startups providing time stamped services on the blockchain (ie. Factom, Tierion, BTProof, etc)?
We are different –
All the other systems that are currently offering a this service are only stamp pre-existing files.
Although Uproov can also instantly do this on Smartphones for any files from cloud drives, our main point of difference and the strength of Uproov is that it actually records the photos, video or audio within the App itself, which we call “Live”. The system doesn’t allow for the Live photo or video to be altered prior to its encryption key being locked into the Blockchain. This is a major difference and gives our users the highest level of proof for the images and videos. This is a world first, Uproov is the only system offerring this very high level of mobile proof. The other systems are useful for proving a media file existed at a certain point in time and that it can’t be changed AFTER its been encrypted, but does not actually prove the veracity of the Photo or video, etc itself, whereas we designed Uproov to be the ultimate mobile truth machine.
There is virtually no time lag between the taking of the photo, video, audio and its encryption to the Blockchain for any manipulation to be performed, it is instant. Uproov also has numerous proprietary protections built in to detect potential tampering too. This is very important to understand so please let me know if we need to explain it better, Uproov is the first and only App in the world that verifies live pictures and videos instantly.this makes it ideal for many functions, i.e for ordinary people to act as journalists in support of overseas media organisations for example, as many media organizations prefer to use local journalists rather than send their own overseas these days.
Taking it a step further. Uproov then stamps an Ezy-Id on the bottom of the photo so others that see the photo posted (on ebay, Alibaba, other sales sites, dating site, etc) can use the Ezy-Id to verify the photo on our website . GREEN Ezy-Id means it was taken LIVE with Uproov, making it easy for people to view, verify and trust the original photo. A RED Ezy-id means it was a pre-existing photo.
Additionally Users can upload their media files to our servers, located in Switzerland, for safe storage, sharing and verifying.
Another great feature is 3rd party viewing of the Photo’s can be made public or private – which means only people you have shared a security code with may view the original photo on our server in its original state.
Watermarking, Time-stamping and geo-location can all be turned on or off as required (great for stopping photos of existing Uproov photos for example).
Uproov has many features and is light years ahead of any other systems that can only be used for time stamping and “locking” a pre-existing file. (We will however also be offering the free web based service for existing media very shortly.)
Up until now the focus has been on editing, photo-shopping and enhancing images making it difficult to know what is real or fake anymore. Uproov for the first reverses this process and brings a new level of authenticity and integrity to live images and videos that simply was not possible before.
Please also have a look at the latest use cases we have on our website uproov.com, Some of the videos give you a small idea of how it can be used. We think Uproov’s uses are countless and can’t wait to see it in the hands of more and more users. We have had a great early take up rate already, especially in the USA.
We feel Uproov is quite revolutionary and its importance should not be underestimated. Imagine turning on the news and seeing a verified Uproov video of a recent incident that occurred somewhere and then going to the Uproov website and watching the video again to make sure the one you saw previously was the full unedited version displayed as it was filmed. The possibilities are endless!
ACN: What sort of value proposition is time stamping photos and videos?
There are many reasons, from proving facts, copyright to proving condition etc.
It creates indisputable proof, previously the domain of law enforcement, private investigators and lawyers. A uproov video is a much more advanced form of evidence than relying on the word of a police department for example. Of course the Police do a fantastic job in general, but in many places they suffer from corruption and this technology can be effectively used to reduce or eliminate corruption. Its use is vety much in tbe public interest, especially in less advanced countries.
Some examples of what else it can do:
• Prove pre-existing damage on a rental car, ride share, hire equipment or Airbnb property. Just click a picture, no need to even upload the image. No more fines from rental car companies for damage you didn’t do, saving yourself the expenses and arguments.
• Especially useful if you have to drop off goods and there is no-one there to sign it off as received or undamaged. I.e for logistics or delivery companies who can now prove they dropped of that package, where, and when, with just one click.
• Prove your goods were in a certain location or at a certain time, or what they looked like – or where they were using the geo location.
• Improved more transparent logistics and for cleaning companies proving before / after their services.
• Quickly take pictures of your valuables, or car wreck even, in case you need to make an insurance claim. Now indisputable.
• Prove your photo or request someone else’s on a dating site
• Prove the condition of your item on Ebay or Alibaba, easy now.
• Photograph someone being somewhere where they shouldn’t be?
• Spotted a rare bird or caught a huge fish? The time stamp and or optional geo location will boost your photo or video claims immeasurably.
• Law enforcement can now be more transparent too and the public can be the benefactors.
Not only that, you can now also get instant Copyright of your art, documents and creations by Uproov’ing a photo of it. This allows you to license or trade it. A digital address is attached to every photo taken by Uproov, for which only you get the private key.
This ground breaking technology means it will be very difficult to argue against a Uproov photo or video, as an encryption key is permanently time-stamped instantly into the blockchain, making it unchangeable and the perfect court evidence if need be. Even the threat of a Uproov image could end a potential dispute without the need for a court room.
Recordings taken through the Uproov App are tamper-proof and therefore any changes to even just one pixel or byte renders the recording invalid, as it is checked against its blockchain record written from the original picture you took with Uproov. This means that for the first time you really can be sure that an image or video recording really is true – unedited – and completely original.
Uproov also allows the mobile notarizing of any document on your smartphone such as a will, confidentiality agreement or other legal documents. Any video that was uprooved can’t lie. Can’t have bits missing and can’t be edited. Imagine confidentiality agreements being time stamped to the nearest second.
Helps to protect against litigation in the rapidly emerging sharing economy. No more fines from rental car companies for damage you didn’t do, saving yourself the expenses and arguments.
ACN: What is your pricing for blockchain stamping media?
The App is free to download and you receive 20 free credits. You can also upgrade to the Pro version for $2.99/month which gives you additional features and more free uses.
ACN: Who do you see as your target customers?
See uses cases above but it is a consumer product as well as an enterprise product. We are already in talks and trials with numerous companies.
ACN: Can you explain what you are offering Avis?
We are currently talking to a number of enterprise customers and a local Avis depot is one of them. Sorry it’s a little early to discuss the details. In terms of car rental companies, we think it will be most useful in the hands of their customers yet extremely useful for rental enterprises that suffer a fair amount of damage. Supercar hire firms for example are ideal, and their customers as much or even more so. They can protect themselves from being blamed and billed for damage they were not responsible for.
ACN: What kind of funding do you have at this stage and what are you looking for?
We have raised a few hundred thousand dollars and have spent very little of it. We run a very tight ship and the team has equity incentives. We would love to partner with a big experienced investor that understands our sector and is not too short term or dominating, to accelerate our growth rate and expect this will inevitably happen soon. We have some local firms looking at us already but Australia is no match for the experienced deep pool of investors in the USA. We are just not yet well connected to them. In fact, we plan to create a presence in New York or California in Q1/Q2 2016. Its all about risk and reward of course and not unsurprisingly many investors only want to invest when you don’t need it or when growth is too good to sell more equity. We now have a super motivated diverse team of 6 people and some very successful private Australian shareholders that bring additional experience and guidance to the board so we have been a very creative little company to date with an awesome work ethic.
ACN: Did you apply for your patent in Australia?
Yes but it is virtually the same as if we had applied in the USA, it applies to numerous aspects of the technology and is valid for over 140 countries.
ACN: Why use the Bitcoin blockchain and not other blockchains?
It’s by far the most trusted. We believe many others will come and go, however bitcoin’s blockchain has the best track record and is the most decentilised. It also has the most distributed ledger and network hashing power. We have been experimenting with numerous blockchains for some time including Etherium, which we really like but is still quite early stage compared to Bitcoin. We note a similar quite advanced start up we are friendly with just switched to Bitcoin’s blockchain after a year using an altcoin Blockchain. They concluded too much mining power was in the hands of a single group of miners in one foreign country, this means a blockchain is then essentially unsafe as its longest chain could be outrun or the used protocol varied. By aligning with Bitcoins superb blockchain, we feel it adds to Uproov’s overall product integrity.