Jörg Schieb explained the development and background to the current hype in the tech and financial world and listed the effects that blockchain will have on society and industry and the influence it could also have on the online print industry. ” blockchain will not only change the way production processes work but could also replace paper and printing. But before it can enter the mainstream, it has to be established where the benefits for the individual actor really arise – be it companies, end customers or technology providers,” says Schieb.

“There are opportunities in the blockchain concept for us all. Because blockchain is an extremely interesting technology,” explained ARD digital expert Jörg Schieb. 

Those who want to understand blockchain, however, have to rethink, said Jörg Schieb. “Because the mechanisms and the way it works are different from what we have seen so far. Data is no longer stored centrally in one database, but in many at the same time. Everything is securely encrypted and chained. Change or manipulate a transaction afterwards? Not possible,” says ARD expert and author for digital topics. That is also what makes blockchain so charming. Procedures are transparent and transactions are safe from manipulation. This alone makes blockchain attractive in many areas. Online business and trade could switch to crypto currencies, payment with credit cards etc. It could become even simpler and more secure – as could the electronic identity card.

That means there are a lot of chances in it. German companies are currently developing solutions that could soon be of interest worldwide and are developing into an enormous competitive advantage – particularly in the printing industry. ” This is because on the one hand blockchain can replace paper and printing, but on the other hand it can also accelerate and make processes in the production chain more secure,” analyzed Schieb.

Blockchain in the media world

Currently, many industries and companies are thinking about how they can use the blockchain technology to their advantage. Soon it could become standard practice to transfer and hand over data using blockchain technology – and thus protect it from manipulation. “This will happen sooner or later – sooner rather than later! – a challenge for the printing industry as well. Not only to exchange data in the production chain via blockchain, but also to ensure that the information to be printed is transmitted in encrypted form and is tamper-proof.

If texts, photos, graphics or other contents are transmitted via blockchain, it is possible to trace who sent which data and who may have made corrections up until the printing presses are turned on. It is then impossible for unauthorized persons to change anything – for example, to exchange a word or replace a picture. “I can easily imagine that it will soon be a standard requirement to support blockchain in Print because it often involves sensitive data and processes,” Jörg Schieb explained.

However, blockchain could also have a considerable influence on the way photographs are handled, which are now purchased from picture agencies. “In the future, all those who need photos could help themselves to a pool of offered photos and pay the photographers directly via Smart Contracts. The same with texts. So it is important for the printing industry to be integrated in this process,” says Schieb.

“Intermediaries are becoming less important. Authors could be paid for their texts, while readers could simply pay. The same applies to music, videos and other content. It will become easier to offer the content and earn a profit from it. Everyone can see who owns the content – and whether it has been manipulated. There will be interesting opportunities for all of us.”