Philip Saunders, a blockchain developer at EY’s lab, has developed a Public Object Provenance Registry (POPR) that uses the Ethereum Name Service (ENS) for ownership identification of any valued object.
Otherwise known as provenance, proving ownership of valued objects and how such ownership has changed can be a difficult task with many thinking blockchain technology may significantly assist.
Towards that aim, Saunders has used ENS to give objects a URI that looks very much like a domain name such as popr://museum.eth/shelf/object.
Once a project is thoroughly photographed, it is stored on IPFS, and permanently linked to a POPR certificate that contains the address of the owner and two IPFS links:
The watermark document contains specific details about the object and is inserted into the certificate by the owner using the certify() method in the registry contract.
“Uploading and hosting IPFS docs, lookups, and interacting with ENS and POPR at the same time, as well as a front-end directory for the public.”
Once the object is certified, anyone can see and check its ownership, allowing for an easier identification of theft, which may act as a preventive measure.
It can also help in differentiating fake pieces of art from originals, with many more wider uses in high value goods, precious metals, and even food supply chains.
The latter has been one of the first industry to explore blockchain technology, especially in how it can streamline the international shipping of goods.
Kuehne & Nagel, for example, which is the world’s largest freight company, started using blockchain technology for smarter identification all the way back in early 2016, with many others joining them since.
But unlike previous smart identification projects, POPR seems to take a different approach in linking objects to the Ethereum Name Service rather than the blockchain directly, potentially showing a new way of dealing with a very old problem.