What is Po.et (A Guide for Beginners)

Aug 21, 2019 · 7 min read

There’s an old adage that constantly makes its rounds in marketing circles: on the internet, content is king. And it’s true. Content arguably drives everything online, be it written blog posts or articles, images or videos. This brings up many issues: how do you prove that you are the content creator or curator of something?; how can someone verify that it is factual and true?; how reputable is the source of information?; and so on. Po.et aims to help the end-user solve for these questions and more.

Over the last few years, we’ve released a lot of content around the technical nuts and bolts that power and make up our protocol; we’ve also had a lot of thought leadership from the team about where Po.et fits into content discovery, media, IP, and the web of the future, amongst other things. While many of these concepts make sense to those familiar with the technical fundamentals of blockchain, the road to adoption is never so cut and dry. One of the main goals of the project was to make the protocol completely open-source and available to anyone who wanted to use our code for their own projects. And we mean everyone no matter if you’re technically-minded or someone else who is just discovering Po.et and trying to understand how it can help you.

But before we can dive into just what Po.et is, it’s important to have a basic understanding of blockchain.

What is Blockchain?

According to the Coin Center, the one-sentence explainer for “what is blockchain” is the technology that allows “connected computers to reach agreement over shared data.”

  • True to the name, each blockchain maintains blocks, a growing list of recent transactions. Each block contains its own unique timestamp which links to a previous one, therefore chaining each block together. Each step of this process uses cryptography to ensure that the data is tamper-resistant and secure.
  • The computers (or “nodes”) that store the blockchain communicate directly with each other, sending transactions to each other directly. Because there is no middle-man server that every transaction must go through, the data cannot be controlled by any individual person.
  • The way they agree on what should be stored is called consensus. The rules for consensus are written into the software that each node runs. Each “brand” of blockchain can have its own way to create consensus and is generally what makes each one special in some way.

Blockchain technology, such as Bitcoin, is typically thought of as a type of money, but there are multiple non-financial ways for blockchains to be used, too. After all, it’s simply a large, secure database. We’ve seen many different applications but it has been especially attractive for things like property deeds, medical records and, yes, content ownership.

We’ve often spoken at length about the impact of false narratives and often wondered what content on the internet might look like if it came with a nutritional label. This would help consumers and publishers discover and reward content that was high-quality and reputable.

Po.et works as an open, universal ledger that records immutable and timestamped information about your creative content onto a blockchain.

Using digital signatures in conjunction with blockchain technology, our protocol allows content creators to sign, permanently record, and timestamp claims about their content. Po.et leverages four important technologies: content hashing, digital signatures, decentralized storage, and blockchain anchoring. You can take a deeper dive into each of these technologies here.

Po.et is building a better web. The better web is personalized, decentralized, and permissionless.

In the beginning, the internet was seen as the “great equalizer”. Presumably, all users across the globe had access to the same content. As we referenced earlier, that content is often quite vast. Whether it’s Facebook, Twitter, Youtube, Netflix, Google, or some other site, there’s a lot of noise.

Personalization has become the lens through which we view the internet and it’s no secret that websites have created an online universe that is as tailored to you as your fingerprint. But the algorithms that create that customized experience come a price, be it privacy, corporate influence (see: Cambridge Analytica, for example), an “online echo chamber”, or something else. People choose the online experience they want, sometimes regardless of the validity or transparency of the information, they are receiving.

At Po.et, we are working to build a different kind of online experience where control over content is put back into the user’s hands, free from the influence of corporations and “big tech” algorithms.

Benefits of using Po.et

  • Fight false narratives: When a claim is uploaded to the Po.et network, it begins to build reputation over time. A user can build credibility by demonstrating a history of positive interactions, contributions, and predictions. These reputation signals determine whether or not you can trust a source, author, editor, etc. If someone comes out with an outrageous article but the author and publication have no reputation, you can use that as a signal to ignore it.
  • IP protection: By making a claim about your content on Po.et, you can prove that you owned, or were in possession of, a digital asset at a given time. This can be used as strong evidence for trademark and copyright enforcement.
  • Censorship resistant: With Po.et, there is no single entity in control of the data. You are able to easily publish content and make claims that can’t be taken down or censored by governments or organizations.
  • Build new business models: By using Po.et, new business models can be built where each content creator and publisher maintain their own reputations.

If you look hard enough, you’ll see Po.et at the beginning of a spectacular journey that enables completely new stories that will shape the decentralized web:

Put together your own search engine ranking system by picking highly trusted curators that only use high-quality content

Creators can invest in validating claims about their content to ensure its authenticity, originality, and subject matter in order to make more money

Brands can be sure that their logo is only being used against approved pieces of content

Find other people trying to claim your content as their own to protect your intellectual property

Establish a provable chain of custody for your academic paper

Marketplaces that fight for your listings and reward loyalty”

David Turner, Head of Product

This all sounds great. How do I use Po.et?

The easiest way to interact with Po.et is through the Works Explorer. Read this for a deeper dive on how to get started with the works explorer and the motivation behind it. Basic timestamping and claims are available for free to all users. For premium features, like making claims about photos, videos, or audio files, users must prove ownership of at least 1000 POE. Here are instructions on how to “Proof of Poe” and make a claim about your first audio/video/image file.

In order to easily view claims and content on the Po.et Network, Explorer Web is a web front-end linked to a node that can retrieve and display those claims and works.

How to Upload a Binary File

  • The first step is creating an account on poetnetwork.net. It’s as simple as providing us with an email and password.

2.) Confirm your email address

  • You will receive an email from contact@po.et to the email address you provided asking to confirm your email.

3.) Generate an API key

The next step is to generate an API key. Make sure you are logged in, and then:

  • Click your user icon in the top right
  • Click API keys
  • Click create API token

4.) Download Metamask (If you are holding POE in a Ledger or Trezor you can skip this step)

  • Add Metamask extension to your browser
  • Send at least 1000 POE to your Metamask wallet

5.) Connect your wallet

  • Click your user icon in the top right
  • Click settings
  • Scroll to “connect your wallet” and click the “connect with myetherwallet” button
  • Copy the message from the modal
  • Go to myetherwallet.com
  • Click “access my wallet”
  • Choose which wallet and allow mew to access your wallet
  • Click “message” on the left nav bar, and click sign message
  • Paste the message you received from poetnetwork into the message field and click sign
  • Metamask should pop up and ask you to sign the message
  • After you click sign, click “confirm signing” on MEW
  • Copy the signed message from MEW
  • Paste the signed message into the signed message field on the poetnetwork site and click connect your wallet

6.) Add POE to your wallet

  • If you already have 1000 POE in your connected wallet, you are good to go! If not, transfer POE from a wallet you already have or check here to find out where you can purchase some.

7.) Upload File

Now that your wallet is connected with a minimum balance of 1000 POE you are ready to upload your first binary file.

  • Click the upload file button and select your file.
  • Add any extra metadata in the fields provided, and click submit!

If you have any questions about implementing Po.et or how you can use it for your own creative works, feel free to reach out to us directly via email, tweet us, or stop by our Telegram page.

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