This goes way beyond art. We’d like to change the Internet. Today, artists, designers and creative workers can share easily on the Internet, but keeping it as “theirs” with proper attribution or getting fairly compensated has proven difficult. At the same time, people that want to support creators haven’t been presented with a simple way of doing so.
How do you “own” something when bits can be copied freely?
ascribe was established to put creators back at the center. The Internet was built with a crucial flaw and while a redesign is wildly impractical, we can retrofit it by adding an overlay. We’re building the ownership layer of the Internet.
Digital content has its own rules. It can be perfectly and easily copied, stored for free and transmitted at the speed of light. With ascribe you’re offered the closest approximation to ownership possible on the Internet. We do this by giving you the tools to lock in authorship, set the intent and gain visibility into where your work spreads.
Our mission: to give everyone the power to own and control their intellectual property in the digital age.
ascribe was founded by Trent McConaghy, Bruce Pon and Masha McConaghy in Berlin, the city that best represents the intersection of new media art and tech.
It all started with a conversation in 2013 after a gallery visit. Trent was gushing about Bitcoin and the blockchain when Masha wondered out loud, not for the first time, why it was not possible to buy digital art and truly own it. With neurons about the blockchain and digital art firing at once, the two wondered if the combination could help pull art ownership into the 21st century, when so many artists are working with digital processes. Can you own digital art the way you own Bitcoins?
While Trent started building a prototype, they brought it to Bruce. With his expertise in building companies around the world, Bruce helped them expand the scope by asserting that all digital intellectual property is an asset. The three started sharing ideas and having conversations that would eventually become the foundation of ascribe. In August 2014, ascribe was incorporated and the three set out on their most daring mission yet.
In summer 2014 they officially founded ascribe. In March 2015 they quietly launched. Leading artists, museums and marketplaces started using the service, from Jonathan Monaghan to MAK Vienna to Cointemporary. The service is tuned for artists, but is suitable for all sorts of creatives from photographers to 3D designers.
Since then over 5,000 creators have declared 10,000 digital works and 40,000 unique editions. Furthermore, a dozen marketplaces and platforms have signed-on to work with ascribe via their API.
The ascribe team has built over a dozen companies and has decades of experience in technology, art, law and finance. We are based in Berlin, the city that best represents the intersection of new media art and tech. Here is our founding team: