Microsoft Wants to Fight Piracy With Ethereum-Based Bounty System

Jafrin  |  Aug 16, 2021

Microsoft’s new proposal suggests fighting piracy with a blockchain-based bounty system called Argus in exchange for rewards. Argus is an Ethereum based blockchain that incentivizes the anonymous reporters of piracy with bounties in an effort to bring piracy efforts down.

Microsoft Wants to Fight Piracy With Ethereum

In a new paper released by Microsoft’s research department, with the participation from Alibaba and Carnegie Mellon University, Microsoft proposed a blockchain-based incentive system called Argus to combat anti-piracy.

Argus is a transparent system that uses proof of leakage, where each report of leaked content involves an information-hiding procedure. This way, only the informer can report the same watermarked copy without actually owning it.

 “With the security and practicality of Argus, we hope real-world antipiracy campaigns will be truly effective by shifting to a fully transparent incentive mechanism,” reads the report.

While pointing the flaws of the Ethereum network fees, Microsoft stated that the team optimized several cryptographic operations “so that the cost for piracy reporting is reduced to an equivalent cost of sending about 14 ETH-transfer transactions to run on the public Ethereum network, which would otherwise correspond to thousands of transactions.”

Argus is Superior to Custos

Despite Argus being an open system, there are various loopholes to prevent misuse. For instance, there is no point in reporting the same pirated copy multiple times under different aliases, as this will only reduce the reward.

Despite this, Microsoft’s research finds that Argus is superior to Custos’ solution as it can assess the severity of the piracy and the strength of the allegations. At the same time, they find Argus is better than BSA’s campaigns because the reward payments are transparent.

Highlighting the necessity of transparent, the report read:

 “Industrial alliances and companies run anti-piracy incentive campaigns, the effectiveness of which is publicly questioned due to a lack of transparency. We believe that full transparency of a campaign is necessary in order to really stimulate people. ”

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