Microsoft and Alibaba Researchers Detail Ethereum-Based Anti-Piracy System


Researchers from Microsoft, Alibaba, and Carnegie Mellon have published a paper detailing an anti-piracy system based on blockchain technology.


A group of researchers from Microsoft, Alibaba, and Carnegie Mellon University has published a research paper discussing a blockchain-based anti-piracy campaign system called Argus. The system is based on Ethereum and is a completely transparent incentive and more effective than current anti-piracy initiatives.

Saying they see current anti-piracy efforts and challenges as a distribution problem, the researchers propose a network with transparent incentive mechanisms that “consolidate the interest of all roles.” By roles, they refer to various stakeholders, including owners and licensees. Regarding the objectives, the document says:

“The basis of Argus is to formulate the objectives of completely transparent incentive mechanisms, which safely and completely consolidate the different interests of all the roles”.

In simplified terms, the mechanism is designed to encourage the open population to report pirated copies to the system. In traditional anti-piracy efforts, this has relied on trustworthy systems based on good faith reports from system stakeholders.


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But the Argus system removes trust from the setup, making anti-piracy efforts more effective. The researchers also said that the solution has high performance and efficiency, with off-chain performance of 82.6 data exchanges per second per machine. The on-chain cost is roughly equivalent to sending 14 ETH transfer transactions per report on the public Ethereum blockchain , they add.


The researchers also note its improvements to several key operations, including Sybil’s incentive test feature, a confirmation and disclosure scheme, and an unconscious transfer scheme.

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Microsoft continues to dabble in blockchain

This is not the first time that Microsoft has worked with blockchain technology. There have been numerous reports of the company using technology to implement business-focused solutions.

Among these R&D efforts are a decentralized identity system and an NFT rewards system in partnership with Enjin. Its Azure Blockchain services had caused quite a stir in the market when it was first announced, even though it shut down a few months ago in May 2021.

However, like most big tech companies, Microsoft is cautious about examining and using blockchain-based systems. The company’s president, Brad Smith, still believes that governments should issue foreign currency and companies should refrain from doing so.

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