Developed by Sebastiaan van der Lans, WordProof represents a powerful toolkit that provides answers to age-old industry problems. By leveraging his expertise and experience with WordPress – the open source content management software empowering 34.5% of the web – and merging it with EOSIO™ blockchain technology, their tools have the potential to improve the security and accountability of internet content by introducing trusted timestamping for hundreds of millions of users.
How would you describe WordProof?
WordProof is bringing the benefits of blockchain to the world of content, empowering consumers and content creators with the tools to build a safer and more trustworthy internet, starting with WordPress, which powers over one-third of the internet today.
The internet has deep-rooted problems that grow daily: distrust, plagiarism, and fake news. We want to create a new standard for a more reliable and trustworthy internet, with the help of EOSIO blockchain technology.
WordPress already powers more than a third of all webpages on the internet, which makes it a natural and impactful starting point to bring the benefits of EOSIO blockchain technology to millions of websites and hundreds of millions of users.
Our first solution, Wordproof Timestamp, achieves this by allowing content creators to claim ownership and show transparency regarding alterations of their content. Website visitors can then do their own due diligence to determine who owns the content, and if they can be held accountable.
Discerning ownership and accountability, combined with trusted timestamping, enables more trust online, and in turn, a more reliable internet.
After launching the WordProof Timestamp for WordPress plugins, WordProof has started to work on supporting non-WordPress websites as well.
Both WordPress-websites and non-WordPress websites can use the We Stamp For You-service, which automatically timestamps all content in the background.
Editors and website-owners no longer need to be able to manage keys and operate a blockchain wallet to experience the power of blockchain.
What inspired you to create WordProof?
We have worked with WordPress software for many years, and we think that its success comes mostly from its strong and diverse community.
Open source software (like WordPress) allows people to coalesce around concepts and projects in a powerful and unique way. Blockchain technology shares these ideals with WordPress, and EOSIO features one of the strongest and most positive communities.
We hope to use EOSIO technology and bring the openness and transparency of WordPress to everything else in the world.
Can you introduce your team and tell us what makes it special?
Sebastiaan van der Lans, Founder: A successful entrepreneur with a proven background in open-source software, he is the founder of the first and biggest Dutch WordPress agency Van Ons (2006), which created the WordPress GDPR Compliance plugin (100K active users, 1.2M downloads). Now he aims to bring WordPress to the blockchain.
Marijn Bent, Development: A developer with experience in both WordPress and blockchain platforms. Marjin wants to lay the foundations for a new internet. Sebastiaan and Marijn have been working together since 2016 on several innovative products at Van Ons.
Jelle van der Schoot, Product: He founded the biggest Dutch blog about WordPress at a young age and authored a book about it. Today he dreams of the public using the power of blockchain technology, especially people who are not tech-savvy.
Frank van Dalen, Head of Business: After an education in IT, Frank started his career at Procter & Gamble. He sold his first company in 2006 and then founded a data-driven company focused on politics and activism. He is now active as a hands-on angel investor in WordProof, and in human rights for international organizations.
Julian Sanjivan, Project Manager: An Executive Board Member with New York City Pride, heading the annual NYC Pride March. Julian brings 15 years of experience to WordProof of managing the various facets of a successful organization including program development, strategic planning, human resources, finance, sales, and marketing.
“What makes our team special is the extensive track record in both open-source as well as in communications and community.” – Sebastiaan van der Lans
What stage is Wordproof at and what are your plans for scaling?
We have completed testing of the product with around 50 testers, and have presented the blockchain timestamp service project to 2500 developers at the biggest WordPress event in Europe, the WordCamp Europe conference.
The WordProof Timestamp plugin is available now on WordPress.org and we are working on several big improvements to it. We are also developing solutions for non-WordPress websites and services so they can timestamp with WordProof as well. After talking with hundreds of publishers and other interested parties, we noticed that many did not want every editor to have a personal blockchain account and most parties thought managing a blockchain account and operating a wallet was still difficult.
This is why we developed the We Stamp For You service, which automatically timestamps new content on the background using a special Timestamp-key.
Besides that, we have decentralized WordPress hosting on the roadmap – as more than 70% of WordPress sites are vulnerable to common attacks, blockchain could make a big difference here.
We are also actively looking to form partnerships with impactful companies around the world to empower the public and website owners with the tools to build and run a more reliable internet.
Why did you decide to use blockchain technology, and specifically EOSIO?
Blockchain technology is able to prove trust, which is a unique ability and something which will have a huge impact on online content management and publishing.
EOSIO, like WordPress itself, is open source, which makes the ecosystem more collaborative and transparent. The fast block times (0.5 seconds) of EOSIO blockchains are crucial – the world of online content moves quickly, and 20 minutes is too long to wait for content to be protected.
We also love that EOSIO blockchains do not charge fees to end-users. We believe that proving your integrity should be free, if it is to be scalable. The main focus of our products is accessibility, and the advantages of EOSIO blockchains mentioned make it the ideal blockchain software for us to build with to reach an internet-scale user base.
How has the EOSIO Community responded to your project?
We were initially funded by a Telos Worker Proposal grant, which was the first one to successfully fund a new open-source initiative. We have been featured by community publications like Everything EOS and The EOS Writer.
Interestingly, we have had interest from the WordPress community as well, being covered in a leading WordPress blog.
In fact, the co-founder of WordPress, Matt Mullenweg, even said WordProof is “one of the coolest things” he has seen so far in the overlap between blockchain and WordPress!
What industries stand to benefit most from using WordProof?
While practically every industry which uses the internet can benefit from increased transparency and provenance of content, we see four industries which stand to gain the most from using WordProof technology:
- Legal and Medical
Consumers should be 100% sure that medical or legal advice online has not been tampered with, and that the issuer of the advice takes responsibility and can be held accountable for dispensing it.
Consumers should know exactly what they agreed to (purchases, terms and conditions) and should be able to hold websites accountable if the agreement is breached.
- Public Institutions
When governments and municipalities disseminate information to the public, the public should be able to trust this information and verify its authenticity.
Consumers should be able to see who the creator of the content is, and what edits or adaptations have been made, and exactly when.
Where do you see WordProof Trusted Timestamping in the future?
Change online is inevitable at this point: trust is in decline and the public is losing faith in things that have let them down repeatedly.
We believe blockchain timestamping should and will become a web standard, and WordProof is providing the foundations for this to happen. We want to see WordProof playing a vital role in active collaboration between the WordPress and EOSIO communities to build a safer and more reliable internet.
More information on WordProof is available at: https://wordproof.io
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