Microsoft and Ernst & Young – Business on the Blockchain

3 min read

Hey everybody! Welcome back to Business on the Blockchain — the series where we explore existing businesses starting to research and implement blockchain technology. However, today we’re not going to be covering a business that’s exploring the blockchain. No! We’re covering three giant businesses creating a partnership to create a blockchain application.

Streamlining Rights and Royalties

The first couple need no introduction. Microsoft and Ernst & Young have announced their intention to create a blockchain solution designed to manage content rights and royalties. According to an Ernst & Young statement, the solution is:

“Aiming to streamline the costly and time-consuming processes in entertainment rights and royalties, the solution is first being deployed within gaming with Microsoft and its game publisher partners.”

Royalty distribution is a multibillion dollar industry. The publishing and entertainment industry is wide ranging. Music, TV, movies, books…. Most of the deals and contracts surrounding these industries include structured royalty payments, continued payouts depending on use of the content. When a TV show gets syndicated each actor continues to get paid out in royalties, the key members of the project have the opportunity to get paid with continued use.

However, the problem is that these payment structures are complex, and they all depend on trust. The actors have to trust the studios to correctly report their revenue in order to make sure they get their fair cut.

This inevitably leads to disputes and the only real winners in the scenario are the lawyers who charge exorbitant fees to help settle these disputes. But Microsoft and Ernst & Young are trying to limit the amount of trust that has to go into these royalty deals.

Smart Contracts to the Rescue

We’ve covered Microsoft’s Quorum blockchain. Quorum is a private blockchain solution, in that the information exchanged is private to permissioned parties. In these types of deals, the parties involved are often public, contrary to an unpermissioned blockchains semi-anonymous nature.

Both organizations plan to use smart contracts on the Quorum blockchain in order to allow blockchain to address these issues surrounding entertainment and content publishing.

You might be asking, where’s the third organization involved? You also might have realized that neither Microsoft or E&Y publish their own content. Even most Xbox games are made by outside development studios. And that’s where Ubisoft is coming in.

Collaboration for the Win

Ubisoft is a popular game developer. They are the minds behind game series such Assassin’s Creed and Far Cry. To put it in context, they are a major player in the industry with a lot of name recognition.

Therefore, you have three very large organizations dedicated to sharing their resources to explore a real world blockchain solution. And to me that is so relieving. So much of this space is still conceptual, but we’re at the point where applications are popping up. The technology is being explored and tested.

Could projects like this be a tipping point for the industry? Or have we already reached that tipping point? We’re several episodes into Business on the Blockchain, and looking back we’ve covered some huge entities. The businesses have obviously been intrigued by what the technology can bring, and they have decided to spearhead pioneering projects to address real world issues with blockchains.

Without a doubt, you can say Microsoft and Ernst & Young, along with Ubisoft, are all advancing business on the blockchain.