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Totem, a blockchain-enabled stock photo service, launched by Baidu

A blockchain based service for stock photos, Totem, was launched by Baidu, as reported by The application provides assistance in managing intellectual property right for photos. Totem was released on April 11, 2018, to combat issues related to the use of intellectual property rights in China.

Before Totem, Baidu launched Laici Gou that allowed Chinese citizens to adopt, breed and even trade digital puppies. Being based on the blockchain technology Laici Go worked like a similar program, called CryptoKitties.

Totem uses the breakthrough technology to timestamp every image stored in its user base. The application adds the user’s real name into a public blockchain in real time. The information is freely available in public space which allows people to view the ownership of each photograph the view.

Also, Toetm’s artificial intelligence undertakes a thorough scan of its ledger before proving intellectual rights to any image. If a copy already exists on the platform, the user is denied any exclusive rights to the image. In order to minimize error Totem will scan the internet to ensure the legitimacy of the image.

Company’s official statement read, “The copyright information will be permanently written into the blockchain and cannot be tampered with and when combined with Baidu’s leading artificial intelligence map technology advantages the dissemination of works can be traced, can be reproduced, can be monitored, and this will change the traditional picture copyright protection model.”

Totem will create a page dedicated to original work which would be available for probable clients. The application will also feature ‘Picture Encyclopedia,’ a collection of images that are exclusively owned by a user. It aims to help photographers in building brands by using related Baidu internet services. Totem has requested interested photographers to submit real name certification which will be analyzed within three days.

It is not the first time a blockchain based photo sharing service has been launched. Selfllery is becoming hugely popular as it provides digital tokens for using and sharing images on its platform. One such service, SteemPhotos focuses on rewarding photographers and content creators for their work using the Steem blockchain.

According to news published in the, Baidu did not publish detailed information about the technology used to carry Totem’s operations. The official website does not feature any white paper which has confused people about the type of blockchain Baidu will be using.  The tech giant has already joined hands with View Stock,, and Gaopin and has listed many photographers that appear to have signed-up for the service.

Being backed by Baidu Totem has the resources and direction to take blockchain technology to another level. Its success will inspire other companies in mainstreaming blockchain in the copyright space. On the other hand, the application is capable of settling claims between users while providing an opportunity to generate revenue for photographer and content creators. China has given green signal to blockchain based projects and is trying to use the technology on as many platforms as possible.

About the author


Prateek Kulhari

Prateek is a business editor who writes about various topics such as technology, health and finance. At Pressly, he works along with the colourful folks that build a nation through tech startups. He is also a professional football player and video games enthusiast.