Introducing Witness

Sina Sabet and Joe Coll

Feb 15, 2024

Witness is an onchain R&D company focused on accelerating the adoption of digital ownership and advancing how we create, verify, and share digital content. Today, we’re excited to introduce Witness and announce our seed round led by Haun Ventures, with participation from Coinbase Ventures and an amazing group of angels. 

We’re building Witness because our world is struggling to coordinate online. The platforms we use to create and share digital content lack the means or incentives to issue digital ownership to users and creators. As we attempt to coordinate across siloed platforms, the ability to trace and verify ownership disappears entirely. With the rapid advancement of AI, the production of convincing forgeries is only accelerating, adding more fuel to the fire in the form of misinformation and deepfakes. Without scalable access to digital ownership, we are increasingly fooled by the very content we create and consume.

In this new world, the ability for anyone to issue, receive, and verify digital ownership is crucial. While public blockchains have long promised solutions to this problem, they lack the scale required for mass adoption. Upfront costs add onboarding friction, high fees limit use cases, and dynamic pricing restricts the ability for products to scale. As onchain developers ourselves, we’ve observed and experienced this friction firsthand. At Witness, our mission is to extend access to the core utility of public blockchains - digital ownership - at any scale.

Our first product, Witness Protocol, introduces a free way to issue digital ownership using existing blockchains. When you submit data to Witness, you receive a proof of when your data was witnessed onchain without paying a transaction fee. Combining this proof with the underlying data produces Witnessed data. Despite existing offchain by default, anyone with access can verify that Witnessed data has not been tampered with since it was issued. Even without decentralized storage or availability guarantees, Witnessed data is sovereign and portable. Not only does this unlock new methods of coordination between offchain applications, it uniquely empowers novel composability between Witnessed data and onchain smart contracts. With Witness, applications and users can issue and claim digital property at any scale. 

Here are a few examples of what can be empowered by Witness:

  • Social networks can transform user engagement into digital property for every action by default.

    • If every Farcaster interaction was witnessed, any developer could verifiably award NFTs to the first 1k subscribers to a Farcaster channel or followers of a Farcaster account.

  • Applications can issue any user activity on their platforms as digital property  

    • Coinbase can witness millions of attestations to indicate active users across their platform. They can use these attestations to award users with gas rebates on Base and other networks can leverage them across the Superchain.

  • Creator platforms can issue ownership for even the smallest of user actions such as likes, comments, and views

    • can witness higher fidelity engagement such as listens and artists can leverage the witnessed data to grant access to future onchain drops.

This protocol represents our first step towards a future where digital ownership is not only accessible, but actively incentivized. To learn more, visit our website or check out our documentation to begin using the protocol across Ethereum, Optimism and Base today. If you are motivated by our mission, we are hiring engineers and would love to chat. Follow Witness on X or Farcaster to track our future product releases and announcements.

-Sina.eth and 0xOsprey.eth - Witnessed on Feb 15, 2024 04:28:13 PM

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