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Online Stocks Platform Sells Invisible Watermark Protected Images Priced Over $11,000 per Piece

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Hammer - Sputnik International, 1920, 06.08.2021
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The sale comes after a recent surge of interest in buying digitally protected art, prompted by the increasing popularity of non-fungible tokens (NFTs) - another product of blockchain technology allowing people to buy and sell the "original" unit of a digital piece of information, including images.
Online platform for selling stock photos, 10props, has boasted of selling two digital images at an auction for a record-breaking $11,040 and $12,025. The service allows its users not only to buy photos at prices competitive with that of larger stock bases, but also to bid on certain masterpiece images voted up by netizens.
The 10props auction lasted for three days, ending on 1 August, and featured 100 photos, which the users of the platforms selected out of 5,000 pieces using a system of "props" – a local equivalent of likes issued to netizens on a daily basis in limited quantities.
A total of 60 images went under the hammer and into private digital collections. Their average price went over $1,000 and the prices of the top two out of said 60 images – "Violinist" by Kobby Dallas of Ghana and the "Red Airplane" by Katerina Semerova of Ukraine – reached the level of sales seen in the world’s premier auction houses, the company said in its release.
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The authors of the photos will get 60% of the top bids for their works. The remaining 40% will be shared among the platform's users – another feature of 10props. Specifically, it will be distributed between the people who voted up the sold works allowing them to make it into the auction.
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While the sold photos are not blockchain-protected like the non-fungible tokens (NFTs), which enjoyed a spike in popularity recently, they are protected nonetheless. Upon sale at the auction, each image is branded with steganography – a pixel-level watermark, which is invisible to the eye, but can be detected by special means in order to determine the ownership over the digital piece of art in case of a leak.
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