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Author Topic: New? idea: Gamecoins  (Read 1204 times)
Klestin
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June 15, 2011, 04:47:40 PM
 #1

Apologize if this has bee discussed before, but if so I missed it.  With the recent uptick in discussion on namecoins, I began to wonder if a similar system couldn't be used for software licensing (especially PC games and shareware programs.)

For want of a better name, I'll refer to these as gamecoins, but keep in mind they could be used for any licensed software.

Similar to namecoins, gamecoins would share much of the architecture design of bitcoins, would be purchased only for bitcoins, and mine-able as well.

A software developer who desires to offer his software for gamecoins would set a price for a) new licenses, and b) license transfers.  They may set a 0 price for transfers, in which case they make income only off the initial purchase.  Or, they may set a transfer price (fixed or percentage of sale) for transfers, in which case they make a continuing trickle as their game spreads, rather than filling the coffers of Gamestop.

As the software runs, it can verify current ownership from the block chain against the users' private keys.  Sharing of private keys would of course be possible but would result in anyone you shared them with having the ability to transfer all your licenses away from you.

This kind of system would be beneficial to end users:
  - DRM restrictions would be essentially gone - install on as many PCs as you like and share your gamecoin wallet between them.
  - Easily sell games you no longer use, with no risk of fraud/chargebacks
  - Buy used games with confidence - download from the software developer for free and activate via purchase of license 

For the publisher:
  - Eliminate the Gamestop leech, and instead make some profit from transfers (using some of this to pay for continuing software download availability)

Anyways, just musing out loud.  Feel free to tear it apart.  Grin
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Klestin
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June 15, 2011, 05:27:11 PM
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An alternative strategy for software licenses, which could be used for a broader variety of uses, and would not require a new chain, but would require additions to the bitcoin protocol:

MagicCoins - another crappy name, but bear with me.

MagicCoins would reside in the standard bitcoin block chain, and would act like bitcoins with a few differences.  Any user would be free to create a MagicCoin, with their private key.  When it is offered to the bitcoin network, an inclusion bounty is offered.  Miner of first block to include it would receive the bounty, similar to today's transaction fees.  Possibly a minimum would be required.

MagicCoins would be indivisible.  Once sold to a user, their ownership would change exactly as a bitcoin chunk does today.  Current status would be verifiable through the bitcoin block chain so software providers could verify ownership.

Optionally, transfer fees could be addressed: When created, a MagicCoin's transfer fee/percentage is set by the creator.  In order to transfer ownership from one end-user to another, that fee would go to the creator's public address.

Hawkix
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June 15, 2011, 06:47:03 PM
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As the software runs, it can verify current ownership from the block chain against the users' private keys.  Sharing of private keys would of course be possible but would result in anyone you shared them with having the ability to transfer all your licenses away from you.

Sorry, but this will not prevent anyone to use new wallet for each new game. Thus, the game will be pirated including the single-purpose wallet of Gamecoin. It will not prevent anything.

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June 15, 2011, 10:52:05 PM
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You misunderstand - the game would read the ownership identity from the local wallet (which includes the private keys, so can't be shared with users who do not trust each other fully).  It would subsequently verify this ownership with the real block chain.  Faking this would be as difficult as faking ownership of a bitcoin.
Quantumplation
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June 15, 2011, 11:48:36 PM
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This does not stop someone from changing the:

if( verifyOwnership() )
    letPlay();

to:

if( true )
    letPlay();

through a mixture of stack/trace and reverse compilation.  Simply put, this is the exact reason almost no piracy countermeasure will ever work.  Any code you write to limit the gameplay, check licenses, etc. can be modified in the resulting binary.  You can obfuscate and complicate this process, but as was seen with Spore (which quickly became the most pirated game in existence simply due to spite of the heavy DRM) this just serves as an additional incentive to crackers.

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Hawkix
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June 16, 2011, 08:26:17 AM
 #6

You misunderstand - the game would read the ownership identity from the local wallet (which includes the private keys, so can't be shared with users who do not trust each other fully).  It would subsequently verify this ownership with the real block chain.  Faking this would be as difficult as faking ownership of a bitcoin.

No, my idea is to buy a new game with freshly created Gamecoin wallet. Then, distribute the game with that wallet.

For my own games which I do not want to spread, I will use my own private wallet.


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