Eoin Lambkin has been involved with Catalyst Inc’s mission from the very beginning, having worked alongside the team who designed the communications network for the Science Park in year 2002. It wasn’t just any network – it was one of the first open access carrier-neutral networks in the UK, promising a 100mbps synchronous connection. The network was central to the Park’s ‘differentiator’ offering: all tenants could securely access the high-speed network, which today, enables real-time connection speeds of 55miliseconds to NYC and 35ms to Paris or Amsterdam.
Fast-forward 15 years. Eoin has been involved with ventures from across the technology spectrum through his career. Where broadband once transformed business, now he’s harnessing blockchain to transform the internet.
“Years ago we developed an idea for open access to content in the film industry. There exists across the world a vast library of films and documentaries that have never seen the light of day, never been distributed in any format. In this dark cave are many gems, from reputable directors and actors. We wanted to make these films accessible to the streaming generation,” he said.
Eoin explains how previously, the legal rights to films would be so “complicated, with layers and layers of legality” that the idea was shelved due to complexity.
“Now this legal structure can be wrapped up with blockchain contracts. Using the blockchain, we can dictate a revenue split and it tells every contributor in the chain how much they receive,” he said.
Eoin described to me how he’s in the very early stages of this startup, building a team and solidifying the offering.
“I’m a starter of ideas,” said Eoin. “but nothing happens without talented folks to make them work. This is why I love startups – especially quirky stuff.”
Eoin’s idea is to rescue films from a dreaded limbo state that can happen after they’ve been shown at festivals or never moved from the cutting floor – even ones that got rave reviews – which this article does a good job of describing.
Anytime I think about what’s exciting about Northern Ireland in general, I think of the film industry. How can we build on it?
“It’s about harnessing the excitement around Titanic Studios and the new Belfast Harbour Studios. There have been great films made here – like Closing the Ring, City of Ember – without whom Game of Thrones would not have arrived in NI.”
Does blockchain change everything?
Eoin said, “Capitalism is ending as we understand it. Blockchain is the boy who tells the emperor he has no clothes. The big banks have hid for years inside the very complex world they created. Now it’s all being exposed.”
“Put it this way – it’s so disruptive all the big banks would love to own it – and none of them can,” said Eoin.
Blockchain is not for sale. What do you need to make your blockchain venture a success?
Eoin said, “I need access to knowledge – for a small business to thrive you need someone who understands the technology and the legality. This can be hard to find. But there’s a big pool of money out there that’s available for great investments – and if I don’t develop this, someone else will.”
Eoin makes a good point. By 2016, total investment in blockchain technology startups had reached $1.5 billion, per Frost and Sullivan.
Does it use smart contracts?
“There’s great complexity in writing suitable interactive and transparent contracts for this back-catalogue movie project. However, once cracked it would be plug and play.”
The Ethereum blockchain’s model for creating smart contracts – which Eoin would use in his venture – is explained in this short video.
What’s important to you?
“I want to live in a first mover economy. If we can develop this, we could license it to another distribution platform, where the user interface is already built,” he said.