Google created a digital book people can alter and pass on by adding a person's name to the acknowledgements section

Developers at Google’s Editions at Play and Visual Editions, a London-based book publisher, have taken blockchain technology beyond its original use of providing a safe method to exchange Bitcoin currency by applying it to an e-book called A Universe Explodes.

Typically, when someone purchases a digital item, they are purchasing a license to have access to it through a company—they do not “own” that item in a traditional sense.  This new blockchain method grants ownership to 100 people at any given time. When someone is finished with the book, they can place the name of the next person to whom they want to give the book by adding their name to the acknowledgements. This person then receives an invitation through their email to access it. The books have a clear history of ownership.

A Universe Explodes instructs readers to add a word to the first page, and then delete two words, continuing through to the last page. Each of the book’s 20 pages begins with 128 words and is reduced until it contains only one word.

The team behind this project aims to explore whether people can develop connections to digital items as they do to physical ones.

A Universe Explodes | Visual Editions | Editions at Play


Lead Image: Glenn Fleishman | CC | Image altered

Developers at Google’s Editions at Play and Visual Editions, a London-based book publisher, have taken blockchain technology beyond its original use of providing a safe method to exchange Bitcoin currency by applying it to an e-book called A Universe Explodes.

Typically, when someone purchases a digital item, they are purchasing a license to have access to it through a company—they do not “own” that item in a traditional sense.  This new blockchain method grants ownership to 100 people at any given time. When someone is finished with the book, they can place the name of the next person to whom they want to give the book by adding their name to the acknowledgements. This person then receives an invitation through their email to access it. The books have a clear history of ownership.