GoBlock (blockchain Go)

Grandmaster Lee Sedol to launch blockchain version of Go board game

1 Like

Blockchain is an extremely impractical choice of database for storing game records. It’s sad that Lee Sedol got pulled into someones hoax…


Are they proposing to use blockchain for storing game records, or setting up a rewards ecosystem?

Either way, blockchain is a hard overkill :smile:


Also, why create a thread when you’re not even going to comment on it? You clearly took some interest in the article, enough to (re)post it on the forum…

1 Like

I posted this under “Announcements”, not as a discussion topic. I was not aware that it had already been posted under a more generic thread.

Not unless you want those records to be encrypted:

Professional Chess players have wanted something like this for years. At the moment you can distribute game records without having to pay royalties to the players. Instead, professional Chess players (apart from the world’s top 10) must tour the weekend Chess tournaments for prize money, sell tickets to simultaneous exhibitions or teach students to earn a living. All of this stops when they stop playing.

Imagine if Lee Sedol got half-a-cent each time someone viewed his ladder game? He could probably retire of that one game alone.


Not to mention his alphago games

RE: @Farraway’s whole post

If a major objective is to commercialize Go game match records, then I would both hope and fully expect their efforts to fail.

First, applying any sort of digital rights management (DRM) system to go game records is not going to work, since it’s far too easy to simply re-transcribe and redistribute game records without copy protection.

Second, I would hate to see people try to lock up the basic facts about what happened in a game behind a pay wall. I’m not sure if plain game records (without commentary, variations, added markup, etc.) would or should even be considered subject to copyright.

For the other applications, blockchain technology is largely orthogonal. There’s way too much hype about blockchain and what it can do. It’s not some sort of crypto-magic that will actually run leagues and provide Go training by itself. That sort of thing will still have to be run by humans in a manner not too different than without blockchain being involved at all. Introducing yet another virtual token does not necessarily facilitate that. If anything, it might make things harder, since now you also have to manage a mini-economy involving that token.

So why go to all of the trouble of making a new coin? Perhaps because one can design these alt-coins to greatly favor the initial founders?


I want to say a bit more to address this in particular:

Even now, the earnings of pro chess and go players do not necessarily stop when they stop playing. Creating content (books, videos, streams, audio recordings) that is traditionally* published is a common means to generate royalty revenue. All of that can be currently done without blockchain technology. One does not even have to be a pro-level player to create profitable, royalty-generating content. See for example, the books by James Davies in the Elementary Go Series, or the numerous go streamers and youtubers.

*Note: by “traditional” publishing, I broadly mean anything that does not require a blockchain. So this would include newer venues like youtube and twitch.

I would also hope that plain game records would not be viewed as a means to generate royalty revenue. They are ultimately just the basic facts of what happened in the game, which I believe should be quite widely open for various fair uses (such as third-party commentary). I think that attempting to restrict and charge royalties for those would just be rent-seeking behavior that could harm the overall go ecosystem (in both an economic and social sense). For example, consider how this might harm the go community by placing restrictions on people creating youtube videos commenting on professional games.


I should clarify that I’d also prefer not to commercialize Go game records. That being said, it seems likely that professional Go players might find the idea at least tempting.

1 Like

The way I’d see this working would be that the creation of a new block would grant some amount of currency to the originators of all of the games encrypted by that block. If there were a way to certify that a game was legitimate, and worthwhile, and to ensure that the pro in question was the one that submitted it, this could provide revenue for all pros that are submitting games. Those are a lot of ifs, and the reward associated with the production of game records would be dependent on the currency having worth, but it seems like an interesting idea if all of those issues are resolved.

This is one of the things unicorns in the making share. Their idea is supposed to be so bright, that the small technical challenges like complete lack of viable business models are just tiny nuances. It somehow doesn’t occur to investors that these projects are simply selling someones fantasies and overgrown ego spiced up with hype for real money.

Let’s do a small mental exercise. Let say it worked out and players armed with their keys can submit games, manage tournament entries and sell rights to their games, all through a block chain. Obviously all the games need to end up on the platform only, as publishing anywhere else defeats the purpose, but let’s leave that aside. Everything is implemented, pros are happy, games are flowing… Where’s the catch?

If you think for a moment, there is no point for it all to be setup on blockchain using up energy for someone elses ‘proof-of-who-can-burn-up-coal-at-cheapest-rate’. Pros have their accounts (and related keys), so equivalent platform could be built using similar keys for signing up games while providing access to resources for external users. The platform can provide smart contracts and access to game records and all kinds of features without being limited to cryptic language of a particular currency, but written in civilised programming language. No chains attached.

1 Like

Taking a cue from the crypto-currencies, isn’t it possible that the real motivation behind this is to create a crypto-gambling enterprise in which the pros would get a cut of the proceeds?

I never had that idea before, but after hearing it for the 1st time, I think it’s a good idea. it’s similar to a movie’s copyright, or an author writing a book. afterall, the 2 players “produce” the game.

I, for one, embrace a copyright on kifu that lasts 70 years after the player’s death in order to protect the Sedol Estate.

1 Like

Soon to be 144.

1 Like

Information wants to be free. Locking it away only leads to grief and inequality. JMHO


I looked into this a bit further and (from general opinions from the internet) it seems that copyright law (at least in the US) does not apply to plain game records, since they are regarded as facts rather than expression. Similarly, chess game records and baseball statistics are also examples of facts that are not subject to copyright. On the other hand, any attached commentary (whether minimal or extensive) would seem to be deemed as copyrightable expression.

I’m glad that this seems to be the case, since ultimately, I think it would do more harm than good to have plain game records subject to copyright or any sort of copy protection/distribution restrictions.

Sure, you could argue that copyright protection and royalties from licensing would help supplement pro incomes. However, that would come at the cost of making these records less easily/freely accessible for people to learn from. This would then lead to further detrimental effects in how the broader community might benefit from these games. For example, consider the amateur streamers/youtubers that make commentary videos for pro games, where adding the complexity of handling copyright/licensing/royalty issues might be a prohibitive burden. Decreasing such activity means less education/promotion of the game of go, which might, in the long run, hurt the entire go profession.


Another reason why applying copyright to the pure game record could be a bad idea, is that we’re all assuming that the professionals who played would be the holders of the copyright. I believe it is equally likely the the server or tournament organiser where the game was played would have just as much (or more) claim over the copyright such that pros might be forced to record their own games if they did not want to purchase the official record from the organiser.

Indeed, pure game sequences should not be subject to copyright :stuck_out_tongue:

It’s also important to remember that all countries have different copyright laws, and the nation of creation is as important to consider as the nation of consumption.