Ethereum Improvement Proposal 1048

by Gregory J. Rigano, Esq.

Last Updated: September 20, 2018

github link:

Simple Summary

A legal standard for compliant, DAO token sales for intellectual property funding, development, use and ownership.


We present a legally compliant protocol to radically scale human advance in technology R&D through a blockchain enforced digital commons.

As per United States Federal Court,

“an initiative that is primarily a means whereby participants could pool their own activities, their money and the promoter’s contribution in a meaningful way is not an investment contract.” Nelson v. Stahl, 173 F.Supp.2d 153 (S.D.N.Y. 2001), citing SEC v. Aqua–Sonic Products Corp., 687 F.2d 577, 582 (2d Cir.1982).

The following standard allows for the implementation of a legally sound API in which developers, scientists and interested parties can raise funds for cutting edge R&D through a democratized ICO (not limited by accredited investor) for public benefit. In exchange for ETH, instead of equity which is highly regulated or a utility token of questionable value, funders receive fungible copyright license rights including access, use, development, publishing and value ownership through ethereum blockchain provenance guaranteeing title and execution.


Innovation is the solution for long term prosperity. People want innovation. In jurisdictions where governments do not control innovation e.g. communism, innovation is often constrained by bandwidth - R&D input output frequency is too slow due to lack of efficiencies for people to pool their own activities, money and contributions in a meaningful way to advance science and or technology. Because of this, R&D is usually confidential around high walls leaving stakeholders without access - thereby innovation is limited.

Ethereum enables efficiencies in which copyright title can be fungible and enforced on-chain. Such an architecture facilitates collaboration between scientists and interested parties for desired innovations while providing trustless ownership and trade on a global basis.

Applications are contemplated below. This standard is inspired by the ERC-20 and ERC-721 token standards and builds on significant international legal and software experience in intellectual property R&D. EIP-20 and EIP-721 are insufficient because they lack legal soundness which limits ultimate market penetration.


This is the "ERC 1048" Metadata JSON Schema

    "title": "Asset Metadata",
    "type": "object",
    "properties": {
        "name": {
            "type": "string",
            "description": "Identifies the copyright license to which this token represents",
        "IP description": {
            "type": "string",
            "description": "Describes the copyright asset to which this token represents",
        "License Type": {
            "type": "string",
            "description": "Describes the license for which the token represents: a limited, exclusive, transferable, personal license during the term of this Agreement to access, use, contribute to, develop and own the value of the digital commons portal",
         "Copyright": {
            "type": "string",
            "description": "The digital commons portal is protected by the copyright laws of the United States, international copyright treaties and conventions and other laws.  All rights reserved.",
         "Road Map": {
            "type": "string",
            "description": "Describes specification, development milestones, budget for each milestone, timelines and responsibilities",
         "Territory": {
            "type": "string",
            "description": "Identifies the jurisdiction for which the copyright license applies to",
         "Soft Cap": {
            "type": "string",
            "description": "Identifies the minimum USD or ETH required to achieve all Road Map milestones",
         "Public Benefit": {
            "type": "string",
            "description": "True",


ICOs are a unique funding method that democratizes access on a global basis, yet they lack a consistent legal standard which has caused significant issues for crypto markets. In addition:

(i) utility tokens lack users, and

(ii) copyrights are valued in the trillions of dollars, yet there is currently no liquid market for exchange of copyright ownership value due to high overhead requirements (e.g. lawyers, courts, etc. to enforce chain of title).

This limits innovation on a global basis.

What is copyright?

A copyright is intellectual property that provides exclusive rights upon unique information being written down (e.g. source code, clinical trial data, etc.). Copyright creates many types of rights including but not limited to access, use, publishing, development, distribution and commercialization, amongst others. There are many proposed uses of Ethereum smart contracts that depend on tracking distinguishable property. Examples of existing or planned non-fungible tokens are LAND in Decentraland, Crypto Kitties, etc. Through proof of existence, ethereum enables copyrights, usually non-fungible, to be: fungible and atomically tracked.

Here we provide a legally compliant protocol for in which R&D property rights can be funded, developed and traded on a global basis with minimal friction, to radically scale the rate at which R&D data flow happens between people.

Specifically, developers lead technical R&D while users will be able to enjoy the fruits of the R&D through direct access to research papers, communications, source code, experimental data, etc. in a digital commons portal. Users will be direct beneficiaries as they have access to cutting edge R&D that would otherwise likely be unavailable and controlled by few and unlikely to be for public benefit. An EIP 1048 token serves as a participation and anti-abuse mechanism to guard the value of the digital commons portal - Users will also have rights provide commentary, submit pull requests, publish, contribute and mine data, and challenge capital milestone deployments and other decisions, amongst others (see Legal Memorandum and IKU Token License for more info). Everything that is done or exists in the digital commons portal is protected by copyright which inures to the benefit of the token holders, e.g. reports, code, experiments, data, comments, publications, etc.

Users are essentially nodes in a R&D network, collectively feeding the digital commons portal with questions, answers, information, etc. serving to fuel innovation. The more innovation, the greater the value of the copyright which thereby is expected to drive value to that user token community.

Fungible Token Identifiers

Every 1048 is identified by a unique contract address (after it is deployed). This identifying contract address SHALL NOT change for the life of the contract. The contract address will then be a globally unique and fully-qualified fungible identifier for a specific copyright asset on an Ethereum chain.

Transfer Mechanism ERC-20

Backwards Compatibility

This EIP is fully backwards compatible as its implementation simply extends the functionality of ERC20 tokens and is optional.

Test Cases

Clinical trial/biotechnology development, software development, game development