Sony Develops NFT-Like Tech to Authenticate Photographs

At CES 2024 in Las Vegas, Japanese electronic and tech conglomerate Sony announced a new tool that will allow photo-takers to authenticate their images. Called the “digital birth certificate,” the tech creates a signature at the time the photo is taken. Later, interested parties can track and identify signatures, a move that should combat fraud and misinformation.

The new tool has made waves for being similar to non-fungible token technology, albeit the signatures of the photos won’t be stored on a blockchain. Still, the transparency, tracking ability, and provenance are similar to how NFTs on blockchains function. Many consider Web3 tech the antidote to a future when AI-generated content is spread at will, making it difficult to tell what is real and what is not.

Sony will roll out the new technology first into its upcoming Alpha 9 Mark III camera later in the spring. The company has designed the tech to be built directly into the hardware of different cameras, although it will be added to the Alpha I and Alpha 7S III cameras in a firmware update later this year.

The technology came through a collaboration with the Associated Press and other industry leaders, likely in response to the ongoing manipulation of images due to artificial intelligence (AI). Neal Manowitz, president and COO of Sony Electronics, said that while AI offers new opportunities for creative expression, there is a growing concern about manipulated images in journalism.

Sony’s digital birth certificate technology may be a step closer to alleviating that concern and providing journalists a way to work without having images doctored and misused. The fact that it uses similar tech to NFTs makes it even cooler.

Sony Has Innovated in Web3

Even though Sony’s new camera tool doesn’t explicitly use the blockchain or NFTs, there’s no doubt that the company is bullish on Web3, as evidenced by the stories involving it innovating in the space. Here are three, all from the past year.

First, seven months ago, Sony partnered with Astar to invest in Web3 companies through an incubator program. Initially, Sony invited 200 firms to apply to the incubator, before moving forward with 19. In June, there was a “demo day” which showcased all the 19 companies and their products to capture the interest of investors.

Next, 10 months ago, Sony published a patent that shows it is interested in introducing NFT trading to its gaming titles. The patent, which attempted to address the issue of lack of interoperability in gaming, shows how users could transfer NFTs to other parties or use the assets exclusively.

Lastly, about one year ago, Sony launched a product that allows users to track their steps, and sync their steps with their avatar. The company targeted the wearable, called “Mocopi,” at virtual fitness influencers or people involved in movie or animation production.

As these stories show, Sony is bullish on Web3, launching products and technological innovations in the space. Even though its camera tech doesn’t specifically use the term “NFT,” it still follows that technology, showing the real-world applications of the innovations in our space.