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Few topics are as talked about in the artistic industries as the emergence of generative artificial intelligence, and the most common criticism of the rapidly evolving technology is that software is being trained using copyrighted materials without the consent of rightsholders.

In response to the increasingly contentious situation, a group of blockchain and AI experts in Japan has launched the Anime Chain Initiative, a preparatory committee that will develop and release a generative AI platform that exclusively uses opt-in data to train its software.

The group’s goals are three-fold:

  • Create an environment that is safe and secure for creators and rightsholders: Only data which is provided by rightsholder will be used to train the AI, and all development will be recorded on the blockchain.
  • Address the anime industry’s labor shortage: Anime Chain aims to create tools that will allow artists to produce more work with less time and effort.
  • Maximize creators’ earnings: By logging everything on the blockchain, Anime Chain proposes to return earnings to the rightsholders of the training data based on the history of generation recorded on the blockchain.

According to Anime Chain organizers, authorities are not adequately addressing serious ethical and copyright issues associated with generative AI. They argue that by creating an opt-in generative AI system, artists can use the technology to enhance their work without risking others exploiting their original creations. To ensure the transparency and legitimacy of the generative AI, all training data will be logged and stored on the blockchain.

In a release, the organization explained that it hopes to work closely with the artistic community in developing its program:

The Anime Chain Initiative was born in response to the specific insights gathered from active professionals in the content industry. We plan to update the initiative based on feedback not only from industry professionals and related companies but also from creators and fans. We welcome your candid opinions to help realize a better vision. Please share your thoughts with us on X (formerly Twitter) using the hashtag #AnimeChain.

Anime Chain’s announcement also included a three-step roadmap of how the group intends to achieve its goals.

Step 1:

  • Create a cooperative framework involving the creator community and industry stakeholders.
  • Establish a guideline for the usage of content produced by generative AI.
  • Fundamental research in generative AI (images/videos/motion models).

Step 2:

  • Build a foundation model exclusively using opt-in material.
  • Begin providing a generative AI tool and managed GPU farm.
  • Produce our own work with generative AI, provide production support, and organize hackathons.
  • Utilize tokens or similar methods for OSS developers and content creators to circulate, return, and visualize value and provide financial support for development and production.

Step 3:

  • Construct a standalone blockchain.
  • Expand the content ecosystem.
  • Autonomous decentralization of the management organization.

Anime Chain committee members include Shuhei Mise (former Turingum K.K. CEO and Zeal Nova founder), Hajime Ataka (Tokyo Otaku Mode co-founder and executive vp), Naohito Tamaya (founder of Arriba Studio and Double Jump.Tokyo), Hironobu Ueno (Double Jump.Tokyo CEO), and Arai Mono (CTO and engineer of AIHub).

In the future, the group will seek participants from the anime industry and other related companies, both in Japan and abroad.

More information regarding the Anime Chain Initiative is included in an extensive FAQ and introductory article, available here.

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