Monegraph: Building a Blockchain-based Digital Art Market

C14f6f7b7ce45e286106e7e7d5421f40?s=47 Chris Tse
October 06, 2014

Monegraph: Building a Blockchain-based Digital Art Market

***NEW: Full video of this talk is now available at:

The success of Bitcoin shows that financial transactions can be conducted in a decentralized way. Whether you believe in Bitcoin as a currency or not, there is no denying that Bitcoin’s underlying storage model and consensus-based protocol, the blockchain, validated a new data architecture for building networked applications.

In a world of Big Data and the Cloud, the Bitcoin blockchain, the largest of its kind, is still relatively small at around 25 GB. As developers start to imagine new applications beyond money-like infocurrency, they find that they want to store additional metadata or even rich content in the blockchain.

In this talk, Chris Tse, an architect and designer of digital ecosystems, will present a hierarchical data storage model that divides a decentralized application storage needs into three tiers, to be stored in the blockchain (GBs), a NoSQL document store (TBs), and BLOB store (PBs), respectively. Using cryptographic techniques along with Smart Contracts, Chris will show how developers can maintain the trustless model advocated by the Bitcoin enthusiasts, while tapping into the proven scalability of distributed database clusters like Couchbase and P2P file transfer protocols like BitTorrent.

Chris will present an example of how Monegraph, a digital artwork registry and marketplace spearheaded by NYU art professor Kevin McCoy, is moving to this tiered architecture using a combination of the Ethereum blockchain, Couchbase document store, and Amazon S3 / BitTorrent to build vibrant market for buying, selling, and licensing digital art.

This talk was originally presented at Couchbase Connect on October 6, 2014 at Westin St. Francis Grand Ballroom in San Francisco.

About the Speaker:

Chris Tse is a technologist by trade, a designer in practice, and an entrepreneur at heart. He is the founding director of CardStack (, an open source project bringing a common “card” runtime that allows HTML5/JavaScript apps to move seamlessly between mobile devices, cloud services, as well as decentralized blockchains. Chris was formerly the head of McGraw-Hill Education Labs, leading innovative projects that creatively mix JavaScript, NoSQL, and Big Data technologies to facilitate teaching and learning.

Before that, he led the development of social media and dynamic publishing applications at BusinessWeek Digital. Before joining the New York media industry, he co-founded three other technology startups: a database consulting shop, a messaging software company, and a network security research firm.

Chris holds a B.S. in Computer Science from Columbia University and is still very much addicted to New York City. You can follow him on Twitter at

Related Decks from Previous Talks:

Stacking the Card Deck [Manifesto]

Card UI Architecture Design [Technical]

Resources & Links:

MoneGraph (Current Version)

MoneGraph Home Page (Classic)

CardStack JavaScript Framework:

Ethereum Project:


Chris Tse

October 06, 2014