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Empowering ownership of creative DNA with TITLES

May 16, 2024
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Sonya Mann
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Creative platform combines the unique strengths of AI and crypto to reward artists for sharing their aesthetic DNA. You'd be forgiven for rolling your eyes at "AI meets crypto," but Titles manages to transcend the buzzwords. The setup is ingeniously simple, and it works like this:

  1. Artists use Titles to train an AI model based on their work.
  2. Anyone can prompt that model to create NFTs in the artist's style.
  3. The artist gets a cut of sales revenue (distributed via Splits) whenever someone mints an NFT made with their model.

"We built the remix layer" for the visual internet, with attribution and payment baked in, Titles cofounder Parker Seagren explained in a recent conversation. Titles has devised a system for AI to enhance artists' intellectual property rights, rather than making them more tenuous. Instead of original artists' creations being subsumed into a vast sea of anonymous data, their specific je ne sais quoi is given a spotlight.

In fact, calling the platform Titles is a play on words. A title is, of course, the name of an artwork. But title is also someone's ownership rights with respect to a significant piece of property (commonly a house or a car). Titles is leveraging Ethereum to bring ownership to generative AI.


The Titles founders were "working on consumer social products," Parker recalled, pondering "new forms of media for people to tell stories." Observing the crypto landscape, they realized that Ethereum is "just this giant bucket of media that people are reading and writing to."

Despite some NFT projects embracing Creative Commons Zero, at the time "nobody let you use [the Ethereum corpus] as a commons, to use as creative ingredients." Still, the bones were there: "Ethereum had all the attribution and payment rails to make something like that work."

Then the AI wave came along. The Titles founders had a revelation: artists could own their own models and get paid when they were used, automatically. "What we're building right now is the best way for artists to train models on their style," along with a built-in monetization avenue, Parker told Splits.

Titles has started with a crypto-native audience familiar with the dynamics of NFTs, "building a product that people know how to use," collaborating with different artists and IP owners in the space.

You're probably familiar with "in the style of" prompting, by which AI models will spit out Van Gogh copies or what-have-you. But "the long-tail artists, the big models don't know what they're like, or do it poorly." Many artists are wary of AI altogether (true of crypto as well), but others want to put their individual stamp on a model and play with its interpretation of their style. "We've had a lot of artists reaching out to us," Parker said.

Titles' goal is for its AI models to represent each artist's particular style accurately and beautifully enough that "they're excited to have other people use it." Everyone else gets an opportunity to "create media that is sourced from different people and references different people" without concerns about consent or exploitation ā€” and with the opportunity to profit alongside the original artist, if they choose to sell their derivative NFTs. ("Derivative" is just a descriptor here, not a pejorative!)

The point, as Parker sees it, is to "really help artists represent themselves through these AI models in a way that they want to be represented," enabling them to "participate in economic upside" when "meaningful art is created using their models." The future feels bright: "As the big foundational models improve, open-source models improve and the Titles models improve."

At its essence, TITLES is a platform to create, remix, and publish cryptomedia. TITLES provides tooling that encompasses the entire creative loop, from beginning to end. Any creative project starts with sourcing concepts, followed by leveraging those concepts in the creative process, and then publishing the work to the world where the process begins yet again. At TITLES, we are building products that help people follow this creative journey while subtly using Ethereum to unlock new capabilities and value.

ā€” "OUR VISION FOR TITLES," February 2023

Titles x Splits

"Anytime that a piece of work gets published through Titles, we automatically deploy Splits to share proceeds," Parker said. "Titles really uses it as an infrastructural layer." The onchain ecosystem makes this possible: "You have the attribution, you know who created something and you have their wallet address, so you can just pay money straight to it."

Splits "has been very helpful for us to build quickly and do this payment routing securely and efficiently," Parker told us.

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