Startbahn Teams up with Wacom for Developing a Distribution Infrastructure and Rights Protection of Digital Arts


Startbahn, Inc. (CEO: Taihei Shii; hereinafter Startbahn) has agreed to make a partnership with Wacom (President & CEO: Nobutaka Ide, hereinafter Wacom) to develop a distribution infrastructure and rights protection of digital arts. This project will combine the Art Blockchain Network (ABN), an infrastructure for the art evaluation and distribution promoted by Startbahn, with Wacom's digital signature authentication technology.


Background of the Partnership

Currently, tools for artistic expressions have diversified globally; more and more artists are choosing digital devices such as tablets or smartphones as a medium of their expression. However, digital contents are still easily duplicated; therefore, it is a challenge to ensure their authenticity and uniqueness in the secondary distribution in the art market. This problem has hindered the development of the digital art distribution market although pen tablets have become widely available.

Startbahn and Wacom are aspired to solve this issue in collaboration. Startbahn promotes the development of ABN as an infrastructure for the evaluation and distribution of art, whereas Wacom provides creative solutions for artists such as pen tablets in more than 150 countries and regions. Together, we will support digital creators in Japan and the world by developing rights protection and distribution infrastructure of digital artworks and aim to contribute to the prosperity in the digital art market.

(See details of ABN here: )


Combination of Our Technologies to Expand Digital Art Potential

WILL™ by Wacom will link with ABN that enables distribution and copyrights management of the work with its Blockchain Certificate. Therefore, digital creators using Wacom pen tablets will be able to claim ownership rights of their artwork and receive the money generated in its secondary distribution as royalty-type revenues.

As the digital art market grows, collectors, galleries, and auction houses will also be able to buy and sell authentic and unique digital arts in the same way that physical artworks currently circulate.


The Future We See


You Can Now “Own” Digital Art

This infrastructure will provide a sense of ownership of digital arts. WILL™ attaches a "digital signature" written in the author's own handwriting to the piece. This information is treated as the signature of the work's certificate on the ABN. A collector who owns the work will enjoy the artist's own handwriting and the feeling of owning an authentic digital work.


Creators Can Gain Access to Blockchain Using Accustomed Tools 

We want creators to be able to use blockchain without any extra work. The link between digital signature authentication technology and ABN makes it possible for creators to use Blockchain Certificates by simply signing their work via the tablets and other devices they are used to.


Creators’ Works Protected, Without Worries about Device/OS Environment

WILL™ (Wacom Ink Layer Language) is a technology for digital signature authentication developed by Wacom. Its aim is to make it possible to share and edit works across any operating systems, hardware, applications, and cloud services without worrying about compatibility through the development by non-profit organizations.

The collaboration of WILL™ and ABN is expected to make it possible for creators to utilize ABN without worrying about the OS or hardware and to provide art pieces while protecting the rights of their artwork.


Changes We See in the Art Market

Collectors will be able to purchase digital artworks with confidence since ABN ensures the authenticity and uniqueness of digital artworks and makes unauthorized reproduction more difficult than in the past. There will be an increased potential for high prices for digital artworks and high liquidity in secondary distribution. We can provide the art industry with opportunities to buy and sell digital arts in the secondary art market.

This is beneficial for not only creators but also organizations involved in the art world: galleries, auction houses, and museums.


Startbahn and Wacom will release a concept movie, open their booth, and plan a talk event by Taihei Shii, Startbahn CEO, at Connected Ink 2019, one of the world's largest events for “Digital Pen and Ink” including digital signature authentication, on November 27th at the ANA InterContinental Hotel Tokyo.


Overview of Startbahn

Startbahn is a company that aims to realize a richer society by providing the technology needed by artists and people involved in art all over the world. We are promoting the development of “Art Blockchain Network,” a blockchain infrastructure for art distribution and evaluation. After its testnet release in October 2018, the ABN white paper was released in October 2019, based on extensive feedback from a number of partners of arts-related businesses. We are planning to release ABN on the mainnet later on.


Overview of Wacom

Founded in 1983, Wacom is a global company based in Japan with subsidiaries and affiliate offices around the world to support marketing and distribution in over 150 countries and areas. It is the world’s leading manufacturer of pen tablets, interactive pen displays and digital interface solutions. The advanced technology of Wacom’s intuitive input devices has been used to create some of the most exciting digital art, films, special effects, fashion and designs around the world and provides business and home users with their leading interface technology to express their personality. The company also offers its products as OEM solutions to leading manufacturers serving incremental markets. Wacom’s interface technology, called Wacom Feel IT technologies, is also offered as an integrated solution to strategic partners. Most tablet device and PC manufacturers count on the advanced features and reliability to deliver a superior user interface experience. For further information about the products of Wacom see


For Inquiries about This Release

Startbahn, Inc.
PR Officer: Risa Mizuno
Email address: [email protected]



Corporate Communications, Wacom Co., Ltd
[email protected]


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