What we do

  • Combat the piracy of media files using the Bitcoin blockchain
  • Help identify the original uploaders of infringed content
  • Specialise in robust and imperceptible watermarking technology

At Custos, we want to provide a globally effective way to combat media piracy by tracing a leak to its source in a decentralised way using cryptocurrency.

We want to identify the people responsible for uploading a media file to a piracy network after the content owners entrusted them with that file. The original infringer can be anyone, from an employee to an influencer or reviewer. Normally it’s nearly impossible to identify that person easily.

But if you use our distribution platforms for video and ebooks, you’ll not only know exactly when your content was leaked but also by whom. This will help you to remove any bad apples from your distribution list, eventually ending piracy at your organisation.

Curious how we do this? Well, our patented core technology makes it possible to embed a monetary reward (Bitcoin) directly into a media file as an incentive for third parties all over the globe to discover leaked media and report it. As soon as the Bitcoin reward is claimed, content owners are notified that a leaked copy of their content has been discovered as well as the identity of the person who was entrusted with that specific copy.

By identifying the original infringer, we hope to create a culture of accountability, eventually eradicating online piracy at a grassroots level altogether.

Our background

Custos Media Technologies was spun out of the prestigious New Media research lab at Stellenbosch University, South Africa, in 2013.

The underlying technology was invented by an experienced cross-disciplinary team specialising in signal processing, distribution systems, cryptocurrency, machine learning, and media and behavioural economics.

Since then the team has grown to include various experts in the fields of watermarking technology, the economics of piracy, and the use of decentralised systems and the Bitcoin blockchain.

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Meet the team

We appreciate hardworking and highly talented individuals who share our dream. If you are interested in joining our growing team, please visit the careers page.

G-J van Rooyen

G-J holds a PhD in Electronic Engineering, specialised in signal processing. He founded and directed the MIH Media Lab, a cross-disciplinary research lab focused on pre-commercial MediaTech applications. He has been involved in the cryptocurrency space since 2013 and advises businesses and government agencies on blockchain regulation and blockchain for media.

Fred Lutz

Fred completed his Master’s degree in Economics, focused on media piracy, while founding Custos. During his studies, he founded and ran a blockchain consultancy for a year. He is now an expert on the economics of piracy, with a specific focus on the intra-community incentive structures.

Herman Lintvelt

Herman holds an Honors degree in Computer Science. He founded Polymorph Systems, a development house that specialises in mobile and IoT applications. After exiting Polymorph, he became the head of product at LifeQ, a biometrics technology startup, where he managed the development of software and hardware products.

Our investors