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One of the more interesting aspects of the rise of cryptotechnology is not just the investment potential or the ease and privacy of use, but also the new possibilities it offers for a wide range of activities. Put simply, there are new business models and kinds of interaction possible now that were impossible before - blockchain technology offers both quantitative as well as qualitative advantages.
This is coming at a very opportune time. At the moment the pace of technological change is rapid, and we will soon see a new breed of blockchain-native solution come to the fore. Consider for example the Big Data revolution. Companies use analytics to make ever-more precise models of consumer behaviour and persona.
This is a marketer’s dream, allowing product development and advertisement to accurately resonate with the customer. This is the dynamic that underpins Google’s success, and in many ways data is very important to the world economy..
So why don’t more people know about the value of data? This is because of the difficulty of selling data. By its very nature, data is hard to put a value on, it is hard to gather (since it is spread over multiple platforms), and it is hard to manage. This means that while there is a lot of value generated while you use the internet, only a very small percentage can be successfully sold to researchers - and furthermore this process is controlled by a few small companies.
This looks set to change thanks to Blockchain technology. As mentioned, blockchain can be a game changer in that it enables more secure and complex online transactions. A project called Data Wallet is looking to harness these features of blockchain technology to allow internet users to easily make money from going about their business online.
Why data is so tricky
Despite the value inherent in user data, until now it has been an underdeveloped asset. As things stand, most data is collected and sold by data brokerages. This usually does not result in any payment to the data creator, since the data is usually spread over multiple different sources of data which makes a convenient marketplace almost impossible.
Furthermore, this results in a poorer quality product for the data consumers. Since the data is fragmented in different sources, the companies trying to gain insight into consumer behaviour can’t easily identify exactly which data matches with which user across platforms. So they use probabilistic modelling to get a rough idea of what each data creator actually does.
This is made more difficult since privacy concerns limit what identifiers can be sold with the data. Take for example a financial planning or banking app. The owner of the app might want to sell on the user generated data to a marketing firm. However, because the privacy conditions in the T+Cs of the app, things like your age or the city you live in will not be shared.
And this is for good reason, since privacy is important. But what if you could allow users to control what data was being sold? Then they could opt to share more for payment if they wanted to. And it would give them a slice of the value that is being exchanged on brokerages anyway.
Ending disenfranchisement of data creators
The creators of Data Wallet saw the ways that blockchain technology can solve this problem. Firstly, blockchains are ideal for managing the kinds of complex micropayments needed for paying for data. Secondly, the decentralized nature of blockchain allows users to aggregate their data across silos and create a complete profile that can be sold to data consumers. Also, the smart-contract ready nature of the technology means that the whole process can be managed easily by the user themselves, while also facilitating payment.
A platform preparing for takeoff
Data Wallet has been in development for a couple of years, and the design of the platform and its underlying token (DXT), as well as a mobile app and the marketplace has been in the making since then. Well-known VC Tim Draper is one of the founders, which should give a lot of confidence to users and investors. The whitelist pre-sale of the DXT token is coming soon.