We still have fresh in our memory Mark Zuckerberg’s congregational testimony. It was all over our screens. We saw the memes that followed portraying him as Data from Star Trek (must admit the resemblance was uncanny). We saw the clip of the shocked BBC journalist, talking about her data being harvested by Cambridge Analytica. It wasn’t that you didn’t know it was happening, you were shocked by the magnitude.
Your data is money which equals power. You have no profit out of the transactions that involve your data. Our lives are becoming increasingly digital. In the not-so-distant future, even your electric appliances at home will generate data. The various scandals made it all more obvious. The misuse of personal data is real and it’s here to stay if things don’t somehow change. Can we ever protect our data?
We need to change the way we look at these kinds of transactions. Below, you can see in brief why you should consider trading your data on the Blockchain.
You can profit from selling your data to market research and advertising companies. I hear you saying: “I couldn’t care less” but at the moment, third parties make money from the data you generate. It could be your health and genetic data, your social media data or your online shopping data. Soon, your IoT data will be also very desirable. Blockchain technology could provide a range of solutions to facilitate a marketplace so you can sell your data. A good analogy is the example of copyright. Every time a song is used or broadcasted, the creators get a payment. In a similar way, you could get payments every time you make a piece of your data available for sale. You will have control over how much of the information you are willing to sell and the price. The companies facilitating the exchange could be imagined a bit like Ebay. Running on a Blockchain though with a certain degree of automation involved (powered by smart contracts). The facilitating platforms will profit by charging a percentage as a fee after each transaction.
Payments will come in the form of Tokens that you can turn into fiat currencies or other kinds of benefits.
2. Helping the creation of a new economic model
Projects like that are currently running or preparing to launch but we are still in the early days. If most of us in the future choose to sell our data on decentralised platforms, we will be contributing to a more ethical economic model related to personal data. New services and new companies will emerge out of this new business model.
The system of these platforms will be secure and have privacy at the top of their list. Something that some of our current data holders lack. They make us agree to long lists of terms and conditions. Which they are stating that we have no longer ownership of our data once it’s on their platforms.
Market research and advertising companies will see the benefits as well. They will have increased access to more accurate data.
3. Take control of what is yours
It will remove some of the power held by big companies like Google and Facebook. The sort of data that is regarded valuable is, naturally, the kind that you can’t find for free on the internet. Think about it. If this becomes the norm, then no advertising company will need data brokers. The data owner will have full control. Users will be able to sell exactly what they want without giving up their privacy. There will be transparency in those transactions. It will decentralize them, so no centralized middle party can sell your data without you knowing. It will make it secure and trackable by using cryptography.
4. Traceable, secure data and transactions
The main concept is the data to remain stored in the storage of its owner. When the owner chooses to sell it, it will be encrypted, after the data has left the device. A peer-to-peer network of servers will keep that encrypted file, so the consumer device will not end up storing it all. The encrypted data will actually be useless without a key as it will mean nothing to anyone once encrypted. Platforms will be storing a simple text information that the human eye can read. This will be the proof that the data indeed exists and a small description of it as well. In a more conventional way to describe it could serve as product description.
Finally, the exchange will happen through an application used on your phone, tablet or your computer. The transactions will be powered by smart contracts.
5. Promoting lawful, good practices
Whether we like it or not, data brokerage is a big business. At the moment is experiencing also meteoric growth. New legislation is being placed continuously on data protection which makes it harder for data brokers to get data legally. By selling our own data we will avoid scandals detailing data breaching by the big companies.
With money comes power. Will this particular implementation of Blockchain technology, be able to take down the powerful companies? Or even diminish their current position? There is an interesting future coming.
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7. Keane, J. (November 12, 2017) Blockchain ID Schemes Could Kill the Data Breach, But How Soon? Retrieved from
8. Allison, I. (April 19, 2018) IBM-Backed Blockchain Trial Takes Aim Advertising’s Middlemen. Retrieved