What’s the best way to get more users on a blockchain? Pay them for sharing their information—with their consent, of course.
Hewlett Packard Enterprise Co. (HPE), a global provider of IT, technology and enterprise products, and Nokia, a global provider of mobile networks, have partnered with a Swiss blockchain startup called Streamr. The joint venture among the trio is to build a marketplace for data on top of a blockchain, and let the consumers put their data (willingly) on the blockchain network. This user data, obtained with user consent, can then be legally sold to the interested parties. Interested clientele may include large and small organizations, digital advertisers, governments and anyone who may be interested in buying such data of vast variety. (See also: HPE and Nokia Expand IoT Partnership.)
Streamr Network AG has successfully raised $30 million through an initial coin offering (ICO) last year for its innovative concept of building a secure “data marketplace” using blockchain technology. It plans to assign a monetary value to the data that gets uploaded and stored on the blockchain network in the form of a cryptocurrency called DATAcoin (DATA). The DATAcoin has an exchange rate of around 11.5 cents as of mid-May.
How the Data Network Works
While Streamr is offering blockchain expertise, HP is using its technology stack to expand the use to a variety of areas. For instance, it has built a prototype to collect vital data points from a car—like windshield wiper activity—that may be used for weather warnings at a specific location, or fuel quantity available in the car which may help predict fuel demand in an area, or car components' wear and tear, which may issue necessary alerts for replacements. Such data points will be purchased from the car owners and stored on the data blockchain and can be utilized by various interested parties for commercial and social gains. For instance, a sensor fitted in the car would be sufficient to assess the road condition and allow authorities to take up the necessary road repair without spending money on costly road surveys. Insurance companies can benefit from getting insights into driving patterns of the driver, and accordingly decide on the premium. The prototype is already implemented in the Audi Q2, and can be extended to other autos.
Nokia is finding this concept useful for its mobile base-station devices. These devices are essentially Wi-Fi hotspots that are often deployed in low-signal-range areas, like a farm, to assess the dynamic weather patterns and accordingly control the relevant processes and activities like irrigation and sowing. Such data can also be collected and stored on the blockchain as farmers may be interested in monetizing it.
Raphael Davison, HPE’s worldwide director for blockchain, told Fortune, “The data that’s stored in your car is extremely valuable and right now us drivers just give it away. This kind of technology with blockchain allows you to have control over it, and therefore you control it, you can monetize it.” Perhaps, a win-win system for everyone, where the user gets paid for sharing the data and other entities use it for social and commercial gains. (See also: What Does the Bitcoin Blockchain Record?)