Blockchain is causing plenty of commotion in the finance sector and flipping the status quo for concepts that once flew low under the radar.
The technology industry’s constant vise-like grip on user data is one of these ideas, and people around the globe are becoming more aware of how their data is being used and profited from. The heroes of Silicon Valley and the greater tech sector gave us free access to their online world, but never explicitly informed us of the price of admission.
The data we generate from our online activities, including our personal tastes and preferences, contacts in our network, and political opinions, are extremely valuable. Companies who want to sell us products or earn our loyalty pay big money for insights into our profile, but we never see a dime of it. Instead, it’s shuffled around behind the scenes for billions of dollars, not only putting us at risk but making us the target of relentless and eerily relevant advertisements. Blockchain can change this situation for the better, and many platforms have already been developed to put the power back in our hands.
Arweave addresses the problem of peer participation in blockchain networks that store data. The blockchain environment has struggled to find a low-cost way to access data for a long time, and even advanced solutions like Ethereum make it prohibitively expensive to keep large lakes of digital content and offer them to users. Users themselves often bear the brunt of a project’s storage efforts and aren’t rewarded in proportion to their efforts. Arweave lauds its blockweave platform as a solution, delivering a mixture of new blockchain technology.
The blockweave is a new system run on the proprietary Proof of Access protocol, which imposes a very low barrier of entry on new miners yet can enforce 100% safe and verifiable participation without the rigors of less sophisticated blockchains. With a less burdensome model for participation that doesn’t require new miners to verify the entire blockchain, it’s possible to provide effective single-pay storage, and be well-compensated for it.
Offline data is valuable, especially if it’s voluntarily offered. That’s because this shows that we’re happy to identify ourselves by where we eat, where we entertain ourselves, how we exercise and more.
O2OPay is a solution that connects users to the blockchain and pays them for sharing information about their day to friends, family, and brands in the network—much like a social media platform. This information is arguably even more valuable than our internet browsing habits or Netflix queue, because it tells companies what we like to do when we aren’t connected.
Accordingly, brands will pay for insights into our offline activities on O2OPay. They can offer promotions and prizes to users at their favorite shops or cafes, and users can spend the O2O tokens they earn in-store. The company likens it to a personal airdrop of coins whenever you check in at a restaurant, take a selfie at a bar, or tag yourself with friends—information valuable to brands that can reach you in the same ecosystem.
The “digital self” is a notion addressed by Datum, which is a data filter, storage solution, and marketplace all in one. Datum is concerned that the data people generate is owned by service providers and hosts rather than by real people shopping online or posting on Facebook. It has created a platform that captures one’s data from a variety of sources, like IoT devices (wearables and other wireless electronics) and social media, and then locks it away on the blockchain. Miners are incentivized to provide this safe storage via DAT token, and only the users have access to the database representing their online selves.
This solves the issue of third parties preying on the data of their users, but users themselves can also choose to sell it to relevant buyers on the Datum marketplace. There are several sharing and storage tweaks that one can make to their profile, so it’s possible to set aside certain types of data for automatic storage upon capture. Meanwhile, others can be instantly uploaded to the market for remuneration in DAT.
Basic Attention Token
BAT, or Basic Attention Token, is both a next-generation advertising platform and a cryptocurrency. The company’s Brave browser is the testing grounds for their token and their cutting-edge advertising technology, which has spawned a plethora of new key performance metrics designed to quantify how people pay attention to ads online—even if they don’t click on them.
This is extremely valuable for companies, which now understand that a “click” is perhaps the least valuable and most ambiguous performance metric currently available. It’s also phenomenal for users of Brave, who can either use the browser to filter out all advertisements or get paid in BAT for letting it run in the background.
People generate data everywhere online, and DataWallet is one of the most expansive “nets” for catching a large amount of this data from many sources. It’s capable of blocking Amazon, Facebook, Uber, Spotify, and countless other popular services from feeding off user data, and instead keeps it private by default. Users can opt-in to data sharing if they wish, and can choose from a wide variety of popular cryptocurrencies to receive in exchange.
A special feature of DataWallet is its ability to temporarily share previously collected data from other services with new ones. When you sign up for a new music app, you can choose to let your profile speed up the new app’s learning process and immediately recommend relevant songs and artists to you, for example. This is a pertinent solution for the problem of machine-learning AI which are data-starved by blockchain filtration platforms. How are they supposed to function if users don’t communicate back? Temporary profile sharing gives these AI an instant picture of any single user, without requiring a constant upload stream.
The Business of Browsing
Though they might be considered pleasure, activities like browsing and shopping online, posting on our friends’ pages, and talking on message boards is work that produces a tangibly valuable product. It’s about time we’re paid for the value we deliver online, and this is one of the most vital basic utilities of blockchain. With the absence of intermediaries comes a new dawn for web users everywhere, who will suddenly find lurking around the internet to be quite lucrative.