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Data is a word heaped with meaning and potential nowadays. Data, interconnectivity of data, ontologies, and all the rest of it. We now live in a world of information societies where data is king.

So it stands to reason that the way we collect, store and process data is evolving. Not just what data we handle – there is natural growth to that – but more in the ways we make it useful.

Before now, it has been big business and state institutions who hold the keenest interest in data and as a result, they become exclusive rights holders in most cases. Redressing this balance means giving the individual more control over their data.

Once the mechanism for owning data exists, an incentive will need to follow: people have no use for most data that companies collect and might not bother otherwise to record it.

Society has now woken up to the fact that many data producers have no knowledge of what businesses do with personal data. By gaining control of their data, and subsequently being able to sell it, individuals are more likely to let it be collected and used.

Is this close to becoming reality?

A data marketplace may be designed on a platform made with blockchain technologies. Cryptocurrencies allow for instant micropayments to take place and this means that individuals could collect and sell data automatically as they go about their daily lives.

Forbes recently spoke to CyberVein founder, Arthur Yu, who said his network would make it possible for individuals to “take tiny, cumulative payments for data they generate day-to-day.”

CyberVein deploys a similar DAG superstructure to the one used by IOTA – which can in theory process thousands of transactions per second, whereas Bitcoin’s network does not scale and maxes out at seven.

A key aim for both will be to protect and transfer user data before opening a marketplace for its sale.

A world driven by data, but controlled by the people

As the world of data continues to see exponential growth, notably among the Internet of Things, smart cities, and a plethora of Big Data use cases, the control of user data should be brought into question.

What blockchain technologies offer is a real way to give individuals this power without compromising the commercial value of data.

The notion is simple: businesses can pay tiny amounts to use data or not at all. To this end, allowing each person the choice of whether they want to sell their data will be key.

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