Blockchain Enabled Data Markets – A New Frontier


There’s an interesting emerging trend that will become more dominant in the crypto landscape over the next 5-10 years. If you identify and play the trend well, you can make some really good investments for your future. The trend we’re talking about today is data markets on the blockchain.

Think of how valuable data is. Facebook is valued around $500 billion today. What does Facebook have really? Simple – data. That’s literally it. Now go calculate your worth to Facebook.

Data as the New Oil

The Economist recently wrote a fascinating article about how data is the new oil. If so, the companies that own your data today are running you dry, and not even paying you for it. But today is just the first step of a multi-decade evolution where increasing amounts of data will be collected, with or without your consent. In such a scenario, how is it ever possible to empower the individual to hold on to her data and benefit from it, instead of selling it for pennies to some multinational corporation?

The simple answer is data markets. If you own your data, you can benefit from it from a marketplace of data. Just as you can buy rare stamps on eBay, companies will be able to buy data ┬áthat they need directly from individuals instead of just getting it from free as they’ve done historically this century.

Blockchain and Data Markets

The cryptocurrency revolution is a perfect use case for data markets where it is the individuals who hold on to the data and its rights of use, and they sell it only if they want to. Individuals select who they want to sell the data to. Think Google is too creepy? Don’t sell them the data. Like what a new Swedish machine learning startup is doing? Sure, share your data with them. The point is, you are in control, not anonymous corporations.

The blockchain gives you all the tools to do that, from encrypting your data, to using your keys to selectively provide access to some companies. But most importantly, the crypto-economy enables a ready marketplace of individuals and potential buyers, who can interact at a global level and create a marketplace with ease.

Loomia Case Study

While studying the current data markets on blockchain, we came across the project Loomia. It seems to fit the data markets hypothesis presented above pretty perfectly.

One reason is that their product, embedded into everyday fabrics, collects a lot of data, so it is valuable enough for researchers and third parties to have access to. Another reason is they take privacy seriously. If this wasn’t the case, there is no need of a market because third-party companies can get it for free. The Loomia Tile is a product that stores all the individual’s data, and no third party has access to it. All of a sudden, the data generated by an individual is actually valuable and the individual benefits from it. Lastly, it is using crypto and blockchain to sell access to this data to third-parties, keeping the individual in control at all times.

This will likely prove to be an interesting experiment, and we look forward to following Loomia’s progress. You can read more about the specifics of the project in their whitepaper.

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