A new technology that could kickstart a global and borderless data economy is revealed at the Token2049 conference. Ocean Protocol, the blockchain-enabled data sharing substrate that connects industries, startups, governments, and data & AI experts is ready to launch its phase one network end of this month.
“With Ocean Protocol, people with data can be connected with people who need data. This is the start of a new data economy and Ocean is the means to promote liquidity and ultimately a financial value for data”, said founder of Ocean Protocol, Trent McConaghy.
Like all economies, supply and demand is the fundamental building block but they don’t match in the current data exchange landscape. In 2016 alone, only an estimated one percent of the 16 ZB of data generated worldwide was analysed. By 2020, 1.7MB of data will be created every second for every person on earth. So, there is no shortage of data, the ability to access and use that data however is fraught with challenges.
“Due to concerns around control, privacy, and security, people are afraid to share data”. On the back of data, Google, Facebook and a handful of other companies have built businesses with a combined market cap of more than a trillion dollars.
“For them, data is money: more data means better AI models, means better-targeted ads, means more ad clicks, means more revenue. Follow the money; it leads back to data”, said McConaghy. “AI is the linchpin, and the current data economy is lopsided with only handful of companies having the data supply and the expertise to mine it”.
Ocean Protocol uses blockchain technology and smart contracts to enable safe and secure sharing of data for the first time, guaranteeing control and auditability while protecting privacy.
The technology allows organizations to put value on, own and control their data while smart contracts allow data owners to program the conditions of access which are then executed with perfect precision. This gives data owners and buyers transparency, security and guarantees of payment and use.
Ocean also enables algorithms and models to travel to the data, get trained and then leave without exposing the data or taking a copy, thereby retaining privacy, ensuring regulatory compliance, and freeing up data to advance economy and society.
To support and start this new data economy, Ocean Protocol has partnered with industry incumbents and startups to demonstrate how safe sharing of data can help companies gain competitive edge and improve people’s wellbeing.
In the Insurance sector, Aviva and ConnectedLife are applying data analytics and artificial intelligence on smart home data to enhance the protection and care for the ageing population and support independent living; while in Healthcare, Roche Diagnostics is exploring ways to improve care for patients on blood-thinning therapy. In Retail, Next Billion is piloting a new data sharing model that rewards rural store owners for contributing sales data.
“Our goal is to remove frictions in data sharing, breakdown data silos, and equalize access to data so that it can be applied to advance industries and solve societal problems. It’s time that people gain back control and actively participate in an open data economy”, said McConaghy.