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Using the Blockchain to Own Your Data

February 13th 2018

In previous posts we explained the Wibson concept and a basic approach for consumers to value their personal data. In this article, we’ll discuss why now is the right time for Wibson and a blockchain-based personal data marketplace.

To date the highest profile uses of blockchain have focused on borderless currencies and complex smart contracts. However, the core principles underlying this emerging technology also make it the perfect platform for consumers to control and profit from their own data. As mentioned in our previous post, we describe Wibson as a Decentralized, Privacy-Preserving Data Marketplace or dPDM.

Direct Connections

It is the blockchain’s decentralized nature that supports transactions directly between disparate parties with no intermediaries. Data sellers deal directly with data buyers, and buyers must declare their intended use of the data up front. Data sellers finally have equal footing in the personal data marketplace and don’t have to navigate through massive, centralized third-party data aggregators. That’s the little “d” in dPDM.

Privacy and Validity

Wibson takes advantage of the distributed nature of blockchains in another way as well. Data buyers want to be sure they are buying accurate and legitimate data. Data sellers, however, don’t necessarily want to reveal personally identifiable information to validate the data’s accuracy and legitimacy.

Using the blockchain, data sellers and buyers can execute smart contracts and directly transfer the associated data in an encrypted, off-chain transaction. Seller identities, as a result, are never revealed to data buyers without the seller’s explicit consent. In turn, buyers gets high-quality data directly from consumers and no longer have to rely on low-quality inferences from inaccurate and indirect sources. That’s the “P” in dPDM.

Full Control in a Fair Market

What’s more, a decentralized network means that consumers themselves control access to their data and decide when to provide access based on market prices and conditions for use. The data usage rights can be modified at any time and for particular data buyers. No more blanket “do not call list” or “credit check holds” that can only be managed through email and by phone. Data owners directly manage both the data they provide to the marketplace and the funds they receive for sharing access to it. That’s the benefit of consumers participating directly in the “DM”.

Businesses also benefit by buying validated data directly from consumers. Whether an advertiser is looking to reach specific consumer segments, a transportation startup needs geo-location data to train autonomous driving models, or a researcher is trying to identify behavioral trends, high quality data can be obtained on an open market where buyers can specify the exact characteristics, price, and volume that meets their needs.

As we move closer to the Wibson product launch event February 27 in Barcelona, we will provide more details about how both businesses and consumers will be able to transact on our platform.

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