Privacy transgressions and third-party data abuse aside, even user-awareness on the power of one’s own data is deplorably absent in their blind-and blinkered chase for new apps, social-media likes, online brawls, instant-updates and troll-storms. What if someone gave this chaotic world the stapler of decentralization? Can users reclaim privacy; and perhaps even monetise it?
As cotton-candy-ish and marmalade-dripping they sound, these words are not just random nuggets of advice but underpinnings of a new data marketplace model taking shape. “Be an active participant in how you manage your data. It is important.” When Rodrigo Irarrazaval, Wibson Marketing Manager utters this Rad way of looking at data, one is excused to greet it all with scepticism, intrigue and perhaps, even cynicism. After all, if what he says is plausible, we are almost on the verge of imaging a datopia.
Yes, a farmers’ market of sorts where anyone can come and participate with one’s offering. Or not. The decision to sell, or who to, rests solely on the person who brings a strawberry basket from one’s kitchen-backyard. No one can short-circuit this farmer, no one can steal fruits from this tiny orchard, no one can dupe this person with barter that is preposterously disproportionate to the berries. You do not have to trade your sweet-smelling strawberries for the convenience of a ragged bag, just because some smarmy salesman convinced you that way. You have all the right and negotiating power to look for avocados in exchange. And without anyone to cage you, confuse you or delude you.
Sounds like a really-high-hanging fruit, doesn’t it? Let us see if there is more to the sudden surge of decentralised marketplaces we are witnessing. Let us ask Irarrazaval to slice the decentralised data concept and its impact from various angles like readiness for machine-learning, revenue-possibility, regulation, current advertising models, mutability and ease of trade.
Can you explain your model and approach to decentralisation of data and creation of a marketplace?
Artificial intelligence is going to be the main driver of many things in our world in the near future. And many kinds of data will be needed to drive the systems for them to have any value. The problem we see is that individuals are not going to be part of the value exchange that is going to occur. Wibson was created to be an alternative source of data for AI that gives the people who are generating the data a chance to get some benefit. The individuals really own the data so they should take part. Also, when the data can come directly from the source, it will be of higher quality.
What kind of revenue possibilities and applications it might have apart from data sold for machine-learning? Would the aspect of ‘immutability’ of data shrink monetisation opportunities in any way?
Data can certainly be valuable beyond machine-learning as it is today. For social good research, marketing purposes, and things like credit-scores or identity-verification. Immutability is not a concern as much as data-currency and validity.
Is it possible that eventually, players will distort the concept the way Facebook etc. twisted the potent powers of the Internet? How will the power of a ‘notary’ be kept under check?
Regulations like GDPR are a step in the right direction. But the key is for individuals to take an interest in their data rights and to be proactive about how they manage their data and who they give it to. If the people make the effort, they can have the power.
What innovations are happening to make the concept scalable, secure and interoperability-friendly given the explosion of data points in the form of IoT, self-driving cars etc. as well as the variety of data (cold data vs. warm data, real data vs. stolen/fake data, structured data vs. unstructured data) out there?
Wibson has made some breakthroughs in scalability that we’ll be able to talk about in the near future.
Can you explain the potential of the ‘storage’ angle for this marketplace? Also, if you could elaborate on how ‘financial incentives’ would work while they balance privacy and control for a data owner?
To be clear, Wibson does not collect or store data. Wibson is a marketplace where individuals benefit directly from managing their data and making it available to buyers. It is an open, market-driven system where the buyer sets the price they want to pay and the individual data sellers can choose to accept or decline the offer based on the price, the use of the data, the company, etc.
How crucial is the ‘network effect’ for the success of such marketplaces?
Any marketplace needs scale to be successful so the idea of a network effect is also important for Wibson.
What are you planning to bring on to iron out possible gaps on the user interface, simplicity and customer service for such marketplaces? How do you think centralised marketplaces would react to this shift?
All those areas are things the Wibson team is focused on and will be working to continually improve, just like any business. What we recognize is the need for a balanced and fair marketplace that benefits both buyers and sellers and makes managing data easy. Those are the main principles we are always working to deliver on.
What implications can this concept have for advertisers, GDPR, first-party data players, third-party data players and other current ecosystem elements?
We see Wibson as player amongst all these areas mentioned, but with the important difference of being one that directly benefits the individual. We hope that this will resonate with people.