Like most Silicon Valley natives, I am naturally drawn to emerging technologies. This persistent interest in “what’s next” drove me to co-found Constellation Network, the world’s only blockchain technology designed for big data.
Originally, my co-founder and I wanted to launch a company on the Ethereum network, but found there were obstacles with scalability at the time. What seemed like a bump in the road ended up serving as the boost of inspiration we needed and pushed us to build an infrastructure that could truly support the exponential growth in data creation the world would soon experience. Put more simply, we were inspired to build an infrastructure expansive enough to support the proliferation of uses of blockchain technology.
It’s widely known that blockchain provides the security necessary to be useful for the financial sector, and it is therefore no secret why blockchain is most often linked to cryptocurrency. However, as the world becomes more interconnected and the devices we carry collect and analyze more information, blockchain’s application to data security has proven to be another long-term use case for the technology. For decades, brick and mortar companies have harvested all of our personal data to package and sell in order to boost their profit margins. Blockchain changes the entire dynamic of the “data economy,” as it unlocks the ability for data to be controlled by and sold by the people who own it.
As blockchain technology’s uses for data transactions continue to evolve, so will the rights of individuals as it relates to privacy and ownership. Currently, personal data is the crude oil of the digital economy, where most users of the internet knowingly enter a deal with the devil that requires us to offer our personal information in exchange for access to the parts of the Internet that are often most useful. It’s chalked up as a necessary evil, and some say, “It’s the internet, right? The digital wild west. How can this be?” The truth is, without a foundation to support the empowerment of digital users to control their own data, most users don’t know of any other way to approach it.
Enter blockchain, and DLT more broadly, a seamless and secure foundation for users to control and sell their own data to those who want it: advertisers, corporations and more. By using blockchain as a means for data transactions, users are able to attach a unique identifier to every component of their available data—that is, their data for sale—and can then tokenize the data to be sold to the many willing buyers. Blockchain also applies to the secure distribution of data, where groups can quickly and safely share data within their internal network. Blockchain is the foundational tool necessary to wake up digital communities and empower them to take control of their data.
The value is palpable, and people are noticing. For example, startups like Swash, which recently raised $4 million in investor dollars, are zeroing in on enabling users to monetize their data in the digital economy. Or with the Brave browser, you can earn revenue in the form of BAT (Basic Attention Token) by simply opting to view anonymous and privacy-preserving ads. At Constellation Network, our blockchain network solution allows companies to build their own platforms for data distribution and transactions, including the U.S. Air Force and a variety of startups.
With that said, I often compare the drastic expansion of the use of blockchain that we’re witnessing today to the proliferation of the internet 30 years ago. Although the actual user numbers are far lower, the rate of adoption is nearly the same. Because of this parallel growth pattern, we can project the future circumstances of blockchain by looking at the present circumstances of the internet. The environment around us is constantly evolving, transforming and challenging the status quo.
Blockchain is the groundbreaking technology that is often overlooked and its rapid expansion will persist as people begin to comprehend that the distributed ledger technology ecosystem is a far-reaching network, expanding beyond bitcoin and financial uses. Constellation Network, for example, has uses within music, biometrics, online gaming and dozens of others. Additional use cases of blockchain include the digitization of supply chains to promote transparency and efficiency. Or consider smart contracts that are designed to always function in the same manner and therefore trusted to perform exactly as specified. Non-fungible tokens (NFTs), being a newer growing application of blockchain, protect a digital asset from piracy by tokenizing it and keeping that token as proof of creation and ownership. Lastly, decentralized digital identities (DID) allow blockchain users to create and manage digital identities that provide greater privacy and control of data.
We are moving into an era of distributed ledger technology that will govern over a metaverse of data. The potential is truly limitless.