The blockchain market will reach an estimated $60 billion in revenue by 2024 according to a Wintergreen Research study. It’s the next step in information technology set to disrupt every industry. Blockchain networks are touted for many future use cases including finance, supply chain, and data security.
Arguably the biggest revolution for the average person is the way personal information can be protected and access controlled. Whilst it’s unclear, with so many vested interests, to see a clear path to cryptocurrency replacing traditional currencies, a more immediate and less contentious application is data security. Data security is an issue plaguing businesses, their customers and third parties seeking data, and blockchain provides a new mutually beneficial approach to securing private data.
Consider a business who’s sensitive consumer data is encrypted by the consumer, who retain the only key to decrypting it.The trustless nature of Blockchain can provide a virtually incorruptable framework to then manage access to the consumer’s data, removing the liability of holding it for the business and granting the consumer control.
Decentralization of data benefits business
Blockchains are decentralized networks that remove central entities from control points. They act as a digital ledger, which is distributed over a number of nodes (computers) with no single point of overall storage or control. This means data is not stored in one central place like a server or cloud service.
As for consumers controlling encryption keys, the company says it has created a patented technology to simplify the process of managing those keys in order to put that process within reach of anyone, one that passes what they call “the Grandpa Test.” “We have developed a layer, a decentralized way to dumb down blockchain to a ubiquitous user experience on the web,” Yuval Hertzog, the other company co-founder explained.
Trust requirements in 3rd parties, middlemen or company staff are immediately removed. In fact, everyone can join and monitor the network. This transparency removes the need for trust and makes the process trustworthy.The benefit for businesses is to improve the security of their customer’s personal data from internal and external threats. Decentralized blockchains with specific protocols such like Tide help organizations to encrypt their sensitive data and provide a strict framework for accessing it, protecting against security breaches and helping meet privacy regulation .
- Security— In the event of a breach, any damage is significantly reduced. The framework offers a deterrent from hacking in the first place.
- Regulation— Exposure to government regulations like GDPR is reduced.
- Trust— Customers trust business when they are sure their personal data is safe.
- Integrity— Data can’t be sold or manipulated by bad actors within a company.
Encryption and validation offers consumer security
It seems huge data breaches are a daily occurrence making it more difficult for consumers to turn a blind eye to the regular news headlines.In 2019 alone companies including Toyota, Canva, First American, Facebook, Westpac (the list goes on) have reported data breaches. It’s not hard to conceive that a single consumer could be affected by multiples of these company data breaches. It’s alarming how powerless an individual becomes, given their complete reliance on these organization, entrusted with such sensitive data.
Blanket Weakening of Encryption IS NOT the way to replace Due Diligence If you don’t know by now, in December 2018 the Australian government with the support of the Australian Labor party passed new legislation that requires technology companies to be able to decrypt and hand over user data, when requested by law enforcement and the public services.
Blockchain uses a cryptographic hash function which when combined with decentralization becomes extremely difficult to compromise. Fraud, tampering, duplication are unfeasible on a decentralized blockchain network — making it a practical technology to manage access to data. Consumers retain the masters of the fate of their data and have an unprecedented level of traceability of how companies are using their personal information.
- Security— Access to encrypted data doesn’t sit with the businesses prone to breach, so in the event of an breach, their data is safe.
- Privacy— Only business with signed consent can access personal data.
- Control— The data owner has complete authority over the dissemination of their information.
Data seekers gain accurate results
The state of data is approaching a crisis point. It fuels commerce and decision making, yet consumers are reluctant to hand it over. Businesses are on the hook for storage. Market research has become a game of cat and mouse.
One 2018 survey from RSA found that 41% of consumers falsified data when signing up to a new product or service.
Businesses rely on accurate data in order to bring effective products to market or to create targeted relevant and contextual marketing campaigns. The problem they currently face is consumers providing bogus or incomplete information due to the fear it will be mishandled.
Consumers lack trust and data seekers get skewed results. Everyone loses. A strict, transparent and seamless framework enables all parties two parties to benefit from a data driven relationship.
Tide Protocol , a blockchain based personal data ecosystem, explains that the technology “provides businesses with the ability to lock the consumer data they hold in a vault and give consumers the only key to access it.”
“This will enable businesses to securely trade that data with others, while also rewarding the consumers for granting permission to access it.”
Consumers give companies specific one-time access to their identified information. Companies gain accurate data results and reward the consumer directly. Everyone profits.
To that end, Consumer Reports announced last year it would begin working with non-profit privacy research firm Ranking Digital Rights (RDR) and nonprofit software security-testing organization Cyber Independent Testing Lab (CITL) on a new open source standard intended to help make internet-connected hardware safer.
Benefits to data seekers:
- Reliability— Research becomes accurate and more valuable.
- Transparency— Enables seekers and consumers to work together in a trustworthy environment.
- Consent— Consensual consumers make for a captive audience.
- Higher Conversion — Utilizing highly accurate consumer data, seekers can tailor its timing and messaging to suit individual needs, increasing the relevance to those individuals and optimizing conversions.
Decentralization of blockchain is more than security
For businesses, it’s not simply about data protection its about protecting business. No matter the industry, data security and privacy compliance has become a liability. Building protocols upon decentralized blockchains offer companies the ability to secure data, maintain compliance, improve their relationship with customers and reduce their liability.
A win for businesses, consumers and data seekers.