Blockchain + User Privacy Use Cases

By John Wantz, April 6th, 2018

The polls and surveys are in: people do not trust large internet companies. In a recent report by Politico and Morning Consult, only 39% of Americans said they trusted Google, while 31% trust Facebook, and a mere 21% trust Twitter.

This is particularly startling when you consider that the platforms these companies operate are staples of daily life used every day by billions of people: Google search, Gmail, Android, Facebook, Instagram, WhatsApp, Twitter, Periscope, and more.

So how do we combat this trend? How can new companies build trust and protect their users’ privacy? Here are 3 ways we believe that blockchain technology will transform the user privacy issue.

1: Return Power to Users

Today, the bulk of the power resides with large centralized internet platforms: The Facebooks, Googles, and Amazons of the world. These companies often have complicated legal terms many users are uneasy with when using these services, even if they use them regularly (and have no alternative but to abide by terms they disagree with in order to use them).

Blockchain technology that underpins cryptocurrencies like Bitcoin and Ethereum, can return this power back to the users. Blockchain technology allows decentralized applications, called dapps, to be built. Compared to a conventional, centralized application, a dapp inverts the power dynamic.

A decentralized system allows more direct relationships to be built between developers and users. For instance, users could be given the ability to vote and contribute to future product decisions. And certain rules, like the ability to not be censored, can be fully enforced through smart contracts.

We anticipate a number of different platforms to pop-up, some that will be more open than others. But the blockchain is the single enabling factor that is moving us towards a more decentralized world.

2: Selective Sharing

In addition, sharing today is rather black or white. Things are either private or public. They are either ephemeral or permanent. But with blockchain technology, we open up the world of selective sharing.

For instance, Blockchain Health is working on a system where consumers are intimately involved in the process of sharing their healthcare data with different researchers. Their system requires the user to explicitly accept that a new research institution can use their data. This system can also be adopted by care providers, financial institutions, insurance, and more.

We can also imagine new sharing options, such as case-by-case sharing, automatic sharing (rule-based), or time-based. If you are looking to get a second opinion, you could provide a certain doctor’s office with your information for two weeks.

Instead of creating multiple paper or digital copies of your sensitive information and sharing it openly, you can invite people to view the relevant data on your blockchain based on need or time.

3: Monetization for Sharing

The third option is to directly reward people for sharing their information.

Steemit, for example, is a social media platform that rewards its users who make good posts or helpful comments with Steem Media Tokens (SMT). The company has paid out millions of dollars to users to date and hopes that its incentivization structure will promote positive content.

Conclusion

Today, people are losing confidence in some of the world’s largest companies and becoming increasingly aware of their personal data footprint and the privacy concerns that surround it. As people look for new solutions, blockchain-enabled software platforms may be the way forward.

We look forward to closely monitoring this space as it continues to evolve and mature.

Originally published at every.shop.


Originally published at shoppers.shop on April 6, 2018.