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Facebook Incident Teaches Us That Personal Data is the Oil of the 21st Century

Courtesy of Stankevicius MGM

Orange is the new black. Bitcoin is the new gold. It's only fair that we find the oil of the 21st century.

Facebook played a very important role in raising awareness on the issue surrounding data privacy, even though that was far from being their purpose. It seems like these days, the whole world is moving towards a mindset of "power to the people" and there's one new technology invented exactly for that.

But could personal data & privacy become such a huge industry? Let's take a quick look at the facts.

  • 250 billion dollars per year industry, yet the price for a person's data comes down to a few pennies
  • World Economic Forum described personal data as a new asset class.
  • 50 billion devices will be connected to the internet by 2020 — all gathering personal data from users.
  • By 2020, Global digital data will be 44 times higher than in 2009

Sure, even $250 billion/year seems like nothing compared to the market cap of the first five oil companies in the world — which accounted for about $2 trillion in 2015 — but let's not forget that this industry is in its inception.

What is personal data?

"Data that we are already producing every day through our browsing patterns, online shopping, data from wearables or your mobile phones." — Dr. Christian Lange - CEO & Founder @ Opiria

Personal data is slowly becoming a hot subject, which makes it normal to have a growing number of personal data brokers — these are people who take your data and sell it to companies for big profits.

"Okay, but everybody's gotta be doing something, right?"

True that, but the problem is that the only person who's not profiting in this situation, is the actual consumer whose data is being used. The broker takes his share of the profit and the brands/companies using your data can increase their earnings based on the information they bought.

"Okay, now I am pissed…"

You should be, but this is just the way things were handled up until now. What if I told you that you could have more control over your data and make extra cash in the process?!

"Currently, consumers' role in what happens to their data is both passive and unrewarded, with brands and third-party data brokers collecting, analyzing, and trading data about them to grow sales, develop new insights, and drive profitability." — Tuomas Syrjänen

Why is personal data so important?

According to this study, millennials are leading the way in taking control over their personal data — 69% of them believe that brands should use the data to enhance customers' lives.

"Only 12 percent are happy to share their personal data without a second thought. Yet, when asked to consider sharing in specific situations their psyche changed — with nearly three in five (57 percent) are willing to share their own data to make their lives easier." — SAS and Future Foundation Study

Did you know that 70–80% of product innovations fail?! That cost companies a ton of money.

Another mind-bending fact is that the annual R&D costs worldwide are $1,8 trillion — this could be massively reduced if companies would have a way of getting accurate data about potential and current customers.

It's becoming crucial for companies to buy personal data so they can better understand consumers, design useful products and services, and cut costs in the marketing department.

Google (through Google Cross Media Panel), for example, managed to anticipate this growing trend and started giving e-gift cards to consumers who are willing to share web and mobile app usage.

But the same company, Google, is also tracking your location on your phone even when it is set on Airplane Mode. Take a look at this video!

Why is it called "personal data" since in this day and age it's far from being personal?!

The user should be the one deciding if she/he wishes to share the data and, since she/he's the owner, he/she should be compensated for the data, not a broker.

This is the beauty (and power) of the blockchain technology, it allows for services/assets/products to be exchanged between two parties in complete security and without the need of a middleman .

How much is your personal data worth?

Here are a couple examples:

  • On average, your email is worth $84 to a retail brand and $251 to a travel brand.
  • Providing feedback about usage/usability of a product over a period of two weeks: $50–$100 (source: own experience)
  • Smartphone, laptop, PC usage: $100/month (source: Luth Research´s ZQ Intelligence)
  • According a source from No Identity Theft - Value of your personal data for Google is $5,000/year and value of your personal data for Facebook is $45–$190/year
  • Car insurance: Allowing a car insurance company to track driving behaviour continuously (speed, position, acceleration) can lead to a strong reduction in insurance cost if the driver shows a "safe driving behaviour"; savings of $100–$300/year are possible depending on the type of car.
  • Health insurance: allowing the health insurance companies to access the data from ones fitness tracker can lead to a reduction in insurance costs respectively paybacks if the individual shows a healthy/active lifestyle. Saving ranging from $200–$300/year are possible.

The solution: Opiria

No, you don't have to delete your Facebook account (yet).

Opiria is a "decentralized marketplace for the secure trading of personal data, built on the blockchain."

In simpler terms, a marketplace where companies can purchase personal data directly from consumers, without the need of any middlemen — this move will incentivize consumers to provide accurate data in a secure and private environment.

This is some of the data that companies will be able to access through the marketplace:

  • location
  • shopping behavior
  • PC/laptop usage
  • mobile device usage (including tablet)
  • data from smart devices and wearables
  • eye tracking
  • emotions
  • personal: demographics, financial, health, etc.
  • web browsing behavior

One could easily earn the amount of money described above by using the decentralized platform that Opiria is building, and the best part is that companies will benefit greatly from getting access to legit personal data that could potentially influence their ROI in a very good way.

Here's the ideal scenario

Let's say that there are three companies A, B and C that want to access your personal data through the Opiria marketplace. Company A wants to access your browsing history for the past three months, company B requests access to your shopping behavior for the past month and company C wishes to access your location for the entire year.

Nowadays, those companies can access that exact information without your approval and without compensating you in any way, but through the Opiria marketplace, you'll be able to choose which companies can access which data.

Maybe you are a bit paranoid about sharing your location or perhaps you don't feel comfortable sharing your shopping behavior — the choice is yours.

In return for your services, you will get paid in PDATA tokens, the currency on which the Opiria marketplace runs on.

This paradigm shift in how we relate to our personal data needs to happen at some point and blockchain technology could be the best option to go about it because of its bank level security and smart contracts, which leave very little room for fraud.

It's a win-win situation, because not only will consumers benefit from this by making some extra cash (well, tokens), but companies as well, by receiving more accurate data — think about how many times you've provided fake information in an attempt to better protect yourself.

What makes Opiria a legit TGE?

*TGE = Token Generation Event

The very first thing that should catch your eye, is that Opiria is an existing company, established in July 2015, and has a customer base that would make any blockchain company jealous. Here's the short list: BMW, Audi, Mercedes Benz, P&G, Intel and Nissan.

Being an existing company also means having real revenue that can back up the whitepaper claims and plans for expansion.

The founders of Opiria, Christian Lange and Marlene Gagesch, have a strong record in business, managing to grow the Ergoneers Group from $0 to $5+ mil. and 1000+ B2B customers.

Opiria's software development team includes nine professionals, all from Romania, which might seem a bit odd, given that the founders are of German nationality, but it turns out that Marlene is part Romanian. Besides this, Romanian software engineers can do amazing work — look at Restart Energy's platform (they also sold out their public sale in less than two minutes).

In terms of advisors, they've got some influential names as well, like:

  • Ismail Malik — Founder of BlockchainLab and Editor-in-Chief at ICO Crowd
  • Dr. Wolfram Remlinger — R&D at Audi AG
  • Daciana Octavia Sarbu — Member of the European Parliament

Regarding vision, Opiria plans on completing the work on their ecosystem by March 2019 and they plan on having 250,000,000 consumers in their database by the year 2023.

For those interested in contributing to the TGE, it ends May 21st, but they've already raised 2 million dollars out of the 30 total. Find out more on their official website.

Such companies can totally revolutionize the world and how we relate to our personal data, which we give away too easily right now. This is also a great example of real world use case of blockchain technology.

Will Facebook move to the blockchain one day? Who knows, but I am pretty sure that this new technology will totally revolutionize our online social interactions and becoming the owners of our personal data is the very first step in the right direction.

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