Why I’m a #blockchain convert…

Every since the blockchain hype started a few years ago, I’ve been sceptical that it was just another shiny toy for techies to play with; we’re like magpies. It’s become buzzword bingo, where every product strategy needs to add the word Blockchain, whether it makes sense or not, which in many cases has left me scratching my head and asking myself why? Recently I joined a new Blockchain Incubator to explore the role of Blockchain in owner-mediated data exchange, and I’m afraid to say, I’m now one of those annoying people who think Blockchain is the coolest kid in school :-) Or at least as it relates to my particular problem.

In my next blog post I’m going to talk in more specifics about why I believe that Blockchain, and specifically self-sovereign and decentralized identity, is the savior of owner-mediated data exchange, but for this post I wanted to discuss why I believe data exchange is such an issue today.

I’ve spent nearly 2 decades working on analytics solutions, and the last decade focused on people analytics, where the life’s blood of our work is data. For most of that time I’ve been concerned about the sustainability of our current approaches to data (see some sample links below), where all the power lies with the data collectors, who can do whatever they want, and the data subjects have to just suck it up. This is clearly bad for all the obvious data privacy and ethical reasons, however there is a second reason why this current approach is really bad… data inequity.

To quote the European Central Bank, “today’s global financial system is tasked with reallocating capital … the lack of a well-developed stock market presents a serious disadvantage for any economy … equity is essential for the emergence and growth of innovative firms”. In our new data-driven, high-tech economy, I would argue that “data, like equity, is essential for the emergence and growth of innovative firms”. Today the majority of global data resides with a small number of global corporations who have a stranglehold that they will not release. If data is indeed the fuel that will power our future, then we need it to be able to flow smoothly, seamlessly, and equitably; with obvious controls and regulations, but allowing everyone to participate; from individuals to startups, multinationals, and governments. As former British Prime Minister William Gladstone said in 1858: “Finance is, as it were, the stomach of the country, from which all the other organs take their tone”, and today only a few companies are allowed to take sustenance from the data stomach, leaving the rest of us starving. This is particularly bad for the individual, but is also for innovation, where startups have no chance to participate in the global data ecosystem.

One other consideration… with the advent of Blockchain and decentralization … we have the potential to create a data eco-system that is not controlled by a small number of central data banks. We can skip all the mistakes of the global financial system, albeit to make our own new mistakes as we build the global data eco-system.

Sample of Related Posts:

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