Every minute of every day, billions of users are dutifully generating terabytes of data on the internet, from tweets to Facebook posts and Google searches, emails and chat messages, content, music, videos and much more. This data is either directly worth money or can be used to fuel business processes.
However, you have little or no ownership over the digital information that you create or the value that derives from it. All of it goes into the gaping maws of tech giants and corporations that use it to monetize their services.
The reason for this is the centralized architecture that has dominated internet services for the past decades. Under this model, you have to entrust our digital information to brokers such as Facebook and Google. These companies store our data, guarantee its security and integrity, and leverage it to improve their services. But they also use it for other business purposes, often without your consent and giving you little choice. If the broker decides to close down your account, or if their servers fail, all your data goes with it.
Blockchain technology provides an alternative that gives the ownership of data back to users. Blockchain is a decentralized database where data is replicated across several unrelated nodes. No single node can act as a gatekeeper and assume control of your data. Transactions in the ledger are stored in a permanent and verifiable way. Users who store information on the blockchain retain access to it through encryption keys, independent of the service or application that generated it.
Many companies are leveraging the blockchain to provide new business models and platforms where users are in full control and can decide which applications and services can access their data.