We are a few years ahead of where the whole economic system went decentralized including ourselves. Good thing about this transformation is that we are now more than ever in control of what counts towards our own personal value (public records, type of shopping we make, lifestyle choices, social media, job status etc.) and with what values we authenticate with (deciding to which companies we want to give our data to). Consequently, we can creatively take part in the creation of that new economic system. All the nodes in the system are connected, every our step is recorded and it counts towards our personal value. We have more power in our hands. Ultimately people with more value will be able to have more access to certain services, their vote will count more. I would like to share with you a process of creating a concept for a decentralized profile dApp. Created for people living in a world of distributed autonomous services, and governments. Giving them an ability to make smarter decisions about their digital selves and navigate their values more seamlessly across the network.
Research behind the dApp
I have consolidated an extensive research before coming up with the core concept for the dApp. The method that I used is irreplaceable-brainstorming with sticky notes. My thoughts lead me to the most relevant and the least expectable corners of what this new technology offers and what it might become.
I have picked four main ideas from the categories that I have created.
And it has led me towards the path that I should follow with my concept. And it wasn’t that far from where my thoughts were these days. I feel like that it is going to be one of the major focuses of blockchain real-world implementations that are going to change how the data that is transferred across networks will gain value and get a new meaning. Below I would like to highlight the research that I have made around those 4 main points.
Future profile as your currency
The way we interact on the internet is not controlled by any central identity and moreover, professional identities are placed in one pool together with the social ones or even medical/legal. Facebook is the most common used Social ID to connect to many types of services but Facebook doesn’t store any valuable data about us in order to bring us, the users of digital services, a valuable impact. So we end up logging in into rather crucial digital services with our social media ID. We are clearly in need of having a unified digital ID that doesn’t belong to any institution and is capable of storing our documents, data about us, biometric information as well as our connections to third parties. Store that data and also give us some options to manage it wisely.
This ID would in the end store information about our online behavior, our preferences, our political views, social ratings, credit score, legal, medical data, what kind of services are we using, where we go for holidays, who our friends are, where we shop and even how politically correct we are. Together with the development of blockchain technology more institutions will be interlinked, more assets will get digitized and stored online, meaning more and more info about us will be recorded, leading to further cataloging of citizens together with their online and offline behavior.
Unified digital ID would enable to achieve a maximum level of integrity and operational compatibility within any infrastructure. It could bond any type of services around us with our identity. Modern services should be able to communicate through the open API. In the world where almost everything can be found on the SaaS model we need a bank- as- a-service platforms, broker-as- a-service, insurance-as- a-service… By the way, what about government-as-a-service? As an example we can take Estonia e-residency program-new digital nation for global citizens or Decenturion-the first fully decentralized state in which economy, governance, and communications are built on a blockchain.
Data that is being collected about the users becomes a tradable token. Data is being gathered from various sources, analysed and turned into many different scores to create user profiles — bills payment, mobile calling patterns and locations, insurance premium payments, social media proﬁles and check-ins, thousands of data points, everything from a smartphone user’s messaging and browsing activity, to the apps and Wi-Fi network we use, — to provide meaningful social scores for retail customers. I believe that the way people are scored online will merge with their financial scores to create a unified way of determining the reputation of an individual. Identity is the new money for reputation economy. It will be a reputation rather than regulation that will animate trust in economic exchange, and that social graph, the network of our social identities, will be the nexus of commerce, administration, and interaction.
As in the “reputation economy” a term coined by David Birch, the individual social graph — the social data set about each person — determines one’s value in society, access to services, and employability. In this economy, reputation becomes currency.
On the other side of the globe, we are facing another dark scenario of the reputation economy which we can’t simply ignore. To be Chinese today is to live in a society of distrust. It is China’s ambitious plans to develop a far-reaching social credit system, a plan that the Communist Party hopes will build a culture of «sincerity» and a «harmonious socialist society» where «keeping trust is glorious». The ambition is to collect every scrap of information available online about China’s companies and citizens in a single place — and then assign each of them a score based on their political, commercial, social and legal «credit». The idea is that good behavior will be rewarded and bad behavior punished.
Chinese national scoring system G G K That project, launched in Jiangsu province’s Suining County in 2010, gave citizens points for good behavior up to a maximum of 1,000. On this basis, citizens were classiﬁed into four levels: those given an “A” grade qualiﬁed for government support when starting a business and preferential treatment when applying to join the party, government or army; or applying for a promotion. People with “D” grades were excluded from oﬃcial support or employment. The Suining government later told state media that it had revised the project, still recording social credit scores but abandoning the A-to-D classiﬁcations.
With help of digital technologies and big data, the system analyzes data about each citizen, giving him individual scores. Technology giants like Alibaba, AliPay, Tencent, and Baidu has helped him bring this project to life. The project has started in 2014 with the adaption of “Program of development of Social Credit System (2014–2020)”: by 2020, not only every company, but every citizen of mainland China will be tracked and evaluated by this system in real time. Trust rating is connected to an internal passport.
Surprisingly enough that is not only happening in China. We can see what is happening in another part of the world too. You may not get that dream job if your emails and Facebook posts aren’t positive enough or your friends are “not good” enough. If you are a woman you may see fewer ads for high paying jobs.
In Black Mirror’s future society people with higher ratings have special treatments like separate queues, priority pass at airports, better cars in car rentals and access to better housing.
Because the high rating gives the real profits, it becomes something very valuable, which forces the change in people’s behavior towards each other. All our decisions can be narrowed down to a transaction. And although Joe Wright’s vision is rather negative, it fantastically shows how the new technology can affect our society. The call to action here would be to search for new channels of value generation far from the crude world of ratings.
Future investment in values
What’s certain is that blockchain technology has opened many new perspectives of value transfer in the context of decentralized applications. On one hand, you are working on your value which allows others to invest in you and on the other hand you can invest in other people’s value just as in the projects that matter to you.
An idea about personal tokens come into play here. A user might want to create a personal token to price his/ her market value as a person. That value would automatically be pulled from a digital ID which I have mentioned in the paragraph above. People who know that everything they do and all their actions count might be more willing to shape their life towards the desired value and later on generate their own cryptocurrency which will represent that value.
You can invest in the projects that you believe in by taking part in their ICO’s or obtaining their tokens. Unlike traditional investment opportunities available to retail investors, here you could invest in a project at the initial stage.
One great example of an app that allows you to invest in companies that users might like, love, believe in, or all three — a form of “socially responsible investing” is STASH. Thanks to the robot-advisors embedded in the app you are being suggested an investment that suits your profile. You might invest in healthcare companies, such as Johnson & Johnson, which make Tylenol and Band-Aids, and Pfizer because you are passionate about this industry and you want to back it up. This way of placing your value on something of a great matter has political implication too. You are voting with your dollar which seems to have a greater impact than voting on a ballot which seems to the young generation as lacking power and real world implication.
You can invest in tokenized assets ranging from physical things such as real-estate to virtual things such piece of land in a blockchain game. After investing in a specific asset, the rights to this asset are transferred to you. You become an owner of this asset and you can find this token in your wallet. One of the great examples that portray how those tokenized assets behave is a blockchain game called CryptoKitty. CryptoKitty dApp is a game that allows users to create and trade digital cats which have unique personalities and features. While users can breed the cats, they can uncover their unique traits, raising the value of their CryptoKitty. The same way tokens can behave, having their own unique features. It uncovers a whole new potential for attaching a value to an asset depending on the features this token holds.
There’s a lot of your data out there that’s been gathered without your knowledge or consent. And it has become a big issue. More than ever, people are aware of how their data is being used, and rightfully want to take the control back. Owning your own data and a transparency of its flow has become a key feature of the blockchain technology. It seems like the most straightforward way to stop this malicious circle and think about the exchange of information in a new more mature way. Because users will be able to have more data stored securely in one place new opportunities arise such as the idea of trading this data and receiving services or even tokens in exchange. For the companies, it is also an excellent way to build their products which are thriving on data. They could easily use the Blockvalue app to sell data that they don’t need or buy more data from others. And we have a win-win situation.
An amazing example of a company which feeds its product with the user’s data is doc.ai. They have created NRN token to liberate centralized medical data and push the boundaries of AI. Datasets collected will be auditable on the Blockchain and will help in training the AI to be able to learn and adapt to individual’s needs and requirements. For companies it seems to be an excellent situation because once the user’s data is collected it is also organized, cataloged so way more accessible so there might be matching tools created, where not only users get recommendations with which company to work with but the other way round as well.
A company like Fitbit may want to know what you ate for breakfast, your activity or that you are contemplating on joining a yoga class. In return, Fitbit can pay you in Fitbit coins, coupons or currency. It becomes a part of the gamification system about which I am talking about a few lines down.
The idea for creating a data wallet seems like a most direct approach. You could control who gets access to your data, learn what your data says about you, and get paid when you share your data. Users will trade data with companies in order to receive tokens that they can later exchange for some of the company’s services, obtain physical products (digital ownership) or exchange for another token. All data sharing would be opt-in only, and fully transparent about its use. You could opt-out at any time.
The accumulation of your data in one place also gives the companies an ability to quickly adjust their services to your needs within minutes. It gives seamless possibilities for the personalization in real time. The mobilization of data also means that the services that will be adjusted to your profile could easily be connected to other services and create a chain of services accessible by the user. This way of sharing information could truly revolutionize the next generation of AI, ML powered apps.