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How Crypto Lets Us Monetize Our Most Valuable Assets: Data and Time

25 October 2019 16:16, UTC
How Crypto Lets Us Monetize Our Most Valuable Assets: Data and Time
By Chris Gale

Bitcoin introduced a digital analog of sound money, similar to the high-stock to flow ratio of gold that produced the gold standard around the world. One of the important collateral effects of sound money systems is the advent of lower time preferences -- the idea that people save the value and project their welfare over a longer time horizon.

Visible advantages of cultures with lower time preferences include capital accumulation and the onset of liquid markets and industrial/technological advancement. Where gold furnished the type of stable, global price mechanism that enabled lower time preferences during the era of the gold standard, Bitcoin represents a similar, yet fundamentally different, proposition.

25.10.2019  |   in Cryptocurrencies analysis
Monetizing your time in the form of projecting a lower time preference is a powerful element of sound money. But it also takes different shapes, particularly in the digital age where Bitcoin’s underlying technology, blockchains, have broached conversations around various ways to leverage the technology for monetizing our data and time in different formats.

Public discourse around the idea of data privacy and control of that data is gaining momentum following cases of repeated hacks and exposures of vast initiatives to harvest user data.

At the core of these concerns is the notion that people should have sovereignty over their data, and blockchain networks (e.g., cryptocurrencies) are paving the way forward in a new opportunity for people to monetize their time and data like never before.

The Importance of Monetizing Data

The dirty secret with free social media applications like Facebook and Instagram is that the users are the product. Social media companies parse user habits on their platforms with AI, probing for preferences in content consumption, and subsequently extract and sell access to this data to third parties, mainly advertisers. For years, users were comfortable or entirely unaware of this trade-off, but now public sentiment is pushing back on the stranglehold and obtrusive nature of big tech on user data.

Outside of social media data, user data in the form of KYC processes is often at risk of hacks or being sold to the highest bidder. Users retain no control over the access to personal details, and are at the whims of numerous third-parties that have access to sensitive financial and identification details. The problem is that the opportunity for users to extract value from their data has never existed to a meaningful extent before.

It’s not surprising then that the ongoing exploration of cryptography, as an outlay of cryptocurrencies, for the deployment of decentralized identity solutions is gaining traction. Hidden behind public-key encryption and distributed storage models, users can maintain public, standardized identities (i.e., Blockstack ID) where access control to more sensitive details of a user’s profile, are at the complete control of the user -- not a third party.

Users can subsequently monetize their personal information by choosing whether or not to give access to it, and in the process, receiving payment for doing so. For example, should a polling organization seek user information regarding their local address, the user can grant access to the information for a predetermined price or outright reject the request.

22.10.2019  |   in Data security
Such models have significant advantages for users in the long-run, enabling them to benefit from their personal data, which may even eventually extend to online habits, rather than being at the disposal of third-parties who benefit from their data. It takes a different time horizon mold than how sound money affects savings or spending habits, but nonetheless, is an opportunity for users to accrue value off of their identity in the long-run -- something that is fundamentally theirs to own.

Leveraging Time and Attention in Various Formats

Another collateral advantage of the advent of cryptocurrencies includes their congruency with the blossoming digital culture, specifically in gaming.

For example, the sheer size and attention spent playing eSports today are astonishing. Games like Fortnite have become cultural phenomenons, offering $30 million prize pools at their world cups, and capturing the concentration of younger generations to the tune of 427 million viewers and more than 2 billion video game players.

An industry that was once thought of as a waste of time by adults is quickly turning into lucrative revenue streams for Twitch streamers, and an emerging blockchain-based gaming ecosystem where players can monetize their time.

The opportunity for blockchain gaming is huge, and the ability to extend forms of monetization to different aspects of the digital age (e.g., gaming) is an important consequence of the cryptocurrency sector’s growth. This is best utilized by incorporating attention-based monetization embedded directly into existing video and ad distribution platforms, like Twitch, which are popular among gamers.

29.07.2019  |   in Innovations
Gamers can subsequently earn rewards for their time and attention, adding value to the experience of gaming that was previously unavailable. Free-to-play mobile games have become poorly construed ideas of games, capturing all of the value from the users via paywalls and reward systems that cost users money. Doling rewards back to users based on their extended gaming or video consumption efforts is both congruent with the inclinations of younger generations in a digital age and a nuanced form of molding longer-time preferences since a long-term incentive is baked into the experience.

It seems antithetical to avoid rewarding people for their time spent online, and instead, allow third-parties to reap the profits when so much time is spent by people in the digital arena. Whereas the tools to monetize time and data were not available before — they are now.

The introduction of Bitcoin has had profound consequences on the re-emergence of Austrian economics and emphasis on longer time horizons. Beyond the immediately visible advantages of Bitcoin, however, are more nuanced consequences of leveraging cryptocurrencies for the monetization of time and data.

In an era of digital consumption, crypto has the capacity to reward users for two of their most valuable assets -- their time and personal data. We’re only the early stages of this development, but the future looks promising.

About the author:

Chris Gale is Co-Founder of Verasity, a disruptive Blockchain Video Sharing Platform designed to pivot the online video ecosystem by enabling a direct and transparent commercial relationship between viewers, content creators and advertisers. Previously, Chris was founder and CEO of Ad Tech Company, Odyssey Mobile which successfully exit to Phunware in 2014 who later listed on the Nasdaq in 2018. Crypto Investor and Blockchain Advisor. 15 Years of digital media and technology.

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