We live in an age where ‘data is the new oil’. And it’s very true. Real value today is less in physical goods but more and more in digital assets such as algorithms in combination with big data. Companies like Facebook, Google, Amazon, Microsoft, Yandex, Tencent, etc. have been collecting, storing and mining data from billions of users. These massive amounts of data can be compared to crude oil: It’s not really worth anything until you refine it. Refining and redistributing data is a complex process and it’s where future companies will make most of their profits.
Billions of people spend hours online each day producing content and data which they give away for free. Imagine you were the owner of an oil well. Would you give away your crude oil for free? Most certainly not. So, why are we giving our data, time and information away for free? There are a number of reasons for this:
- We are not aware that we produce data and/or content.
- We are aware of the fact that we our online behaviour is constantly being tracked but we don’t understand that this data has any value.
- We do know that our data is valuable but we don’t have the means to ‘monetize’ it.
Currently there are only very few ways of earning money online: You can build a site, a blog, create a social media channel, etc. and create free content sticking ads on it hoping to cash in. This type of ‘monetization’ is still the most common one but it’s neither very effective nor profitable. So, most contributors don’t even try to earn money from their online activities and make contributions for free instead. Here are some examples of how people currently produce value without asking for money:
- Tens of thousands of people help make Google Translate more accurate via the Google Translate Contributor Program
- People answer questions on Quora, StackExchange or other forums
- Authors and editors create Wikipedia articles
- Consumers write product reviews
- Google users write Google reviews
And the list is growing.
Now, in some cases such as with Wikipedia the contributors don’t want be paid because they have other motives than earning money but in other cases it would make perfect sense if you earned a few cents, dollars or euros for the time and effort you put it.
The solution to the current situation will be the rise of blockchain-based tokens. There are already examples of sites that pay their users in cryptocurrencies which can be transferred into FIAT currency. Cryptocurrencies allow for instant micro payments without any intermediaries and therefore at almost zero cost. I’m sure that in 2020 we will see cryptocurrencies and blockchain-based tokenizing become widespread once companies like Facebook or Amazon launch their first cryptocurrencies.
What do you think?
By way, you can learn about Blockchain and Bitcoin here: Test: Blockchain as a Technology