Remember those creepy future dystopian novels you were forced to read back in high school? While they were probably intended to be cautionary tales, it’s safe to say that the days of Big Brother have arrived.
Technology now creates a staggering amount of data – 2.5 quintillion bytes each day, to be exact. A study by Domo Business Cloud states that 90% of all data was created in the past two years alone.
This wouldn’t be a big deal except that harvesting and selling this data has become a highly lucrative business.
Companies now make a nice chunk of change creeping around online collecting personal information. From your demographics and contact info to how much time you spend on different websites, it’s now nearly impossible to remain anonymous online.
And some companies are much creepier than others.
But why do companies even care?
Basically, to up their odds of selling you crap. Why waste time marketing to the entire world when it’s possible to narrow your focus to the customers most likely to buy what you’re selling?
But before you delete all your social media profiles and move to a remote cabin in the wilderness, read on.
As it turns out, Web3 may hold the key to ending the data madness – or at least making it more manageable. At the moment, no one can say for sure precisely what Web3 will look like.
But the dream is that it will restore control to users rather than massive tech companies. Even now, there are plenty of Web3 start-ups dreaming of a more decentralized future.
One such start-up, a Singapore-based company called Navigate, is developing a platform to help users monetize their own data. Navigate plans to achieve this by creating a massive data ecosystem using blockchain technology.
While it’s still under development, it will eventually be released in two layers.
The Navigate Marketplace
If you’re looking to turn your data into cold hard crypto, then the Navigate Marketplace will be the place for you.
As we speak, it’s being designed to allow users to contribute data from a wide range of devices- from smartphones and Go Pros to drones and smart cars. Upon logging on, you’ll be able to upload your data to a secure online vault, where it will be scrubbed, anonymized, encrypted, and recorded.
In exchange, you’ll be rewarded with NVG8, the platform’s native ERC-20 token.
But what kind of data can you upload?
Rest assured, Navigate doesn’t seem interested in selling your selfies to corporations. Instead, it’s after what Navigate calls NGD or next-generation data.
Think more like dashcam images or information about local air pollution, noise levels, and network efficiency. NGD primarily consists of the type of data your devices are already generating all the time, whether or not you’re even aware of it.
But what’s the point of all that data if there’s no one to use it? That’s where the platform’s second layer, Navigate dApps, comes in.
It’ll be where developers head to access all that great info collected in the marketplace. They can then spend NVG8 to use it to build and power dApps.
But who exactly are these folks that Navigate expects to care about your drone footage? You might be surprised.
Maybe developers will be looking to give climate researchers access to live weather statistics. Or perhaps they want to build an app that provides city planners or farmers access to high-quality overhead drone images.
Even things like annotative images or battery data can be incredibly valuable to companies looking to improve their smart products.
The beauty of it is that many of your devices are already generating this type of data anyway. Navigate envisions a world where you can put it to use with minimal effort.
What’s next for Navigate?
In June, Navigate enjoyed a killer seed round that brought in over $7 million worth of investments.
At the moment, they’re gearing up to set out on the platform’s first venture, which will be called Navigate Maps. As the platform’s first-ever dApp, Navigate Maps will be like Google Maps, only better.
Rather than featuring three-year-old footage collected by a random van, it will use constantly-updated, user-generated images. Not only does the whole concept sound pretty cool, but it will also give Navigate a chance to showcase itself to the world.
Should it prove a success, hopefully, more companies will take a hint and get in on the fight to bring stalker-style data collection to an end. Here’s to a gloriously decentralized future, one Web3 start-up at a time.