Sunday, February 12, 2017

Blockchain based end-to-end digital economy

Note: These are my personal views and not those of my employers, Tata Consultancy Services
I wrote this article long ago about how to avoid monopolies in the digital economy and at its end promised myself that I would write about my view about how an end-to-end blockchain based digital economy could function, solving some of the problems of our generation.
As per Wikipedia, digital economy means
  • e-business infrastructure (hardware, software, telecoms, networks, human capital, etc.)
  • e-business (how business is conducted, any process that an organization conducts over computer-mediated networks)
  • e-commerce (transfer of goods, for example when a book is sold online).
The common element of all the three is data. As well all know data is the new oil. There are so many cowboy individuals and firms exploiting data to derive differential advantages over competition in their respective pursuit of wealth. I contend that the current digital economy is not currently fairly organised and while the emerging data protection regulations are a step in the right direction, there is no clear definition of the destination yet.
Individuals/firms in digital economies have common and separate need for products and services. As described in my last article, I expect an interconnected network of public and private OLTP blockchains to emerge to provide these products and services. As described in the article just before that, the "bulk" data will be stored in off-grid servers and only their hashes will be on the blockchains. The off-grid servers will provide information and OLAP services compliant with data protection regulations.
Individuals/firms can view their own data and request OLAP services for the same. Community information/OLAP services can be provided compliant with data protection regulations. Regulatory information/OLAP services can be provided to regulators directly from the off-grid servers.
The free for all "data analysis" party needs to come to an end. Some monopolists like Google gather and control far too much data than is good for the rest of us. It is only be creating the OLTP blockchain infrastructure and parallel OLAP information management infrastructure, that we can regain control over our own data and liberate ourselves from the monopolists. The current situation where there is no way to verify if these guys follow the data protection regulations needs to stop. The right way to do it is to locate the data itself into OLAP information management infrastructure, which provides OLAP services. Technologically we are nearly there in terms of such kind of OLAP information management infrastructure. The means are there. The will and legal support are needed.
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