blockchain abd privacy

Blockchain: Whose identity is it anyway?

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There is a rapidly growing array of potential use cases for applying blockchain outside of cryptocurrency. In my last blog post I discussed applying blockchain to software development and DevOps, in this post we’ll talk about identity management and finally getting what should rightfully be yours.

There are multiple behemoths in the information ecosystem making billions per week, all of it driven by selling information about people just like you. The on-line ad model has been very efficient at leveraging the unwitting consumer, and a vast and complex ecosystem has evolved to the point where advertisers are able to target you very specifically by demographic, psychometric, behavioral, and/or geographic parameters (and all of it in real-time).

There’s also been a lot of non-stop noise about privacy invasion, how dare they track me, blah, blah, blah.  Bottom line? That ship has sailed and the end user has lost – no more privacy- and won – ever paid to join Facebook or search on Google? Didn’t think so.

The issue I’ve always had with the on-line ad ecosystem’s behavior is that everyone involved gets to make billions on my (and everyone else’s) data, and we get a “free” service. I think as consumers we need to be insisting on a piece of that enormous pie; you want my personal information in order to market to me? No problem, lets see the color of your money.

We’ve all been advertised to our entire lives, and with the rise of digital media and programmatic marketing, we’ve reached the point where its feasible that we can and should be paid for our participation in the advertising ecosystem.

This is where blockchain could become an enabler for the masses, but let’s be clear, this is not about cutting into advertiser’s revenue. If this is applied correctly, everyone comes out with a big smile. Let’s assume you choose to store your targetable data (all of it) on a blockchain, anonymized, and made available to advertisers who are tired of throwing darts into a dark room because there might be a target inside.

Advertisers can pick specific behavioral profiles from your anonymized blockchain (consumer X: male, 35 years old, income of $175K, one kid 5 years old, etc. has been looking at hybrids, or vacation spots in Spain, etc.), they bid for specific parameters, and when your profile matches up to what they sell, they buy access to your anonymized blockchain data and you get a cut. It would be in the form of a micropayment, but if properly executed, there could be a lot of them.

From the advertiser’s side they are able to target way more efficiently because the consumers they’re going after are cool about it, and from the consumer’s point of view, they’re seeing ads that are actually relevant to their stated (rather than implied) shopping behavior.

Consumers: assuming you’re going to see ads whether you like it or not, wouldn’t you rather be paid? Advertisers: stop spitting into a dark wind and talk to people who want to talk to you. This is not quantity, its quality, and its worth paying for it.

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Dan Ortega

Dan Ortega's career spans over 20 years of experience as both a senior executive with multiple Fortune 500 technology companies, including Sun Microsystems, SAP, and BMC, as well as extensive experience as a VP of Marketing for a series of successful start-ups such as Metacode Technologies and Astoria Software. Dan’s focus areas includes data analytics, mobility, SaaS, enterprise software, and content management. Dan graduated from the University of Michigan, and lives in Berkeley.