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Michael Luckhoo Shares Why Data is the New Digital Currency for the Developing World

In today’s economy, data has been referred to as the “new oil.” Websites and apps collect incredible amounts of data about each user, and this data can be monetized. Imagine a world where the individual user controls their data and how websites use it. Data could become a personal asset that could be leveraged in the same way as liquid currency.

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Michael Luckhoo, an experienced entrepreneur and cryptocurrency expert, explains how personal data could be leveraged to create real-world value for consumers in developing countries in particular.

Personal Data

Data is an asset with intrinsic value. Ideally, it belongs to the user who created it. It is formed from collecting your online activities and behaviors along with the insights created by analyzing them. It is an information trail tied to your digital identity. It can be tracked across the Internet, completing a full picture of your online activities.

Each discrete piece of information has intrinsic value but taken together, the data trail points to a complete set of behaviors and activities that make up a virtual representation of you.

Control of Browsing Data

Websites like Facebook, Google, and Amazon use this data as their stock in trade. In addition, they track their users across the Internet, using cookies and individual identifiers. Getting control of personal data back from these companies may be difficult, but it is required to create value that an individual user can leverage on their own.

Data and Blockchain

Your data trail could be used as an authentication device. It could help verify your digital identity in a more sophisticated form of proving that you are “not a robot.” For example, your purchase history could be included in your data trail, similar to credit history.

Data could form the bridge between people in developing countries and the financial services they frequently cut off due to their geographic isolation. For example, fully one-third of the African population is currently excluded from banking services, though financial access is slowly improving year by year.

When the data trail is considered to have intrinsic financial worth, it can be used as an asset and included in financial blockchain systems. This data could be considered as an owned asset, potentially providing a base for credit acquisition.

While blockchain technologies have been somewhat derided in the media recently thanks to wild swings in cryptocurrency prices manipulated by celebrity investors like Elon Musk, the technology can revolutionize how data is created, distributed, and sold. This is because blockchain removes the intermediaries between you and your data.

Currently, data brokers control most personal data online. They scrape consumer data from public sources or buy it from digital services like PayPal, Facebook, and Google. This data includes such diverse categories as your browsing history, e-commerce purchases, social media, financial transfers, and location data.

Data brokers analyze your data to discover a surprising amount about you. Of course, many users would consider this scraped data intrusive if they were aware that it was being collected, but most people do not read the terms of service on websites that sell data.

Each user generates money for data brokers without receiving anything in return. Additionally, this information is not necessarily completely secure, with data breaches like the highly publicized Equifax breach causing havoc in the market.

Blockchain as a Secure System

If the everyday user were given the power to store their online data in a blockchain system, they would own it without question. However, if websites and data brokers wanted to use this data, they would need to pay the users. This is how personal data becomes a bankable asset.

Data and the Developing World

While the developing world has largely been left out of the data economy to date, it is rapidly becoming brought on board. Personal data, when stored in a blockchain system, could become a leveraged asset.

Data could even be treated as an NFT, as collateral, or as an owned asset for purposes of creating a credit score.

Michael Luckhoo Forecasts Future Uses of Data

The future use of blockchain to secure personal data will have a transformative effect on the developing world. Companies that want to get in on the ground floor with this technology are encouraged to do so quickly. The Cirus Foundation is a prime project in the space of blockchain to bridge this gap, simply by replacing the home’s internet router and creating stores of data wealth on the blockchain.

When personal data is treated as an asset rather than a disposable commodity, the power will be placed back to people,along with the financial rewards.

Investors should look into companies that are creating digital wallets that connect personal data assets as this gives rise to banking-type services and novel economic rewards. These emerging companies take a page from cryptocurrency’s book by creating a secure data ecosystem for their users. Using a secure data wallet system will enable users to take control of their data and access financial services while doing so, a win-win strategy.

Michael Luckhoo encourages all online users to look into the possibilities of creating a blockchain data wallet for themselves and securing their precious personal details. By taking back control of our data, we will prevent ourselves from becoming just another saleable asset for a huge company.

Michael Luckhoo via FoxChronicle.com

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