Whenever users browse online, a trail of data and information is left behind. All this information is currently stored on the centralized servers of big tech companies, who often use this data for advertising. Entrusting big tech to store our data in a centralized location introduces various vulnerabilities and privacy concerns. With centralized data servers, hackers only need to gain access to the servers to access potentially sensitive information.
Ocean Protocol is aiming to create better ways for individuals and businesses to manage data. It’s an open-source data exchange protocol aiming to solve the centralization problem while making data available to the community to enable the development of better services and products. Ocean was founded in 2017 by Bruce Pon and the AI researcher Trent McConaghy, also known for founding BigChainDB — a blockchain database company. Over the years, Ocean Protocol raised $26.8 million to build the future of data exchange.
The ocean works by utilizing datatokens to gate access to data sets. Whenever someone wants to access a data set, they can gain access by redeeming a data token. The tokens bring together the 3 main components of the ocean ecosystem:
• Providers: mint data-tokens and sell the access rights to off-chain data sets
• Consumers: buy data tokens and redeem access to datasets. These can be businesses or researchers looking for data sets to train AI algorithms or gain insights into certain areas.
• Marketplace: connects providers and consumers to facilitate transactions.
The Ocean Market is working similarly to decentralized exchanges such as Uniswap. That means that it doesn’t rely on a matching engine to bring together buyers and sellers but employs smart contracts running an Automated Market-Making algorithm. Trades are settled automatically by the execution of the computer code.
When a provider mints and publishes a token, they’ll fill in certain fields to inform potential customers about the data-set they are offering. These fields include a title, a description, and where consumers can find the data. The latter will be indicated in the form of a URL. However, the data is encrypted. The data to decrypt the link is stored on different nodes on the ocean blockchain that will only be connected and decrypt once a user pays for the data using a data token (the ocean token).
Ocean protocol’s native token Ocean is used for data validation, to participate in governance, and as a means of payment on the platform.
Once the user pays for the data, the encrypted link will be decrypted, and they can download the dataset. For sensitive data, Ocean protocol gives data providers the option to specify what part of the data sets others can access and which not. Additionally, it’s also possible for researchers to run AI algorithms on a data set without ever gaining direct access to the data.
This protects the privacy of all the individuals contributing to the data set while at the same time giving valuable insights that might lead to the creation of better AI-powered services or treatments for diseases.
Data providers have full visibility on who bought, viewed, and transferred the data as every transaction is stored on the blockchain. They can decide anytime to stop offering their data or specify certain safe accounts to access the data for free.
Organizations can leverage Ocean protocol to build their own marketplaces linking their data and keeping track of ownership.
Several organizations have already implemented ocean protocol to great effect:
sgCarMart is a Singaporean second-hand car dealership. When demand for second-hand vehicles increased, it became harder and harder for buyers to understand what condition a car was in. By implementing the Ocean protocol, sgCarMart offered transparency and an easy way for potential buyers to check the ownership history and previous issues with the car they are looking to purchase.
The big German car manufacturer implemented Ocean protocol to unlock data for monetization. Daimler focused on exploring ocean protocol as an end-to-end solution to manage access control, data discovery, decentralized storage, and compute-to-date (allowing AI researchers to access data sets while maintaining privacy). The Proof-of-Concept delivered proved ways in which the protocol could be used to securely share internal sales and financial data between different parties within the supply chain and production hubs.
Other car manufacturers, namely BMW and General Motors, also explored using Ocean protocol to train their AI for self-driving cars. As self-driving cars are still a new advent, producers are looking for quality data sets to train their algorithms. This will ultimately produce safer self-driving cars.
Many more exciting use cases for a data exchange protocol are yet to be explored. With the demand for quality data sets to train AI while maintaining data privacy, Ocean offers a promising solution for the future of data management.
OCEAN is now trading on Bitcoin.com Exchange against USDT.