Wallets, browsers and sandboxes

–– 27 May 2021

Let’s talk data, UX and life in a cookie-free universe…

Five million people. That’s how many active monthly users Metamask have welcomed into the world of crypto, DeFi and NFTs through their wallet. 

Since its beginnings in 2016, it’s built up a deserved reputation as a secure, trustworthy place to keep one’s digital treasures.

That’s not all. Along with storing ETH and other ERC20 tokens in the wallet, Metamask users can connect with DApps and spend their coins in games, stake tokens in DeFi pools and trade them on decentralised exchanges. 

Like Tapmydata, Metamask prioritises privacy. The security it provides users was described as “exceptional” when audited by an independent third party last year. 

But in a space known for fiddly tech and inaccessible interfaces – the reason why Crypto Dad has 100k subscribers for his help videos – Metamask stands out for its user experience in a good way. 

HOWEVER… we do need to talk about garbage UX. Because it’s out there and it royally sucks.

Since crypto’s inception, UX has been a problem. Too many tools and platforms are characterised by user-unfriendly interfaces and complex instructions. 

This is partly due to the open-source, engineer-driven nature of projects; many didn’t have a product team, overlooking design in favour of more technical goals. 

But UX is vital. By focusing on the user, making marketing more inclusive, and treating education as a priority, crypto can appeal to a wider audience without driving away existing fans. 

From day one, creating simple, consumer-grade tech is something we made a pillar of Tapmydata with our app tools. 

Existing projects were too complex, too academic or just ‘home-made’ in execution. We focused on helping people request the info they needed – and keep it safe – with just a few clicks. 

We’ve continued this approach recently with our custom interface for the latest version of the Tapmydata token liquidity pools on Uniswap. 

Feedback made it clear that they were tricky to use for people who aren’t already seasoned DeFi users. As a result, we designed a new process to allow more TAP wallet holders to reap the rewards from staking their tokens. 

Learning lessons. Making life easier. Exactly how it should be. 

Browsers and walled gardens? We say FLoC off

Let’s consider the main way most of us still interact with the web? The browser.

After many announcements for the death of the web cookie over the past few years, things have recently got kinda serious for Google.

Last year, Apple and Firefox disabled third party cookies. This resulted in a 77% drop in tracking sent back to web advertisers. 

This year, Apple took aim at mobile, forcing opt-in to track individuals which led to 9 out of 10 saying ‘No Thanks’. 

From 2022, the market leader Google (with over 70% of global users) will disable third-party cookies.

What will replace them? 

Federated Learning of Cohorts (FLoC) is a new web technology housed within Google’s Privacy Sandbox project. 

It was launched in 2019 with the intention of tackling issues surrounding online privacy, while keeping the economics of the web (and Google’s dominance) intact.

According to Google, the Privacy Sandbox provides a way for advertisers to create bespoke campaigns, but stops anyone from requesting enough info to identify an individual. 

It does this by grouping thousands of people with similar browsing habits into so-called cohorts (FLoCs), which give advertisers a less-specific but still valuable target to aim at.

To ensure users aren’t targeted on the basis of sensitive browsing activity – for example, visits to medical websites – Google says it’s built in a mechanism for discarding certain cohorts, without monitoring the content the users accessed. 

Like Apple, Google has made a big play of balancing privacy versus utility. To be fair, it’s another example of big tech increasingly working with, rather than being hostile to, W3C: the open standards web consortium. 

However, let’s not forget that Google owns the Sandbox and controls the data flow. Both users and advertisers have to trust that ‘Big G’ will do the right thing. In other words, adult supervision on a global scale. Hmm…

Taking back control: user groups, data unions and minting your consent

We’ve shared our recent developments in the world of privacy regulation to give people control over their data, both in Europe and the US. 

Now, members of the crypto and adtech communities are getting together to agree standards and protocols which break out from Google’s walled garden. One such example is the DPPA

What if we could use these laws, protocols and tech to bring together groups of people based on their interests and practical habits? 

This way, a data union can be all the people who own a Tesla, a smart watch like Withings or a Samsung domestic appliance. 

All of these products have open APIs. This means a third party (with the right permissions) can interrogate the data and gather consumer insights, group together people anonymously and send them offers they might actually want. 

This sounds a million times more preferable than stalking people across the web like a deranged sales zombie revealing the same irrelevant digital ad at every possible moment.

The challenge is managing this choice at scale without chaos.  And also accepting that most people have better things to do than fiddle with their consent and preferences settings, let alone deal with janky junk crypto UX.

That’s where Tapmydata’s technology comes into its own. Using our tools and platform for data dialogue, in the near future people can have the option to join a union or pool around an asset they own (data from a device) which sets out the rules for all those members. 

We can then help create an NFT artefact which captures this info and verifies that it’s them. 

All of this happening without Google (or anyone else) poking their nose in. 

Set (and forget) while the data starts to do the work for you, bringing the idea of a universal data income one step closer.

Over the coming months, we’re going to be sharing lots more of our tech innovation and features as they land online. Joining our socials will mean you get to see it and try it first. You know what to do.

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