What’s your data worth?

–– 27 Apr 2021

Welcome to a data explosion

Data. The new oil. Lifeblood of the digital economy. Lubricating the cogs of the internet. All well-worn, often-used analogies. Yet, remarkably, they all still apply. 

The fact is, there is more data sloshing around than ever before. Believe it or not, ninety per cent of the world’s data was created in the last 2 years. When broken down, the figures are even more staggering: 

  • 1.7MB of data was created every second by every person during 2020.
  • 2.5 quintillion bytes of data are produced by humans every day.
  • 463 exabytes of data will be generated each day by humans as of 2025.
  • 95 million photos and videos are shared every day on Instagram.
  • Every day, 306.4 billion emails are sent, and 500 million Tweets are made.

All this data is worth mountains of money to big tech and business corporations. Yet GDPR and scandals like the Big Hack or the recent Clubhouse leak demonstrate that all too often the price for us as individuals is our privacy and digital security. 

Facebook and ‘Posh Privacy’

We’re told that privacy is dead or becoming something of a luxury item. You can see the biggest winners among the current platforms are keen to preserve their own and that of their families. Mark Zuckerberg not only purchased the adjacent houses to his $59m mansion, but the estate across the road too! 

When we try to better understand how much key elements of our data are worth, things get tricky. Tapmydata recently took part in a discussion hosted by BIGtoken which included the Data Dividend Project inspired by US presidential candidate Andrew Yang. 

We drilled down to what each user can be worth, taking Facebook as the starting point. Doing a quick-and-dirty calculation of Facebook market cap divided by monthly active users, the figure comes out at around $3k per user per year.

This is the ‘deal’ you get for all your data, your pictures and crucially the links between you and those you care about in return for the ‘free service’ Facebook provides. And that’s just one platform! Like they say, if it’s free, YOU ARE THE PRODUCT.

Do we need to live in a cave without free services? 

The big question is: how do we reset this balance? A lot of recent privacy tech start-ups have focused on deleting people’s data from company records and mailing lists, or creating ‘burner’ accounts to obscure their identities from marketers. 

At Tapmydata, we’ve learned from our community that people don’t want to delete the digital services they use.  Nor do they want to play at being spies. The bottom line is they’re much too busy and way too time poor. That’s modern life for you.

What they actually want is to know their data is safe, private and they’re treated with respect as data customers, even if they haven’t bought anything – yet. 

Our app gives them the tools to manage their rights in a simple way, get back their data and keep it securely on their phone along with a digital ID. 

Smart companies get this direction of travel, and are already moving to respect the rights of citizens, beyond compliance, whether they choose to use Tapmydata’s platform for data dialogue, or provide their own preference centres. 

Either way, we’re moving beyond cookie banners and compliance policies nobody reads, to what Shiv Malik and our friends at Streamr call ‘Data Free Movement’. In other words, open APIs to move data from one company to another, with the user in charge. 

The pace of this change has picked up with recent regulations in Europe and the US focused on ‘gatekeeper’ platforms like Facebook, Google and Linkedin. 

People, power and companies finding a fair price

The next step is to discover the real price of your data, and make money from it. With crypto and Web3 technology, we now have our own platforms with decentralised marketplaces like Ocean, and payment rails in the form of ERC20 tokens like TAP, DATA, BAT and others. 

But where do the companies who buy data fit into this picture, and what’s in it for them? They are growing in number, and like consumers, increasingly unhappy with the old system of platforms, intermediaries and data brokers. 

By 2022, 35% of large organisations will be either sellers or buyers of data via formal online data marketplaces, up from 25% in 2020.

Gartner

It now seems certain companies will also become ‘pro-sumers’ in the words of Dame Wendy Hall: selling their own first party data and buying direct from people or groups represented by Data Unions. 

Tapmydata was one of the first Data Unions. And now with almost 10,000 users, we can offer real insights to direct data buyers as more of these marketplaces come online. 

The final key to unlock the value of our data is consent. This controls how, where and with whom our data can be shared, sold and used. We’re working with our new partners to make this a reality later this year. 

Previously, we’ve talked about NFTs and how they’re taking the art world by storm. Next up, we’ve got some Verified IDs featuring hyper-cool glitched selfies! Minted as NFTs! Yes, it’s true. And they’re very nearly here… 

As always, to find out more you can visit our Website and Twitter, or join the conversation on our Telegram to get involved further.

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