DataWallet is seeking to disrupt the current model for how personal online browsing data is both managed and monetised.
Firstly, they state, there is asymmetric relationship between providers of that data – the online public – and the platforms they are visiting. Online users have little idea of what data is collected from them and to what end this data is exploited.
The problem of transparency is further compounded by the fact that websites generally erect “walled gardens” around the services that they provide so that the benefits that might arise from analysis performed on that data accrues to those websites only.
Think of all those insights into the shopping preferences and browsing habits of consumers that sit resolutely in the hands of services like Amazon which could be of benefit to retail more generally.
Secondly, there is the question of reward – data is monetised by websites. Users, who are ultimately the source of that data, rarely find themselves being rewarded for having provided it in the first place.
Thirdly, there is the question of permission. Under the current model, users are not in a position to decide what data is collected on their behalf nor what can be done with it.
This harvesting of information is, then, currently a one-sided endeavour. The end result is that there is no transparency, poor data governance and a monopoly on rewards.
DataWallet aims to be a data-exchange marketplace where users can sell their personal browsing data to verified entities who are willing to pay appropriate market rates for it. DataWallet also intends to serve up an aggregated data services model that will allow paying clients to access the kind of data pools necessary to drive AI-driven dApps.
This new DataWallet marketplace will be underpinned by the Data Exchange Token (DXT) as a means for purchasers (consumers of data) and sellers (online users) to transact with each other.
Concept and Whitepaper
The DataWallet white-paper – somewhat bulky and heavy on unnecessary technical detail – asserts that data hailing from online browsing is among the fastest growing branches within the data industry. It estimates that the market will continue to grow by some 27% each year for the next few years. They provide a further, astonishing statistic that claims that 90% of all data currently in existence has been harvested in the last two years alone.
Such increases will likely exacerbate the problems outlined above and will result in greater numbers of users having their data unfairly monetised and poorly aggregated.
DataWallet seeks to use a blockchain-based marketplace to encourage greater transparency. Users who sign up to the DataWallet platform create an anonymous avatar and subsequently choose which products and services can gain access to the data generated by the avatar’s browsing habits.
This is designed to give internet users the ability to exercise control over how much of their own identity will be exposed to the outside world, whilst ensuring that businesses exploiting this data are receiving a high-quality product that is “ethically sourced.”
Being an established platform, DataWallet already have an existing product that currently does something similar but under a centralised model. On their current version of the data exchange, providers use a mobile device to manage profiles. These are collated into a central database from which data sales are made, mediated by dx-Insights.
Following the ICO and the subsequent development that this will finance, they will eventually migrate over to a smart-contract based platform. This blockchain-based solution underpins the transparent and secure properties of the platform proposed in the white-paper. The end goal is the “realisation of self-sovereign wallets” – decentralised data profiles managed by users themselves.
The white-paper does not provide concrete dates for its development outline.
The young team behind DataWallet have little real-world experience to draw upon but have attracted the attention of some high-profile investment figures.
The project is headed by Serafin Lion Engel and Daniel Hawthorne. The former is a 25-year-old college dropout turned entrepreneur whose ideas appealed to billionaire investor Tim Draper. He was quickly enrolled at Draper’s own entrepreneur training school, the Draper University.
The latter has a doctorate in Cognitive Science from Stanford University and was briefly a research intern at the Pacific Northwest National Laboratory before co-founding Pnyks Inc., one of the founding companies behind DataWallet.
Aside from Draper, the project has another high-profile team member in the person of Marc Benioff, founder and current CEO of Salesforce, the world’s leading CRM platform.
Whilst Draper and Benioff are figureheads and general advisors for the project as opposed to active project leads, they are both heavy hitters with A1 address books and proven track records in getting startups onto their feet.
Token and Token Value
The token which DataWallet will use for both their ICO and subsequent marketplace is the Data Exchange Token (DXT). Users generating data will be able to sell their data to the companies they choose to in exchange for DXT. Meanwhile, a DataWallet app store will allow other clients to pay money to the platform for AI-driven services using the token.
There will be a total of 750,000,000 DXT created. Of these, 250,000,000 will be sold at ICO. The price for the sale is set at $0.18/DXT and payment can be made using BTC, BCH, or ETH.
The token distribution is as follows:
- Sold at ICO – 33.33%
- Developer pool – 16.66%
- User Growth Pool – 16.66%
- DataWallet development – 33.33%
There is a maximum cap on contributions in USD. The figure is set at $30 million. There is also a soft cap which has not been disclosed.
From the proceeds of the token sale, 15% of contributions will be allocated to marketing. This is a little bit lower than other ICOs undertaking similar initiatives but with Draper and Benioff fronting the project, they will be unlikely to struggle in this area.
As it happens, the early signs for marketing seem positive – still in its pre-ICO stage, there is strong evidence that word is getting out, particularly on Youtube and Twitter. There does, however, appear to be no engagement with Facebook but that appears to have been delegated to bounty hunters as part of its marketing allocation.
This is, of course, an ICO that seeks to finance the expansion of an pre-existing business with an established client-base which should serve as a boon for its likelihood of ultimate success.
DataWallet is taking aim at a real issue with online interaction. It seeks to disrupt the current data-brokerage system whilst retaining the current internet experience of the user. It does, however, face stiff competition, notably from Datum who operate in precisely the same space.
Unlike Datum, however, this project carries high profile advisory board members which, over the longer term, could lend it an advantage ahead of its other competitors.
The project itself has been under development since 2014, another good sign in terms of both human and financial prior commitment.