Author: Wang Yanhua
Data is now arguably the world’s most valuable resource. Co-founder and CEO of Banyan Network David Zhou wants to make even more value out of data by reshaping how it is currently governed.
He believes that data is more valuable when combined, and data devalues when unused.
He said, “There are a lot of large companies with tons of data sitting in their servers. These data are wasted if you don’t use them.
“Every organisation now has data, but rarely do you see data being shared between companies. The main issue is trust. No one wants to send each data because they’re worried about losing their competitive edges.”
He hopes to resolve the trust issue between companies with blockchain, and achieve personal data fusion across various companies. He said, “Through our fusion technology and ID mapping, we can identify and map each individual’s personal data. We can then build a complete user profile.”
The first step towards achieving this vision is collecting data from UnionPay Smart, UnionPay’s big data platform.
Banyan Network’s other co-founder Kelvin Long is also a co-founder of UnionPay Smart. Hence, Zhou believes that they have good resources in the data sector to get them moving. “They have all these data in their servers, and we can have access to it as they believe in us,” he said.
He added, “Smaller data providers will eventually join due to the snowball effect.”
HOW USERS BENEFIT
That begets the question of how such an arrangement benefits users. Users have grown increasingly wary of data collected about them in the wake of the scandal surrounding data analysis company Cambridge Analytica.
In centralised solutions, data fusion is more likely to wholly benefit corporations. They can use the wider array of data collected to make marketing even more targeted for individuals. Right ads can be picked for different people more accurately, and more products can be sold.
Zhou argues that the blockchain technology that Banyan Network is based on can make the situation win-win and reward users as well.
He said, “Users have full control to their data when they subscribe to Banyan Network. If their data is used, they will be rewarded with BBN. We reward people when they help us clean data as well, which is a necessary step in data fusion.”
He then shared with Block Asia the four steps Banyan Network takes with data, “The first step is providing the gateway for data flow and connect the data.
“Next, it’s data governance, which includes cleaning, tagging, and refinement. We will reward third party services who do it. Some of it can be done by AI as well, while some parts still require humans.
“The third step is data fusion. This is where the ID mapping happens. Different data providers have different IDs, and we link the data to individuals.
“The last step is data service. For customers who need data, we process the data for them.“
When asked why a distributed data storage system is needed, Zhou said, “The difference between this and a centralised database is that blockchain resolves the trust issue. Blockchain is the trustworthy third party.“