Blockchain for All: This Company Aims to Put the Power Back in Your Hands

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The following post was written and/or published as a collaboration between Benzinga’s in-house sponsored content team and a financial partner of Benzinga.

Big data is big business. Bigger than oil.

For the better part of the 20th century and into the 21st, the oil industry reigned supreme. Oil drove the global economy, fueling the expansion of countless massive industries from transportation to steel production. The companies that control the Oil market — Standard Oil in the early 1900’s and Saudi Aramco (2222.SR) or BP plc BP today — pull in eye-watering revenues.

But as of 2017, data is king. The tech companies that control most of human data, companies like Facebook FB, Amazon AMZN and Google GOOGL, have combined revenues surpassing oil. These entities have minted gold by mining the seemingly limitless supply of data that comes from using the products sold.

People are Products

Considering many of these products are free — you don’t need to pay to wish your Aunt Mary a Happy Birthday on Facebook or to Google a recipe for chocolate cake — how is it that a tech company makes money?

You.

It’s been said that if a product is free, then you are the product. Every time you use these services, and often, even when you’re not, it collects hordes of data. It analyzes, collates and interprets all kinds of things about users then sells to marketers the world over. People and their data are the oil fields of today. The value is being extracted and up until now, owners of data have not been compensated.

Phunware PHUN aims to change that. The company, which was founded 12 years ago to help businesses transition to a mobile-focused paradigm, has created a blockchain-enabled ecosystem powered by PhunToken (PHTK) and PhunCoin (PHCN) that intends to support the world’s first decentralized data economy. This blockchain ecosystem is managed by PhunWallet on iOS and Android, where users can regain control of and monetize their data. They are in charge of what they choose to share and are compensated for what they do.

This decentralized data economy means no single third party controls your data. Not only does this business model allow users to take the power back from big tech, but it lets advertisers reclaim data, too. In the current model, data collected by the Facebooks of the world is a black box. Users don’t know what is collected, and neither do the advertisers paying for access to this data. How exactly the data is collected and analyzed is a mystery. This leads, according to research firm Juniper Research, directly to advertising fraud. It estimates that the black box approach, or what it calls the “walled garden,” costs advertisers $51 million a day.

Phunware is helping democratize data to make the system transparent and open and to make it work for you and the advertisers, instead of big tech. If you’d like to know more about the impact this ecosystem could have on politics, check out Benzinga’s upcoming Fireside Chat with the company’s senior technology executive, former congressman Ryan Costello. You can watch the interview Wednesday, November 3 here. 

The preceding post was written and/or published as a collaboration between Benzinga’s in-house sponsored content team and a financial partner of Benzinga. Although the piece is not and should not be construed as editorial content, the sponsored content team works to ensure that any and all information contained within is true and accurate to the best of their knowledge and research. This content is for informational purposes only and not intended to be investing advice.

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