Given the rapid change in the volume and nature of data in the digital age, it is timely to ask whether the existing ethics frameworks for the secondary use of such data are still adequate. Do they address the right ethical issues associated with research using the data? In particular, how will an individual’s privacy be protected?
Consumer privacy is a highly debated topic, and policymakers try to prohibit the misuse and disclosure of information, because in the end, privacy is a fundamental human right. Due to the improvement and progression of technology as a tool, individuals are hesitant to share personal information with strangers. This has increased exponentially, leaving consumers extremely hesitant to pay strangers using personal details with mobile banking applications. The rise of digital payments, and the subsequent lack of cash on hand due to the increased cashless payment methods, being hacked is not the only issue that has surfaced over the past years.
The movement toward a cashless society and the subsequent increased theft and hacking of accounts, have left merchants and service industry professionals in a struggle to maintain tips and payments, that previously were provided by cash. Waiters, musicians, valet attendants and micro merchants are battling to provide a solution to their consumers that allows them to seamlessly pay, while honoring the privacy of both parties. The financial exclusion and disempowerment of these individuals have become clear, and although cash may still be a primary payment method in developing countries, the hyper-accelerated movement is clear, but the solutions to the core issue continue to stagnate. Peer-to-peer mobile payments (and other transactions or communications) are inherently less secure due to using a centralized system that’s based on a “trusted” server.
4 years ago BRAVO CEO Maria Luna and COO Hector Rodriguez were hiking, only to realize they were unable to tip their tour guide due to them not carrying any cash. Soon after, this gave birth to the idea of developing a solution that would allow anyone to pay or get paid without sharing any personal information. Since then, the BRAVO mobile app has been successfully proving problem/solution and product to market fit for 4 years, providing individuals with a safe space to pay strangers privately and instantly. The demand for these services are what has boosted BRAVO’s user activity to well over 190,000 active users, organically. BRAVO
BRAVO Tip or Pay is free to download. It is available in the United States market with special traction amongst musicians, artists and service industry professionals (valet service attendants, maids, concierge, personal trainers, bellhops, drivers, tour guides, baristas, hair stylists, nail technicians, caddies, massage therapists, etc.) and street vendors amongst many others. BRAVO is available on the Apple App store and Google Play or at www.trybravo.com.
For its purpose and innovative technology, BRAVO MVP (minimum viable product) won the Wild Card (Audience Choice Award) at TechCrunch San Francisco 2015 and was chosen by Macworld as the top of the 20 most fascinating iOS apps from TCDisrupt. BRAVO was featured and got an offer in ABC’s Shark Tank from both, Mark Cuban and Lori Greiner.
While BRAVO’s mobile solution mitigates many issues that apps lacking user-privacy still play host to, we believe that BRAVO can even further mitigate the potential issues down the road, by using Blockchain to greatly enhance privacy features. Using Blockchain, it is significantly tougher for a hacker to shut down the entire system, as storage of data is not in a server, but it’s in every block. Blockchain provides the user, utilizing cryptography, with a private key encryption. This working mechanism of blockchain ensures that no one can misuse any data.
By including an anonymizing Proof-of-Stake algorithm and Federated Byzantine Agreement consensus algorithm into BRAVO’s Vnext payment app, users will be able to enjoy the benefits of greatly enhanced low fee, fast, private and compliant payments. The significance and importance of this may not be recognized by users immediately (especially those not familiar with blockchain technology), but when individuals begin to realize the data theft that is currently present within so many mobile payments apps, we believe there will be an accelerated migration toward such technology. Individuals, consumers and merchants deserve to have confidence in a product that respects the fundamental human right of privacy.
As big corporations and apps choose to sell their data as a monetization strategy, BRAVO has created a safe environment where encrypted transactions provide peace of mind to consumers when paying strangers, friends or family. As Blockchain is still in its nascent stage, it is imperative to use this technology wisely and to keep in mind the challenges and complications one must face while using it. The bottom-line is that the future of mobile apps is bright with technologies like the ones developed by BRAVO.