This is a set-up post for a 3 part blog series about the middle layers that sit in between our app and the blockchain, in our technical architecture.
In 2008, Bitcoin was conceptualized as the first decentralized digital currency. In the infamous white paper, Satoshi Nakamoto designed a peer-to-peer digital currency system that sought to address the underlying issues with single institution/entity control of money. The manifestation of the concept outlined in the white paper gave us a cryptographically secure digital asset (BTC) that can be owned and transacted, by network participants, without having to trust single entities to keep a ledger of ownership records and transactions.
Analogous to money, personal data is plagued by single points of trust. Centralized platforms (think Facebook, Google, Banks, Telcos) abuse power and use their status as de facto data owners to reap economic benefits, without bearing the cost of negative outcomes stemming from faulty centralized architecture.
The properties inherent to decentralization — increased security, and ‘trustlessness’ — make blockchain architecture attractive for consumer data-ownership. Like money, data requires cryptographic security and a decentralized ledger of ownership in which transactions are processed and records are maintained by an open, permission-less network. This obviates the need to trust single entities that can either be corrupted, abusive or act as a central point of failure.
Datacoup has been pushing to give consumers control of their data and a marketplace to share it, for 5+ years. We’ve built several different web-apps and accumulated a dedicated early user-base that understood the value of taking control of their data. Nothing about our core mission has changed. However, with evolving technology comes new solutions that could provide a better means toward our end goal of true consumer data ownership.
The PDT ecosystem is a decentralized marketplace for data providers and data requesters to transact consumer personal data.
Here is a diagram outlining the main actors, objects and resources in the ecosystem:
This harmonious and symmetrical diagram is belied by a technical architecture that is not quite as forgiving on the eyes. We present the above ecosystem diagram as an ontology for people to see how the actors, objects and value are situated.
PDT Technical Architecture
Below is a technical scheme that outlines how the overall platform facilitates consumer-controlled sharing of data with data requesters. In the diagram below, we outline 2 different outlets for data, including a data buyer (Buyer app) and a developer (Developer).
PDT Technology Layers
In our pursuant 3-part blog series, we’ll be explaining the middle layer protocols that sit between the Datacoup app/dapp-suite and the blockchain:
The critical three functions in the middle layer do the heavy lifting of communicating and interacting between the Datacoup app-suite and the blockchain to provide a decentralized way for consumers to control and transact their valuable personal data as they see fit.
Up next, we’ll tackle the first component: Identity.