Datawallet Blockchain — Strategic Series: Article I
This article is the first of a four-part series that will examine the history of blockchain. Its purpose is to provide background information on the technology that facilitated Datawallet. This first article will confront topics such as blockchain architecture, technology trends, data markets, and future plans for Datawallet. It will also provide a historical context of blockchain technology and discuss how that directly translates to Datawallet’s target markets, users and use-cases. It will explore the concept of “sovereignty” and financial aspects from simple crypto-currencies to sophisticated financial services that can be integrated with a value delivery system, with data as the commodity, using Datawallet.
History affirms that a number of consequential threads are crucial to technological innovation. These have culminated in the emergence of blockchain technology. Some consider this a result of larger inevitable trends towards reduced friction in access to, and distribution of, information. This series will cover the context and relevance of blockchain technology in relation to these trends. Part one discusses the high-level that these trends are explored and evaluated. To understand the history of that evolution, we need to distinguish the relation between digital sovereignty and Datawallet.
A Brief History
Over the last many years, tremendous amounts of energy and money have been poured into blockchain technology. From cheers to tears, enthusiasts, entrepreneurs, and investors have tried their hand at the blockchain wheel of fortune. Invariably markets go up and down, but what survives, and what makes them sustainable over the longer upward trend?
Understanding this helps us to determine the best course of action in the long term. In spite of all the hyperbole and the latest fads, ground is continually being gained in the evolution of the technology, industries, and markets. Because blockchain is about more than tokens for ICO’s, current market rates, or fiat credits for payments. Blockchain is the result of decades and generations of evolution that have come before. From basic encryption of messages to the proof-of-secrets of public key cryptography, it is because of these earlier and subsequent innovations that digital sovereignty is now fully possible.
In truth, we should marvel at how we take the current state of information technology for granted. From the rapid rate of response and immediacy in telecommunications to the disruption of media, politics and major industries, we live in a reality which was once a science fiction fantasy and is now a foregone conclusion. As is the future of blockchain.
The Development Of Blockchain
Innovations which led to blockchain technology are as profound as they are disruptive. Following the development of message encryption during WW2, those working in this advanced field pursued a landmark achievement; to alleviate the necessity of having to share the keys to these encrypted messages.
In 1976, researchers developed a new approach in cryptography called asymmetric encryption. This resulted in the ability to encrypt messages with a provided public key, which could only be decrypted by a separate private key that remained secret! This “closed the loop” on the secure transmission of messages. It also allowed for another fundamentally important and equally disruptive use case for these same types of keys; to prove ownership of the undisclosed secret key without ever revealing it to a second party.
Consequently, the public key could be stored by the other party or system and then authenticate the user against this “account” at a later time. This was a revolutionary advancement that allowed the user to authenticate to a computer or system without the need for a separate centralized authority. This led to secure user accounts, secure computer networking, the creation of the Internet and, eventually, the development of blockchain technology.
Crypto And Digital Sovereignty
The beginning of digital sovereignty was a monumental reversing of authority. Users themselves could now have control of the key to authenticate a system, even if that system was still centrally controlled and administered.
In fact, it was the access that the owner or administrator had to all stored data which remained a major obstacle. The solution would have to be one which cryptography couldn’t directly provide. It would require the operation of a service which could both support key based validation, as well as eliminate centralized authority over the system. This would be the final realization of sovereign access to a non-authoritarian system.
As asymmetric cryptography led to digital sovereignty, P2P technology gave rise to the first concepts for popular decentralized systems. From Napster to BitTorrent, these networks allowed users to distribute information without direct central authority. Engagement in the operation and use of these networks were not exceedingly high; particularly after the release of commercial solutions for content such as iTunes. The lack of incentive to support these distributed solutions is one of the core concepts that blockchain technology addresses.
Blockchain And Financial Sovereignty
The achievement of Satoshi Nakamoto via Bitcoin (the first popular decentralized application using blockchain technology) added impetus to the operation of a decentralized or P2P network. This was done by tracking contributions, and the use of a system with an internal secure value measure. The resulting crypto-currency was substantially more secure than existing centralized database software used in banking, payments, and finance markets.
This would be a unique value proposition in competing with legacy financial networks and the enabling factor for a large and secure decentralized system. Increased usage of the system would allow a significant number of pseudo-anonymous users to securely transfer value completely outside the direction of a central authority, achieving financial sovereignty. This was a milestone that led many early adopters to invest in cryptocurrencies outside of the usage of the system.
Despite the fact that asymmetric cryptography and blockchain data sovereignty had arrived, there was still one final problem: delivering accessibility and value to end users. Web3 and Datawallet are providing the “last mile” to common Internet users with access to this revolutionary technology.
Sovereign access to computer systems and networks was typically only available for the more sophisticated users of information technology. Although the World Wide Web was a very successful information platform for consumer users, the state of browsers at the advent of the Web could not support the calculations needed to adhere to the “client-side key-based authentication”.
With the emergence of blockchain technology, many attempts began to develop secure sovereign access over the web. From hot and cold wallets to third-party oracles, none could solve the problem that there was no existing way to easily and securely give users direct control over their keys on the Web. Furthermore, it wasn’t easy to communicate to the user what the benefit was.
Until there were user-friendly key management features, the benefits of user-controlled data and service access would not be realized. A new approach provided access to a limited market via Web browser plugins with recent examples like Kryptokit to Metamask. With these initial attempts at putting user keys in the browser, now the user could manage their keys and therefore achieve “sovereign authentication” across the Web.
Although technically innovative and accessible to knowledgeable users, these initial plugins were not as polished or feature-rich as commercial software on App stores. Key management also required additional interactions from the user which would need to be removed for a top-quality user experience.
Arrival Of Web3 And The Datawallet
In the advent of a Web3 approach to key management, users will need to manage their own data to achieve full sovereignty, rather than relying on centralized services to store and manage their data. Businesses will also need new ways to access this distributed sovereign user data.
At Datawallet, we are delivering the “last mile” towards usable technology for common use on the Internet, in order for users to easily take responsibility for their full data sovereignty in the digital domain. From tools for collection, managing, and curating data, to privacy protected marketplaces for data exchange and secure analysis of data, the Datawallet is the new standard for Web3 and blockchain.
Continual progression in applied cryptography from subtle sophistication in specialized applications, to large scale innovation and industrial grade systems, have furthered this technology. In general, blockchain and crypto tech has now reached a stage where full digital sovereignty is possible. This final phase of disruption in the evolution of cryptography and technology gives rise to a sovereign digital system for sovereign users to account for transactions, independent of central authority.
It’s easy for us to assume previous advancements as a part of everyday life without realizing how far we’ve come. In the larger historical context, we should appreciate this innovation, and therefore encourage the ground that has been laid for us this far. It is now the final stage of our progression. Join Datawallet for the last mile of the journey.
In the next article, we will explore the existing crypto-landscape as it exists in the blockchain industry.
Sign up to our waitlist today on www.datawallet.com to be amongst the first on the new platform, or follow our socials to stay up to date on all things Datawallet.
Datawallet — Your Data is Yours. Own It.