Hi there all,
7th interview already! And today we are introducing Airbloc.
Airbloc is an enterprise-grade data infrastructure for legitimate and transparent user data collection, monetization and exchange. Data on Airbloc can be used for targeted advertising, business intelligence and research purposes.
We visited Airbloc HQ located at Bangbae-dong and sat down with Roi Nam, the CEO of ab180 Inc., the operator of Airbloc.
Klaytn: Pleased to meet you. Kindly introduce yourself for our readers.
Nam: I am a technology entrepreneur with experiences in co-founding two technology start-ups prior to the current Airbloc and ab180. While studying business administration at Seoul National University, I discovered a new interest in software engineering, which I picked up myself from scratch.
Klaytn: How did the collaboration with Klaytn come about in the first place?
Nam: Easy. First and foremost, Klaytn’s roadmap was very impressive. The development plan was specified in a specific and concrete manner, so Klaytn’s confidence gained my full trust. And so was Klaytn’s technology too. We were able to migrate our existing service with ease. All that to say, Klaytn’s trust and compatibility were excellent. And of course, Kakao is Korea’s one of the most powerful IT companies, and it was very natural for us to be wanting to join Kakao-backed Klaytn.
Klaytn: Can you tell us about your blockchain service?
Nam: Put simply, Airbloc provides infrastructure solutions for enterprises and applications to acquire, monetize, and exchange data in a transparent and privacy-preserving manner. We aim to return the the data ownership back to data owners — which, somehow sounds very ironic, sadly — and also provide applications and websites with tools to collect and monetize data legitimately, as well as allow data consumers to explicitly purchase consented data with an auditable source of provenance for their business intelligence, and targeted marketing purposes.
And our interest specifically lies in the ownership of all these personal data. We record the ownership and control of personal data on blockchain based on individuals’ consent, and allowing businesses to legally purchase these data.
Klaytn: So, in a way, Airbloc Protocol is disrupting the traditional data market in which only businesses and enterprises are the sole owners of consumer data.
Nam: Exactly. Just to briefly glimpse, there are three main stakeholders in today’s personal data market: users, applications, and data consumers. Users today leave a trail of data whenever they visit websites and browse applications on their digital devices. Our information and data are being collected even at this current moment via a variety of mobile applications that you could never think of as collecting your data. Like weather app or keyboard app. Our data is being collected indiscriminately and also used indiscriminately.
What’s worse, there does not yet exist a legitimate data market. Applications find it difficult to sell accumulated user data in a legal manner and thus often rely on illegal means to monetize data. The enterprises, too, have difficulty purchasing insightful and ‘clean’ data at reasonable prices for their business intelligence and targeted marketing purposes. Furthermore, small and medium-sized enterprises are often barred from purchasing data in small amounts.
And there recently has been a paradigm shift in which the ownership of personal data should now be entitled to users themselves instead of being controlled by businesses and enterprises. Earlier this year on May 25th, European Union issued what’s called GDPR, which gives individuals greater control and transparency over their personal data and raises the bar for businesses to achieve lawful processing of personal information. Blockchain and GDPR share similar goals and motivations. Both aim at decentralizing data control and returning the right to control from centralized entities back to individuals. Aside from sharing similar goals, blockchain can effectively help organizations, data-centric applications and data owners with the GDPR and other data-related regulations.
This is where Airbloc positions itself. We want to take the lead in revolutionizing the personal data market.
Klaytn: And we must ask at this point, how exactly would Airbloc tackle these problems?
Nam: Put simply, we seek to protect individual data privacy, reward those who provide their data, and also make these data available with transparency and traceability. And in doing so, we allow users to track, control, and monetize their personal data. Users directly submit their data to our data supply chain built on top of blockchain technology, which allows users to view a transparent record of data ownership and transaction flows, as well as monetize their data. They can also control the extent to which they would like to sell their data on Airbloc marketplace. For example, users can decide to sell their entire raw personal data, or only sell the rights to be targeted by advertisers. Moreover, in accordance with the revenue distribution algorithms as specified on the smart contract, users will receive revenues generated from actual data usage or sales.
To ensure easy adoption of Airbloc, we introduce our highly scalable Airbloc SDK (Software Development Kit) that can be seamlessly integrated into existing applications and websites. With the SDK, they can collect and monetize their underlying users’ data in a legitimate and GDPR compliant manner. Also on Airbloc Tracker, users can choose and control which data they wish to monetize or transfer to other data platforms.
Klaytn: We’re interested in your existing business.
Nam: ab180 is a technology company with deep expertise in data analytics, digital advertising and blockchain technology which services Airbridge and Airbloc. To this date, we have collected data from over 60 million devices, which are 2/3 of available devices here in Korea. Just recently, our company was awarded by KB Kookmin Card, one of Korea’s largest credit card companies, as the top 10 promising technological companies in Korea with expertise in data technologies.
Through Airbridge, we provide essential data-driven solutions for enterprises to measure their marketing performance — marketing attribution, fraud detection, people-based identity matching, etc. — so that they rely on accurate insights to better optimize digital marketing campaigns. Our end goal is to combine Airbridge and Airbloc’s technologies together to better serve enterprises with a marketplace where they can legitimately purchase collected data for their business intelligence, targeted marketing and research purposes.
Klaytn: How do you plan to sail through blockchain industry? Also, how do you envision the future of this industry?
Nam: Airbloc is all about personal data. We seek to create a market in which personal data is actively transacted in a clear and transparent manner thereby bringing benefits to all individuals, apps, and data consumers. And in this way, we seek to allow blockchain technology to be readily used in our everyday lives for creating real value in the market. And we’re especially excited to be working with Klaytn because Klaytn’s all the other initial service partners are those who are very much focused on validating the value and utility of blockchain.