The Future of Blockchain Data
For those who grew up during the ’80s and ’90s, it would have been hard to predict just how profoundly the internet would change the world. Web1.0 gave many some glimpses, for sure, but it wasn’t until Web2.0 which completely revolutionized the way humanity lives, works, and interacts with everyday life.
From its “early” origins (late 90s, early 2000s), Web2 has evolved from Yahoo! and Facebook, to now the daily habits of Google, TikTok, Twitter, Instagram, and more. It has, without a doubt, changed society and people’s behavior to what we know it to be today.
But with all the joy that all of us derive from using Web2 products, there lies a troubling issue. This issue, which becomes increasingly mainstream newsworthy by the year, is related to data.
As most people are aware by now, Web2 behemoths like Google and Amazon are giant collectors of data. While providing incredible services, the companies collect user data so that they can be repackaged and sold off, and/or be used to target right back to us (did you ever do a Google search only to find that advertisements began to appear everywhere related to your search (outside of Google, across devices, etc)? This is just a small example of Web2 power unleashed).
What’s wrong with data in Web2.0?
Whether users realize it or not, monopoly and censorship is out in full force in the world of Web2. Most Web2 traffic belongs to a handful of platforms (see companies referenced above), and the data that is collected by those platforms is then monetized for their own benefit. Data used to create targeted advertisements around a user’s latest Google search is one thing, but data used for the creation of targeted advertisements to sway political views, to censor the search results of a certain topic, and/or to influence or elicit certain emotions out of humans is another. The truth is, the data from each click, each view, and each minute spent on a webpage can eventually be used to target the very user which produced that data to begin with.
Put in this light, most people would agree that it feels very wrong to have our personal preferences and interests to be collected and exploited by the free “products” which are dished out by these platforms. It is not unreasonable to assume that, given the opportunity, web users would want ownership of their own data — control of who (if anyone) can see their clicks, their likes, their views, and how their time online is spent.
Instead, personal data has been made public domain. The privacy that one appears to enjoy from using Web2 within the confines of their home very quickly fades away when a recent online search suddenly reappears in the form of an advertisement — over, and over, and over again. Shouldn’t users have the ability to enjoy the benefits of being globally connected, while keeping ownership of their own data and privacy?
How Web3 data is different
While Web1 may have been known as the “read” era of the internet, and Web2 is known as the “read/write” era, Web3 is (and will be) known as the “read/write/own” phase of the world wide web. How?
The easy comparison is that Web2 corporations like Twitter and TikTok are centralized services — providing all of their data from servers and devices all owned by one entity (the corporation itself). Therefore, no matter whether one is in the United States or the Philippines, all data requests (read and write) are all served and delivered to servers owned by the Web2 parent corporation.
Web3 offers a different model — a decentralized one, wherein users continue to connect to a server from anywhere in the world, but the server one connects to in the United States may differ from the one a user connects to from the Philippines. And the server that one connects to from the United States at 9am in the morning may be different from the one that a different user connects to at 9:05am during the same day. The fact is, that a binding set of rules in the form of a protocol governs what can and cannot be done within this decentralized network. Participants of this network (who may want to provide node services) must play by these rules in order to be accepted as trustworthy participants. In a well-designed protocol, those who go outside of these rules may be punished, and may eventually be pushed out of participation.
While the jury may be out on how many different server/node providers there may need to be for proper decentralization, in these early days of Web3, decentralized data providers numbering in the thousands is probably already a very good start. By building a properly decentralized network, wherein each of the data providers following the rules of a protocol can serve data to its users, one can ensure that no “one entity” owns a user’s data.
Other interesting benefits of Web3 data include the fact that while data can be made publicly available, that data is not directly linked to a specific user (at least, in the traditional form of linking X data with person Y). Instead, data is typically traced through wallet addresses or smart contracts, which an end user can associate with anonymously, and can also associate with multiple different instances of (e.g. having multiple wallets, leveraging multiple smart contracts).
In this way, while information may be made available for all to see, ownership of such data actually remains private and anonymized — unable to be leveraged by any centralized party or interested organization.
Is it all this simple, tho?
Sounds like a pretty good deal, right? Most may be surprised that the evolution to a decentralized web hasn’t taken place sooner, especially knowing what we know above about what it offers. But it’s not all fun and games, decentralization comes with certain (and significant) challenges.
On one hand, the beauty of a decentralized web is that “everybody” owns the internet. But the rubber hits the road when one realizes just how “easy” Web2 companies have made it for everyone by fully funding and hosting the needed infrastructure to create a seamless experience. Streaming Netflix can only happen so naturally because of the massive amounts of infrastructure and redundancies the movie studio has put into place. Replicating the same kind of setup, with equal or even better latencies, will take time, as more and more users are needed to support such an arrangement.
In parallel, the amount of data that is growing (both in Web2 and Web3) is unfathomable. This ever-growing amount of information needs to be intelligently managed — especially if it will be done so across multiple data service providers, across the globe, bound only by the rules of the underlying protocol.
Web3 also faces efficiency challenges, as well as data interoperability issues. And lastly, with so many different protocols to choose from, the uniqueness of each protocol itself — as each ecosystem plays by its own rules, with its participants decidedly sticking with a certain vision of the next iteration of the web.
Where does this put PARSIQ?
In our eyes, PARSIQ is in the best place of all when it comes to Web3 data — the front seat. As a dedicated blockchain data solutions provider, PARSIQ believes that the future of blockchain data is in the interpretation layer. Raw data, transformation, storage, access, consistency & reliability — these are all of the things that PARSIQ is focused on to deliver for its customers, and for those who require access to what is being posted in the decentralized web.
The company is proudly supporting the Ethereum, BSC, Polygon, Avalanche, and Arbitrum networks, with more in the works as the space evolves. Using the Tsunami API, parties interested in Web3 data can get reliably fast raw and unstructured data — both real-time and historical. For those who require more bespoke access, PARSIQ offers Data Lakes. Data Lakes are PARSIQ’s solution to helping projects get access to specific endpoints — customizing solutions that each Web3 project undoubtedly needs to power their product for their end user.
Sure, there are other data providers out there, providing APIs, node services, both on their own and together. PARSIQ provides the foundational layer of what Web3 businesses need in terms of data through its Tsunami API, but the real value is through customized data. To stand out from the crowd, businesses need to have the right foundations (data) to start from. PARSIQ is here to help those projects to do just that.
Excited to extract data from the blockchain? So are we! For more information on the Tsunami API and custom Data Lakes, reach out to firstname.lastname@example.org.
To check out everything that the Tsunami API can do — check out our docs here. Make sure to bookmark and visit regularly for updates!