Why Your Online Privacy and Security is Under Threat — Blockchain Is Here to Change That 4 900

Privacy has always been important. It’s just human nature to want to protect our secrets and most personal information. In the online world, our online privacy and security is especially important, because the information we share there is available globally. If our sensitive online data is compromised, it could fall into the hands of literally anyone.

For these reasons and more, 59% of internet users worry about their personal info being stolen. For most of us, it’s important to have control over which companies can access and use our data, and we like to imagine they’ll be responsible custodians of it.

It’s no surprise, then, that the recent scandals surrounding the misuse of customer data by big companies like Facebook have caused such a storm.

Rumors about dubious data protection practices have been around for years, but it’s only now that the full extent of Facebook’s negligence is coming to light.

Nobody is sure what will happen as a result, but it’s a safe bet that Facebook will continue to use our data pretty extensively. That’s because it’s a huge money-spinner for them.

Why is our data so valuable

When we use sites like Facebook and Google, we essentially surrender control of our data. All the information we share and post using the platforms belongs to them.

That includes information about what we tend to search for, our interests, how we spend our time, and much more.

It’s extremely valuable to these companies because they work closely with advertisers to help them target ads at the right people. It makes sense: advertisers are likely to have much more success when they aim their ads at people who are already somewhat interested in their products.

This makes data an incredibly powerful resource for these platforms. It helps make them billions in ad revenue and keeps them at the top of their respective games.

It can be considered an invasion of privacy, and an intrusion into users’ personal affairs, but at least the platforms are upfront about their activities in this area.

The Cambridge Analytica Scandal

The Cambridge Analytica scandal, however, revealed a whole new layer of shady behavior. It turns out that Facebook had allowed a third-party political consulting firm to access the data of millions of their users.

This data was then used in political campaigns to influence votes. That’s a problem because none of the users had directly consented to their personal data being used this way.

Since the scandal broke, Facebook and similar platforms have come under heavy scrutiny about their ethics when it comes to our data.

It’s pretty unlikely that these tech giants will cease to exist, or even take a significant hit. But their reputations have suffered. In a recent survey, 40% of people said they were ‘concerned’ about how Facebook used their personal data, and another 44% were ‘very concerned’.

It boils down to the widely shared belief that privacy is a right. People seem to agree – quite passionately – that their privacy and security matter more than the profits of a tech company.

The result of all this controversy is that people want a change. There’s a big desire building for a new system where the privacy and security of our personal data is respected and assured.

It’s possible that the solution could be blockchain technology.

The blockchain approach

Blockchain, the technology underpinning cryptocurrencies like Bitcoin, is well-suited to building systems with privacy and security at the forefront.

The technology is by nature decentralized, transparent, secure, and anonymous. For these reasons, it has the potential to shift the balance of power in the online world.

By using blockchain responsibly to build new systems for handling data, it’ll be possible to move power away from established centralized platforms like Facebook and Google and return control to users.

One of the companies working towards this goal is Kind Ads. Entrepreneur Neil Patel, an advisor for the company, said in an interview with CoinCentral:

“it’s going to change the digital marketing landscape because you’ll be able to cut out the middleman more than anything else, and this industry really needs it.”

The ‘middleman’ here is the all-powerful platforms, the Facebooks, and Googles who dominate the space and require advertisers to work through them. By moving to a more decentralized model, users will be able to work with ad companies directly and decide who gets to access and use their data.

It’s a better model for everyone. Users retain control of their personal data, and advertisers can target people who really want to see their ads.

It’s a new way of doing things, one that ensures more peace of mind for users and a fairer way of handling sensitive data. And it’s sorely needed.

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Founder of Tech Geeks Pakistan and Digital Doers. Hira is also a public speaker and columnist who shares her views on Startups, AI, chatbots and Blockchain technology on VentureBeat, The Next Web and Tech In Asia.

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The Block Talk Award Winners Announced 4 1662

Thanks to everyone for submitting your favorite blockchain innovators and influencers. Our editorial team had a great time learning about new projects and individuals that are building a foundation for our future with blockchain technology, and realizing amazing technological feats in the present.

While it was difficult to select just one project or individual in each category, we’re excited to announce the winners of our first inaugural Block Talk Awards.

  • Best ICO Analysis & Commentary – Tatiana Koffman, Various Outlets
  • Most Engaged Community – Rod Turner, Various Outlets
  • Favorite Blockchain Blogger – Rachel Wolfson, Forbes
  • Best Crypto Journalist – Jordan French, The Street
  • Innovative Female Founder – Amber Baldet, Clovyr
  • Best Podcast Host(s) – Joel Comm and Travis Wright, Bad Crypto
  • Favorite Blockchain Event Host – Adryenn Ashley, Loly.io
  • Top Crypto Speaker – Ian Balina, Crypto World Tour
  • Most Innovative Blockchain CEO – Trevor Koverko, Polymath
  • Top Social Entrepreneur – Evan Caron, Swytch

Winners in each category will receive a $1500 media credit on The Block Talk, access to a network of TBT Award honorees, and VIP access to TBT events in 2019.

ContentBox Launches on Chinese Exchange Huobi 3 621

ContentBox is utilizing the blockchain in hopes of disrupting the digital content industry.

Relevant content should be easy to find in this technologically-enabled era. However, competition has created white noise that can be hard to penetrate for both creators and content-seekers.

Take podcasts. When we go to Apple Podcasts, Spotify, Soundcloud or any other number of apps and search our favorite topics from a phone, tablet or laptop, we expect to find the most relevant results. But, due to convoluted distribution schemes and multiple different platforms, that’s not always the case. What happens, for example, when a podcast isn’t featured on your device’s native app store or podcast app? Or, perhaps it’s only available in the language of the non-English speaking foreign country you may be traveling in (which you might not happen to speak). At this point, it becomes a matter of scarcity: do you risk settling for a diminished digital experience, or worse, diminishing the quality of your trip?

Renee Wang was working in Japan when she realized there were no podcasting platforms that supported multiple languages on the market. She had to download podcasts to MP3 files and piecemeal them into one.  Recognizing the gap, she decided to build a solution.

CastBox was Born

Renee and her co-founder Alex He built CastBox, a discovery app hailed “the Netflix of podcasts,” and an all-in-one solution to the problem with having to hunt down disparate podcast channels, apps, and stations to find the podcasts you want. Replete with foreign language and multi-platform support, as well as personalized recommendation features, CastBox is essentially a blockchain-enabled podcast aggregator that not only allows individuals to discover new podcasts tailored to their interests, but also allows users to see what others are listening to on the app, and personalize their podcast recommendation and search preferences. One of the greatest ways CastBox adds value to users’ podcast experience is through its in-audio search feature: the app transcribes and indexes audio files and then allows users to search for them based off of just one sentence or body of text within it, after which CastBox then shows their search result, in addition to giving contextualized recommendations to similar podcasts.

On July 17, CastBox Launched ContentBox

As Wang and He discovered, the creative landscape for digital content creators is wide and deep, leading to significant and often insurmountable competition. Unfortunately, the profit potential for such creatives is bleak, as a result. In a market where distribution channels take the lion’s share of content creators’ revenues, the blockchain is poised to rebalance the model in the artist’s favor. And that’s where ContentBox comes in.

On July 17th, CastBox launched ContentBox on Huobi Global. The platform is an open-source blockchain infrastructure for creators, a token-based ecosystem comprised of a shared user and content pool along with a unified payment solution. As a decentralized content ecosystem, ContentBox gives users, creators, and companies alike the ability to integrate into it, opening up content channels, monetization, and multi-platform mobilization.

Boasting 18 million users, 3 billion BOX released, and 750 million BOX circulating as of July, ContentBox is now working on scaling its adoption of BOX Passport, a cross-platform identity and attribution gateway; BOX Payout, a borderless and secure payment transaction network; and BOX Unpack, a turn-key content management solution for publishers, to provide even more monetization opportunities for artists and creators.

ContentBox is allowing users to deposit and buy BOX both on its platform as well as on Huobi, which now also accepts BOX deposits, as well as BOX/ETH and BOX/BTC trades on its platform. ContentBox aims to decentralize the digital content industry and tackle its biggest pain points—creator monetization, user incentives, and content ownership—through a unified payout system, a shared content pool, and a shared user pool. ContentBox is the latest and most wide-ranging effort to combat abuses towards artists in the digital production industries, where platforms take the lion’s share of creators’ profits in exchange for distribution rights. ContentBox allows artists to bypass distribution platforms and access users directly, maximizing their profit potential. The release gives creators crypto-incentives for featuring their podcasts on the platform in the form of BOX tokens, which can be traded for ETH and BTC on Huobi Global.

With the release of ContentBox, CastBox further moves to disrupt the digital content production industry with an antagonistic business model that gives value back to creators instead of profiting off of them. There is major support for this: ContentBox is backed by Nirvana Capital, Node Capital, BlockVC, LinkVC, ICONIZ, JRR, and Fenbushi Capital founder Bo Shen. Further, that ContentBox was listed on Huobi at all is validation: only 0.0001% of all crypto projects are listed on this particular exchange. Yet, to definitively change the industry, CastBox will need to reach mass markets to scale platform adoption and reach mass profitability for podcasters using ContentBox, as well as attract key influencers away from top digital content distribution platforms and onto its own. If it can do this, ContentBox could allow CastBox to compete with the top market-dominating podcast apps globally. Keep your eyes open for more news on this continuing development.

Editorial note: this article was updated to correct a typographical error. We previously reported there were 750 billion BOX circulating as of July — that number was updated to reflect the accurate figure: 750 “million.”


What do you think about blockchain vs. tradition digital content distribution platforms? Could these really disrupt today’s digital content industry? Post in the comments below to tell us your opinions!

 

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