Since its inception in 2014, the Global Connectivity Index has acted as a benchmark to guide policymakers about potential frameworks and mechanisms that can swiftly drive their nations towards establishing a digital economy. In a global arena predominantly characterized by interconnectedness and the elimination of physical barriers, a thriving digital economy is recognized by the extent to which it invests in ICT platforms and infrastructures, shows readiness for adopting new innovations, enhances user experiences, and actively engages in market development.
The Digital Economies of Tomorrow
However, the emergence of disruptive innovations in the virtual arena is making it more important than ever for policymakers and analysts to consider the critical role of blockchain and peer-to-peer networks in shaping the dimensions of the Global Connectivity Index and adding another pillar to further strengthen the foundations of advanced digital economies. This perspective has originated from the worthwhile hype surrounding ‘Big Data’, the unparalleled influence of social media platforms in the present day, and the host of privacy concerns that have surfaced as a result of our over-reliance and dependency upon mobile and modern communication technologies.
In addition to these points, this notion is also associated with an almost two-decade-old movement that promotes the motto of “freedom to connect” and “right to the internet”. Fortunately, blockchain solutions are stepping at the forefront of these campaigns by promoting decentralization of the internet and giving to the people what rightfully belongs to them.
Right to Complete ‘Data’ Ownership
- The fact of the matter is that – data is communication, communication is data. Even the most mundane text message conversation which takes place on an application such as WhatsApp or a widely used network such as Facebook and Instagram holds worth if it is used in the right way. As our digital identities continue to expand, the control over personal information, privacy and data appear to be escaping from users’ hands. This is reflected by a string of purposeful data breaches committed by social networking giants and a wide array of incidents where users’ information was compromised without the knowledge of these companies. With the uncertain direction in which the future of the internet is headed, it has become more fundamental than ever to take the internet back from the clutches of centralization.
- The essence of the argument is that no matter what the type of ‘data’, users should have the rightful authority to use or trade it the way they want to, and this is where the notion of data trading comes in. When tracing back the origins of the internet, one characteristic which rightly made it the property of the people was the absence of any monetary shackles binding its usage. Back when the internet truly belonged to the people, corporations could not influence pricing mechanisms and govern usage through terms such as ‘fair use policies.
- Unfortunately, the internet as we know it today does not belong to ‘everyone’ but those who have the means to regulate it. The data trading approach is analogous to taking ownership of your personal information from profit-hungry corporations because it allows you to fully control your data allowance without adhering to the terms and conditions applied by data providers and choosing who gets to benefit from your data package as an ISP provider.
Data Trading is Not a Fantasy
However, the critical question here is – how is that even possible? Data trading platforms essentially act as a marketplace that connects buyers and sellers of data to break the monopoly of service providers. It is based on the creation of one humongous hotspot through a decentralized blockchain where traditional economic forces do not play a role in how buyers and sellers make decisions. The essence of data trading platforms is based on the tenets of complete ownership, flexibility, and rights to the internet. Picture this – you are relaxing on your couch on a breezy Sunday morning chatting with a friend over an instant messaging application when a message from your data provider disrupts your banter – ‘your data package will expire in 1 day’. What do you do at this point if you have not used much of your data allowance?
Downloading a 2 GB movie or binge streaming shows that you have already seen should not always be the solution to this problem. What if you could sell this excess data to a friend for a much cheaper price rather than wasting it away? This is precisely what data trading is all about. It is similar to the business model of Internet Service Providers (ISPs) except in this case anyone, from any part of the world regardless of their economic status can engage and become an Internet Service Provider at the click of a button and make money.
The Way for the Future of Global Connectivity
It would be rather unfair to minimize the potential contributions of data trading by simply labeling it as a means of earning a quick buck. This blockchain-led innovation is the way forward for global connectivity because it uses cryptocurrency such as specialized tokens to send, receive, buy, sell, donate and monetize internet data which makes the role of centralized ISPs irrelevant. As the concept of data trading completes its journey from idea to reality with the emergence of data trading platforms, it will completely transform global connectivity as we know it and lead a revolution of taking the internet back from those who use it to promote their malicious motives and jeopardize its worth through the monopolization of innovations and technologies which should actually belong to each and every individual on this planet.