Privacy and Blockchain — A Love Story?

Privacy and Blockchain — A Love Story?

Have you had your data “hacked”, “stolen”, “misappropriated” by using a “free” online service? You may not know the answer to this question, but we can guarantee with 99.9% confidence that the answer is: YES!

Facebook — Cambridge Analytica, Uber, Twitter are only a few examples of high profile companies, with $Billions of budget that had massive personal data breaches.

Also, a big part of some of these companies’ revenue comes from selling people’s data to advertisers. This is the price to pay for free services we all crave — data for a free service. We are all aware of this, and we all use these services. So we may wonder: Have people stop expecting privacy? Well… no! At least, not in my opinion.

I believe people weigh the pros and cons and, let’s face it, being able to stalk your ‘ex’ is an awesome ‘pro’ of social media right?

So… can we expect some services to remain free, but be immune to hacks and leaks? To be fair, I can compromise some of my data to be sold as long as my credit card info, address and other sensitive data be kept hack-proof!

The problem with the conventional internet is that its concept is sort of broken (when it comes to privacy) — Once you share your personal data (Social Security Number, Credit Card Information, etc.) what happens is a massive “copy-paste” operation between several machines. With many copies of your data being held by many third-parties, odds are things will go wrong at some point. This has some issues to consider, however, the biggest one is that this highly sensitive data gets stored in a centralised system (organisation) — an easy target for a hacker right? Right!

With the blockchain getting more and more popular, and some geniuses developing really nice solutions using this technology, can we expect to regain control over our data? Can we expect private things to remain private?

In reality, the blockchain was initially thought of as a conceptual party (in reality decentralized) that can be trusted for correctness and availability but generally not for privacy.

However, a 2016 joint research from the University of Maryland and Cornell produced a decentralised smart contract that does not store any financial data, thus allowing a higher level of privacy and confidentiality to transactional data.

Blockchain — The Hero We Want, The Hero We Deserve!

Fast forward two years and, yes, blockchain is already a symbol of privacy (or at least a promise for privacy). For example, a distributed ledger does not store the information in one central system (as the common internet architecture is designed to do), instead, it transfers ownership of information. That is to say that instead of making repeated copies of your sensitive data, access is momentarily given to whoever you want it to access your data. Seems simple right? Well… it is!

The problem is that the technology is still in its infancy. And with growth comes growing pains as is the case of the MT.Gox hack, among others…

With a continuous investment, and once the crypto rollercoaster’s dust settles, I believe the technology will substitute (or be an awesome competitor) of the internet as we know it.

This article is not intended to be overly technical — The objective is not to engage in high profile details and technicalities of the blockchain. Instead, I want to shed a light of the need for privacy, and how the blockchain is a great solution for the rise of data as a commodity. Agree? Don’t agree? We would love to know your opinion and engage in an awesome discussion!

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