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The inevitability of tokenized data

Chris McCoy Contributor

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We’re reaching the endgame of an inevitable showdown between big tech and regulators with a ley battleground around consumer data. In many ways, the fact that things have gotten here reflects that the market has not yet developed an alternative to the data paradigm of Google and Facebook as sourcers and sellers and Amazon as host that today dominates.

The tokenization and decentralization of data offers such an alternative. While the first generation of “utility” tokens were backed by nothing more than dreams, a new generation of tokens, connected explicitly to the value of data, will arise.

The conversation around data has reached a new inflection point.

Presidential candidate, Sen. Elizabeth Warren has called for the breakup of technology giants including Amazon and Facebook. In many ways, the move feels like an inevitable culmination of the last few years in which public sentiment around the technology industry has shifted from overwhelmingly positive to increasingly skeptical.

One part of that growing skepticism has to do with the fact that when populist ideology rises, all institutions of power are subject to greater scrutiny. But when you hone in on specifics, it is clear that the issue underlying the loss of faith in technology companies is data: what is collected, how it is used, and who profits from it.

Facebook’s Cambridge Analytica scandal, in which a significant amount of user data was used to help Russian political actors sew discord and help Trump get elected in 2016, and Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg’s subsequent testimony in front of Congress were a watershed moment in this loss of faith around data.

Those who dismissed consumer outrage around the event by pointing out that barely anyone actually left the platform because of the event failed to recognize that the real impact was always more likely ...

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