Empowering Users: Monetizing Personal Data in the Web3 Era

3 min readJan 31, 2023

Since the dawn of the internet, technology has advanced by leaps and bounds. Web 1.0 revolutionized how we interact with digital information and enabled basic e-commerce. But as we all remember (well, if you were alive back then), it was clunky and disorganized. From the mid-2000s until now, Web 2.0 has been shaking up how we interact, allowing us to connect, consume, collaborate, and create with just a click or a swipe. This digital revolution has totally transformed the way we work, shop, play, and communicate with each other.

Sounds fabulous… right?! But here’s the catch: the platforms we use are scooping up our digital footprints, often without us even being aware. While this can be beneficial for our user experience, it can also be used to exploit us, make money from us, and even be used against us.

The user-generated web brought with it the emergence of seemingly free social media networks, search engines, and companies that spotted a chance to capitalize on user data by collecting, storing, analyzing, and selling it. These tech giants of Web 2.0 have made a killing from collecting and monetizing user data. The combined annual revenue of The Big Five companies (Apple, Amazon, Alphabet, Microsoft, and Meta) was an eye-watering $1.4 trillion last year.

Users have yet to reap any rewards from the monitoring and selling of their data, leaving public opinion far from pleased. A Pew Research Center survey reveals that an overwhelming 81% of Americans feel they have little to no control over their data, and 79% are apprehensive about how companies use it.

Web 3.0 is about to revolutionize data ownership and let people take the reins back.

Web3 is Disrupting the Old-world Order

In recent years, the call for transparency, trustlessness, security, and decentralization has been heard loud and clear in numerous areas of our lives. From finance to organizational management to data storage, this has been answered through blockchain technologies and solutions, such as decentralized finance, decentralized autonomous organizations, and Web3. This is the start of a new age where users can take charge of their digital existence and protect their data privacy.

Web 3.0 is about reclaiming your data and taking back control. It’s a movement that puts the power back in your hands, allowing you to decide how to handle and make money from your data instead of companies taking it without giving you anything in return.

Data sovereignty is the ultimate power move, allowing users to take full control of their data and decide where it goes and how it’s used. This concept is paving the way to a fairer digital space, where data is used for social good, and its value is distributed in accordance with Web3 and Fair Data Principles. Decentralized instruments are the key to making this ideal a reality.

Revolution is Here

Today’s tech titans haven’t yet coughed up for user data that generates immense value for them. Public sentiment is already transforming, and new startups that give users the choice to sell their personal data are providing people with something to strive for, not just flee from.

In a nutshell, data sovereignty means the user is in charge of their data. They get to decide where it goes and what it’s used for without being tied down to one platform. Protocols and a decentralized data layer will make it easy to encrypt and exchange information in a system of peer-to-peer networks. Content-based addressing will guarantee that the data is kept secure and untampered with.

Digital sovereignty is all about treating users as humans, not data-producing robots. To make it happen, we need to create user-centered apps that prioritize data interoperability and sovereignty and encourage the development of new web infrastructure that supports encryption, data protection, and ethical, transparent business models.

To wrap things up, let’s emphasize the importance of collaboration between the entire Web3 space. By uniting our efforts, we can restore privacy and trust to the data economy at a global level.

NEST® believes privacy and control in the digital world is a sovereign, legal right. We make this a reality.

Gio Tang | NEST®

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