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That Secret Recipe Is No Longer Secret

Posted by admin on December 20, 2018

 

 

 

Background:

 

Bitcoin has been around for almost a decade, with its origins being dated back to 2009 with its infamous, yet mysterious creator Satoshi Nakamoto being credited with the invention of the decade. In its infancy, the mysterious technology was mostly used by enthusiasts and technophiles alike as a sudo experiment for an alternate monetary system, cue the infamous “Bitcoin Pizza Day”. It was not till much later that Bitcoin started to see adoption, albeit for notorious purposes, IE the dark-web and its poster child, the Silk Road. Mainly used as a method of payment within the illicit marketplace, Bitcoin had found its way into the hearts, minds, and pockets of nefarious drug dealers and fraudsters. Slowly but surely, news of the nascent technology grew, along with the size of its blockchain, which would pave the way for ASIC’s – an occurrence which Nakamoto had probably not planned for.  Fast forward to 2017, where Bitcoin experienced its meteoric rise, almost 20,000 – which saw people quitting their jobs to be full-time cryptocurrency traders, – fortune 500 executives, office managers, college students, average joes/janes, and not to forget the much-loved Mewnbois. Everyone from their grandmothers to their neighbors had seemed to have heard of Bitcoin by now while not actually understanding what it is. Well maybe not your grandmother, the only thing she cares about is how thin you are, or when she is going to see you. – you should probably call her. While many are familiar or heard of the term Bitcoin, they are not familiar with the underlying technology – blockchain or that there over 2000 other cryptocurrencies, all based on blockchain technology. Each cryptocurrency was designed to serve some purpose, – Fundraising using a standardized protocol ( ERC 20 & ICO’s ), payment mediums, secure storage, supply chain management and much more. Majority of the existing cryptocurrencies are based on a something known as Proof of Work. This something is how all the “miners” ( people who maintain the blockchain ledger in return of a reward ) agree on what gets recorded into the blockchain ledger and what does not. It’s known as consensus.

 

Data Breaches, Privacy, GDPR and users losing trust

 

While Bitcoin was making major headlines in 2017 and 2018, another industry was making headlines, but for all the wrong reasons. It started with the scandal at Facebook and Cambridge Analytica involving farmed user data, without user consent – an implicit breach of trust. The scandal and breaches did not stop there. Every few months, news breaks of a major platform experiencing a breach of some sort of user data, Quora, Facebook, Google Plus and even the popular site Reddit. While data breaches are now becoming a common occurrence, there are other troubling occurrences happening in the space, namely how such platforms are respecting your privacy, or lack of. Most websites you visit on the internet use some form of tracking so that can provide a better service, – preferences on a site and so forth. However such tracking is also used to serve you ads across platforms, keep a record of your purchasing history and browsing behavior – when used in the wrong hands this can be catastrophic. Imagine that somewhere in the world, sitting on a computer server, there is an accurate representation of what you like to buy, browse and what you like to visit, a hyper-accurate description of you’re habits as a person, with the sole purpose of showing you ads. As if it was not bad enough with the multiple data breaches and farming of data and intrusion of privacy, it’s what these companies do with user data which is even worse. Many such platforms end up selling such data or sharing it with third parties with or without consent, and if it is with consent, it’s wrapped up in pages of legal jargon hidden in the terms of service – which most people don’t bother reading.  Just a few days ago, news broke of how Facebook was sharing our personal messages and other private data with other firms, in many cases without us knowing, or even worse sharing our data even though we opted out of the same. Now with the advent of GDPR across Europe, platforms are starting to feel the heat, they are compelled by EU law to let their users know what data is being collected and how it is used. While this is a step in the right direction, much more is left to be desired. It is true, these big tech companies and platforms heralded the way we share content and interact with each other both offline and online and they have faced many challenges and will continue to for the foreseeable future. However, the core issue for many of these organizations is that one of their main revenue streams is from serving ads, and that is where all the problems stem from. Without the need to serve ads, there would be less data collected, and less of an impact in data breaches and less “under the table” data sharing deals.

 

Blockchain and a potential solution? Maybe.

 

A layman definition of a blockchain is a ledger which stored digitally which can be viewed by anyone and maintained by the public. It is secured using cryptography – the same technology the most banks use for internet banking and other highly secure applications. It is designed in a way that makes it extremely difficult to break into, but that does not mean it cannot be done, just that it would very very expensive and also technological challenging, at least in the case of Bitcoin. The core advantages of blockchain can be described as being publicly viewable, yet secure, maintained by the general population and having multiple copies of the ledger, so in case a server or “node” is comprised, the overall blockchain and network are not affected. Cryptography, Consensus, and Decentralization. In combination, these three factors are very powerful and can have long-lasting implications for a variety of industries. If our data was on a public blockchain, we would know when and how our data was being used, provided we have access. This would also make it harder for breaches and data theft. Coming back to the original problem of ads and how they are the root of all evil – for most blockchains to be updated you need consensus, using proof of work. With this new advent, a new monetization method and revenue stream was born, Gath3r. Gath3r gives platforms, websites, and applications an alternative and additional form of monetization. We allow platforms to mine cryptocurrency through the browser by using the spare computational power of users, whenever someone visits and uses said website or application. Whatever is earned is then given to the publisher. It’s an explicit user consent system, so visitors must provide consent to the same. This allows websites, to reduce their dependencies on ads or remove them altogether, which can help keep your data as a user safer. This is a growing market, which means as the market grows, so does the amount of money we can make for publishers. While we have altruistic goals, we do not do this for free, we charge a modest 15% for the service, with publishers getting their first three months free.

 

Now some people have raised concerns about the impact on their systems or their willingness to participate, to which we respond as such: Our systems are limited so that each individual system is not slowed down or with any noticeable impact to your browsing experience or system, along with regular stress testing.

 

For the people who are unwilling to participate, we ask this: What matters more to you: Your Identity, or your CPU/GPUs’ Identity. Food For Thought

 

 

Cheat sheet:

Consensus:  General Agreement within the blockchain

 

ASIC:  Application Specific Integrated Circuits, specialized equipment used to mine cryptocurrency at high speeds

 

Bitcoin Pizza Day:  https://bit.ly/2kixOsQ

 

GDPR: The General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) standardizes data protection law across all 28 EU countries and imposes strict new rules on controlling and processing personally identifiable information (PII)  – Google

 

MewnBoi – A novice speculative trader who looks for irrational gains to purchase a Lamborghini, usually purple or green in color

 

DarkWeb –  The Dark Web is a term that refers specifically to a collection of websites that exist on an encrypted network and cannot be found by using traditional search engines or visited by using traditional browsers. Almost all sites on the so-called Dark Web hide their identity using the Tor encryption tool.  – Tech insider

 

Silk Road – Silk Road was an online black market and the first modern darknet market, best known as a platform for selling illegal drugs. As part of the dark web, it was operated as a Tor hidden service, such that online users were able to browse it anonymously and securely without potential traffic monitoring                – Wikipedia

 

Node –  The role of a node is to support the network by maintaining a copy of a blockchain and, in some cases, to process transactions. Nodes are often arranged in the structure of trees, known as binary trees. Each cryptocurrency has its own nodes, maintaining the transaction records of that particular token.    – Lisk

 

Decentralization –  Rather than relying on a central authority to securely transact with other users, blockchain utilizes innovative consensus protocols across a network of nodes, to validate transactions and record data in a manner that is incorruptible – Lisk

 

Cryptography –  Cryptography or cryptology is the practice and study of techniques for secure communication in the presence of third parties called adversaries – Wikipedia

 

ERC-20 – ERC-20 is a technical standard used for smart contracts on the Ethereum blockchain for implementing tokens. ERC stands for Ethereum Request for Comment, and 20 is the number that was assigned to this request. The clear majority of tokens issued on the Ethereum blockchain are ERC-20 compliant.          – Wikipedia

ICO – An Initial Coin Offering (ICO) is the cryptocurrency space’s rough equivalent to an IPO in the mainstream investment world. ICOs act as fundraisers of sorts; a company looking to create a new coin, app, or service launches an ICO. – Investopedia

 

 

 

Further reading: http://blog.gath3r.io/the-impact-of-an-economic-recession-on-ad-budgets-and-publishers/