Data is king – and each one of us produces some. Tech giants such as Facebook and Google have been able to provide a plethora of free services by monetizing the data aggregated from these platforms. Facebook, Messenger, Gmail, YouTube, are all products that we are able to use for free from the monetization of user data. However, these corporations store this data in a centralized manner, which is prone to hacking, as we’ve recently witnessed in the Equifax debacle.
Protex is a innovative platform that collects browsing data as a mobile application and Google Chrome extension. Protex runs completely in the background, aggregating cookies provided in a user’s browsing history. In order to protect the privacy of its users, Protex uses a secret-sharing algorithm to filter out personal information before adding data to the blockchain. This shields against any attempt to compromise user data. Similarly, this algorithm is used on the data-purchasing end to perform necessary KYC.
Protex is built on the Ethereum blockchain featuring its own ERC20 token, PTX. The PTX token aligns incentives of both the data producers and data purchasers to facilitate the flow of data across its ecosystem. This ecosystem is demonstrated in the figure below from the Protex white paper.Flow of PTX and data on the Protex Platform (source: Protex white paper)
The users willing to contribute browsing data to the Protex blockchain are rewarded in PTX, and companies or individuals purchasing data from the Protex blockchain pay in PTX. Protex contributors (or data volunteers) may set sharing preferences in both the Google Chrome extension and Protex mobile app to share all, none, or a particular combination of the data fields that Protex supports. Depending on the sharing preferences, Protex contributors are paid via a profit sharing model.
The Protex Team
The Protex Project is led by a Silicon Valley-based team with experience in software development, blockchain architecture and design. I recently had the opportunity to interview the Protex founding team to get a firsthand perspective on their platform and utility token:
What made you realize that there is potential in applying blockchain technology to the data security space? In particular, which key problem(s) with the traditional data security space does your product solve?
As the world has become increasingly reliant on data and analysis, security has become vital to the growth and evolution of technology. With the recent emergence of blockchain, many new doors have been opened to help keep our data more secure, private and anonymous.
Our team has been involved and interested in cryptography, security and blockchain technology for years. After analyzing several major data breaches this year, we came together to create Protex.
Protex not only decentralizes the ownership of user data, but makes it more secure, private and anonymous, while providing the users the money they deserve. Additionally, it saves large institutions billions of dollars in data storage costs and removes the liability of navigating data breaches, like the one Equifax is enduring.
Why is it necessary to implement blockchain protocols in order to solve the problem you mention above?
- Decentralization: Protex is able to achieve its primary goal of decentralization by using blockchain protocols. If we were implementing all of our cryptography on top of existing database storage methods, it would defeat the whole purpose. By removing any central authority to command all of the data, we are able to trust math and computers to protect us, not error-prone human beings.
- Fault-tolerance: Building our platform on top of Ethereum as a private side chain allows us to provide fault-tolerance with multiple layers of redundancy. Using blockchains along with Quantum Secret Sharing provides an extremely robust layer of protection on all the data being shared between contributors and purchasers.
- Efficiency/performance: Protex is being engineered with scalability and performance in mind. In August, Joseph Poon and Vitalik Buterin published Plasma, a proposed framework for increasing Ethereum state changes to up to billions per second. Protex is built perfectly to take advantage of Plasma and offer very fast and high-performing data exchange.
- Cost: With blockchain as the backbone for Protex, it provides both users and purchasers economic incentives. Because there are no fees directly associated with data storage, it is much cheaper to transmit data between the two parties. The only small fee is the gas required to execute the smart contracts that are involved in the transaction.
How did you engineer aligned incentives for the PTX token to flow seamlessly across your platform? Describe each main category of people involved in this ecosystem and respectively why they would want to spend and/or hold the PTX token.
We aren’t just tokenizing our platform to tokenize it, the PTX token is designed to have an actual value proposition. In the simplest terms, it is how data contributors are paid, and how data purchasers make payments. The profits from purchased data are equally distributed among the contributors who provide it and there are no fees aside from the gas to pay for contract execution.
There are two main categories of PTX holders.
- Data contributors: Essentially anyone who uses the internet or a mobile phone. By using the Protex Mobile App and Chrome Extension, users can anonymously provide data to the platform and get rewarded for it in PTX.
- Data purchasers: Institutions, governments and even individuals can purchase usage data from the platform with PTX. All the data is organized in an efficient manner to make data science and analysis as easy as possible.
Explain how smart contracts are used on your platform to protect and organize data.
Protex uses smart contracts to handle all payment transfers for each data exchange on the platform. The central “registrar” contract mediates all purchases, and communicates with each ancillary contract. For each source of data contribution, there is a smart contract responsible for paying each contributor, and for each purchasing method, there is a smart contract for providing the purchased data. By using these extra smart contracts, the Protex platform is extremely portable and extensible into other fields. Adding additional data sources like self-driving cars is as straight-forward as creating a new smart contract for it.
PTX Token Sale
The Protex pre-sale is currently live and the Protex public sale will commence November 13th. There will be a 10% bonus for participants in Week 1 and a 5% bonus for participants in Week 2. Check out the Protex white paper for more information regarding the project, and visit here to consider a contribution.