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#DeFIoT: Unlocking the Trillion-Dollar IoT Data Market

Smart devices are emerging in our homes, cities, and businesses at a blistering rate. Every second, hundreds of new devices are activated, adding to the 20 billion devices already installed across the globe. Even ordinary objects like doors, lights, and vehicles are being equipped with WiFi and sensors that make them “smart” — a phenomenon called the Internet of Things (IoT). Whether you are a homeowner using a security camera to protect your family, a farmer using drones to optimize crop yield, or an athlete using wearables to track your workouts, the IoT is impacting everyone and everything.

The number of IoT devices today is staggering, but it pales in comparison to the amount of IoT data that is generated by these devices. By 2025, the IoT will generate 80 zettabytes of data (1 zettabyte = 1 trillion gigabytes) that will be worth trillions of dollars. But we must ask ourselves: how much of this data do everyday people and businesses own? Due to the oligopoly of tech giants that control today’s IoT, the answer is zero.

IoTeX’s mission is not only to enable people and businesses to own their IoT data, but also to utilize, tokenize, and monetize their data as digital assets — a concept that we call “DeFIoT”. In this blog, we share our vision for how DeFIoT will establish a new human-centered paradigm to unlock the trillion-dollar IoT data market.

The #OwnYourData Revolution

The IoTeX platform was designed with privacy and data ownership as first principles and is now powering the world’s first #OwnYourData devices, such as Ucam and Pebble Tracker. The benefits of owning our data are wide-ranging, but unfortunately not well understood by everyday people and businesses. So why should we care about owning our data? Put simply:

You cannot control or monetize what you do not own.

Our identities and personal data will be vital components of our increasingly digital world — flipping the model so that our data is owned exclusively by us and not profit-hungry corporations is just the first step. In the graphic below, we outline three categories of use cases stemming from data ownership that will transform the way we think about our data.

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  • Keep Your Data 100% Private: The recent surge in hacks and data breaches is a timely reminder that corporations do not care about the security and privacy of our data. With “Powered by IoTeX” devices like Ucam, we can ensure our most sensitive data (e.g., live video feeds of our homes) are absolutely private and accessible only by us. For more details, see here.
  • Analyze Your Data Privately: The privacy of our data at-rest and in-transit is important, but we must also be able to use/analyze our data privately. For example, even if we own our health data we cannot analyze it ourselves. IoTeX solves this problem using confidential computing, which enables privacy-preserving computations over encrypted data. For more details, see here.
  • Tokenize + Trade Your Data as a Digital Asset: Our data is a valuable digital asset that is abused and monetized by corporations and even governments. As the global IoT data market grows from billions to trillions of dollars, we must seize the massive financial opportunity of owning and monetizing the data from our daily lives and businesses. By shifting our view of data as a series of 1’s and 0’s to data as a property right, a new era of human-centered global finance will emerge with DeFIoT at its core.

#DeFIoT — A Universe of Opportunity

Ever since IoTeX was founded in 2017, we have envisioned the IoTeX Network to be the decentralized hub for IoT data across the entire blockchain industry. DeFIoT — decentralized finance for the Internet of Things — is the birth of IoTeX’s journey to unlock the utility and value of IoT data. Unlike the recent wave of decentralized finance (DeFi) assets, which derive their value from speculation and often lack intrinsic value, DeFIoT assets will be backed by and derive their value from real world IoT datasets and devices with real utility.

If data is the new gold, then our IoT devices are the goldmines.

IoTeX’s long-term vision is not only to power IoT-enabled products and services on our own platform, but also to “serve” verifiable IoT data to other blockchain networks to expand the capabilities of the entire industry. Similar to how Chainlink serves trusted financial data to a variety of blockchains and Dapps, IoTeX will be the de facto source for trusted IoT data and DeFIoT assets. The best part is the generation, tokenization, and monetization of DeFIoT assets will be driven by users and builders, not omnipotent institutions, which will unleash a universe of financial opportunities to everyday people and businesses. We outline three major DeFIoT opportunities in the rest of this section below.

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Trusted Data Marketplaces

The devices we use everyday generate a significant amount of data for both consumers and businesses. As consumers, our phones track our movements, our wearables measure our health, and our smart home devices watch and listen to us 24/7. The same applies to businesses, where devices collect data to optimize trucking routes, power supply chains, and restock inventory. Much of this data is generated for a real-time purpose, but also has value to other people and businesses. Ever wonder why Big Tech is so focused on sidestepping privacy regulations to get a hold of our data? Because it has value. By tokenizing our data and devices as digital assets (i.e., non-fungible tokens or NFTs), we can openly sell/trade these assets via decentralized exchanges and create new revenue streams in our personal and professional lives.

Example: data related to the traffic routes we drive every day is immensely valuable (especially in aggregate) to urban planners, autonomous vehicle startups, food delivery platforms, and more.

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Fractional Ownership of Machines

An automated and machine-driven world is emerging, where smart devices can be programmed to generate cash flows autonomously. Whether it is an autonomous taxi that gives rides to paying customers, a windmill that generates electricity and sells it to the grid, or a vending machine that sells snacks and intelligently restocks itself, new autonomous and revenue-generating devices will emerge as part of a global sharing economy. By tokenizing machines as fungible tokens, investors can purchase fractional ownership of both the principal value of the device itself as well as future cash flows generated by the device. This also provides new financing opportunities, such as “Initial Device Offerings (IDO)” that provide upfront capital for new machines in exchange for a portion of future cash flows.

Example: a Bitcoin mining rig/farm that mines cryptocurrencies can be fractionally owned by a number of stakeholders, who share the revenues generated from mining.

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Data-as-a-Service

Smart contracts deployed on IoTeX and other blockchains rely on “data triggers” to determine what actions and workflows will be executed next. IoT devices that convert real world phenomena into digital data can be used as triggers to drive automation (e.g., DAOs), provide proof points for disputes (e.g., prediction markets), and more. A great example of this concept is Pebble Tracker, a “Powered by IoTeX” asset tracker that provides a trusted 360 view of an asset’s real-time environment (e.g., location, climate, motion, light). Verifiable IoT data from a device like Pebble Tracker can be used to trigger smart contracts on IoTeX and other blockchains via cross-chain communication. In this case, the device owner will receive payment under their own self-defined terms for providing their data-as-a-service.

Example: data from a weather station installed in our homes can trigger “if-then” logic in a smart contract or be sold to natural gas traders that value detailed weather data.

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What’s Next?

September is officially #DeFIoT month for IoTeX! Throughout the next couple months, IoTeX will release never-before-seen components to the IoTeX platform, such as an IoT data oracle, cross-chain bridge, decentralized exchange (DEX), and more. To complement these technology releases, we will be running a series of interactive campaigns for developers, traders, and community members to engage closely with DeFIoT. In the future, we will explore the tokenization and monetization of ancillary IoT resources, such as connectivity, storage, and confidential computing.

With the launch of Ucam on Amazon coming in Q3 2020, Pebble Tracker making amazing progress, and exciting Halo Grants that will create new “Powered by IoTeX” devices, IoTeX’s vision for the Internet of Trusted Things is now blossoming. Soon, the various initiatives we have been driving across blockchain, hardware, tokenomics, and DeFIoT infrastructure will come together to drive incredible value to the IoTeX Network and $IOTX coin. Join us on our mission and let’s build the future together!

About IoTeX

Founded as an open source platform in 2017, IoTeX is building the Internet of Trusted Things, an open ecosystem where all “things” — humans, machines, businesses, and DApps — can interact with trust and privacy. Backed by a global team of 30+ top research scientists and engineers, IoTeX combines blockchain, secure hardware, and confidential computing to enable next-gen IoT devices, networks, and economies. IoTeX will empower the future decentralized economy by “connecting the physical world, block by block”.

Learn more: Website | Twitter | Telegram | Medium | Reddit

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Building the Internet of Trusted Things: iotex.io

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