How Blockchain Will Give Consumers Ownership of their Data

Dr Mark van Rijmenam, CSP
6 min readJul 5, 2019

Blockchain is set to change data ownership. It will help restore data control to the user by empowering them to determine who has access to their information online. It is a paradigm shift in how we deal with data and it will offer consumers the much-needed control over their own data.

Blockchain Will Drive the Need for Change

Change is required for various reasons, including security and privacy concerns. A 2016 Pew Research study revealed that 74 per cent of its participants ranked control over who can access information online as a primary concern. The study also revealed that transparency of data collection is a concern. Often, consumers do not even realize that they provide companies with permission to use their data based on the use of their applications. Websites and applications served as some of the first collectors of personal data. Now data can be collected in many ways, including via smart devices and vehicles.

The issue of privacy, security, and transparency can grow when third-party vendors who create accessories or supplemental services have access to consumer information. Moreover, the amount of data produced every day is increasing exponentially. Every person is expected to produce 1.7 megabytes of new data per second daily by 2020, which includes consumer behaviour and personal information, that organizations will be able to access and target. While access and usage of this data may be expressed in these companies’ user agreements, often the terms and conditions are so long and complex that it may not necessarily be easy to read or understand.

Centralized organizations, such as Facebook, Google or Amazon, have too much control over consumer data and this system no longer works. It limits transparency and authenticity because users can only see their own interactions or transactions. It becomes problematic when a third-party vendor or partner of an application a user utilizes, has access to their information. Companies do not necessarily make it simple for users to know who their partners or affiliates are that purchase the right or have access to the personal data of their users. However, blockchain technology helps to mitigate these issues and increasingly consumers demand control over their own data.

Dr Mark van Rijmenam, CSP

Strategic futurist keynote speaker and author who captivates audiences with insights on AI, blockchain and the metaverse -