Marketing needs to get serious about consumer data protection. That’s why Delvinia is betting on blockchain

Who: Delvinia and Measure Protocol

What: Toronto-based data collection firm Delvinia has made a “significant investment” in the U.K.-based startup, described as a “blockchain-powered marketplace that gives users control of their own data.”

What does that mean? Using the Measure Protocol app, people would be paid to complete surveys and provide personal information including location, health and purchase history. That’s not uncommon. The difference here is that the consumer remains in control of their data at all times and their privacy is protected. Marketers and researchers pay to access the data, with transactions fully transparent and recorded on a public blockchain and protected through advanced cryptographic techniques. This is the protocol developed by Measure.

Try again without mentioning blockchain: We all know that consumer data has been the driving force of the entire marketing ecosystem for years now. “Data is the new oil” and all that. But increasingly, people are worried about who actually has control of their data and what is being done with it. Measure Protocol was created in early 2018 to allow consumers to control their own data, share it how they want for compensation, with their control ensured and privacy protected by proprietary technology.

Why did Delvinia take a stake? To market to consumers today, brands need to have a better understanding of their consumers and better data, said Adam Froman, Delvinia founder and CEO. Technology has made data collection easy, but both quality and rising concerns about privacy loom large as major challenges for the industry. “The promise of blockchain is [you] can come in and share your information [and] behaviours, but I’m never going to compromise your personal information or your privacy.” By becoming a major investor, Delvinia will be one of the first data collection firms in the world to use the protocol once its fully developed, he said.

Changing the data economy: In a recent blog post on the Measure Protocol site, CMO Paul Neto—who has spent most of his career in Canada—called for the business world to fundamentally rethink data ownership. At the moment, consumers have very little control of their data. “If we can instead implement policies and systems that allow consumers to retain ownership and control of their data, we can bring about a data economy that is close to optimal,” he wrote.

When people remain in control of their data and feel adequately compensated whenever it is used, the data quality improves and people feel better about their privacy and data security. Blockchain, he wrote, “allows buyers to interact directly with individuals in a way that protects the privacy of the individual, incentivizes accuracy, enforces a fair compensation model and provides transparency around data usage and payment.”

What’s next? The investment from Delvinia will allow Measure Protocol to further improve its advanced cryptography to protect consumer data and start testing the consumer facing application later this year.

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David Brown