How blockchain could help this project give people their digital data back

Pillar Project claims the way a consumer's digital tokens are managed online is fundamental broken and says it's looking to change all that

We may not be consciously aware of it, but each of us carries dozens of digital tokens around with us.

These tokens give you access and rights, enabling you to perform functions such as gaining access to your workplace or paying for goods and services, through to earning reward points or opening our garage door.

Our ability to use each of these services is governed by a string of numbers – a digital token. And according to the proponents of the open source crypto-wallet called the Pillar Project, the way they are managed is fundamentally broken.

One of those proponents is Dave Siegal, who wrote the first book on website development, Creating Killer Web Sites, back in 1994, having founded possibly the first Web development firm a year earlier.

Siegel believes today’s consumers have handed management of their personal data over to large corporations, primarily because it is just easier to do so. What he is planning through the Pillar Project is to give them a compelling reason to take it back.

“We have evidence from hundreds of dead startups, as well as initiatives from Google and Microsoft, that people don’t want to manage their own data,” Siegel says. “About 1 per cent of consumers are excited about their own data and 99 per cent have no interest at all.”

The Pillar crypto-wallet would change this by becoming the repository for all of a person’s tokens, enabling them to take their personal data back from the organisations with which it resides.

“The Pillar token is a meta-token that helps you manage all that,” Siegel says. “There are many more tokens coming. We are only just getting started with tokens - you won’t be able to deal with the thousands of tokens that are coming out.”

Users of the Pillar wallet would sign up to services that would manage those tokens on their behalf, such as ensuring the credit in their public transport card is kept topped up, or managing who has access to their medical data.

“You’ll ‘hire’ an assistant to do it for you, and that assistant will keep it simple for you,” Siegel says. “We want to be insanely simple for users. The Pillar wallet allows you to go through your day, and manages all the accounting underneath and buys all the stored value as you go, so all you have to do is step on the bus.”

The project itself builds on Siegel’s earlier on a concept called the Semantic Web, which sought to provide a way simpler way for data to be shared and utilised. It is an idea that remains largely unrealised.

Siegel says the emergence of the blockchain distributed ledger concept, however, provides a key element, by enabling a distributed platform that makes the Pillar concept both possible and secure.

“You can’t really do what we want to do using servers and passwords and Amazon web services – that is just too vulnerable,” he says. “The key is a shared ledger, because we all have different ledgers, so we have this message-passing world of invoices and late notices and payments and partial payments, and all this adds up to tremendous inefficiency. But if we could share a ledger, then when I give you get the money, you get it.”

Want to read more about the potential impact of blockchain on the experience economy? Read our special report here.

In July, the Pillar Project raised US$21 million to fund its development, and the Project has since launched a design contest.

It is one amongst numerous projects which are seeking to use blockchain for both identity management and personal wallets, such as Ethereum and Lykke.

“A lot of it is open source and getting funded, which is pretty exciting,” Siegel says..

Follow CMO on Twitter: @CMOAustralia, take part in the CMO conversation on LinkedIn: CMO ANZ, join us on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/CMOAustralia, or check us out on Google+:google.com/+CmoAu    

Join the newsletter!

Or

Sign up to gain exclusive access to email subscriptions, event invitations, competitions, giveaways, and much more.

Membership is free, and your security and privacy remain protected. View our privacy policy before signing up.

Error: Please check your email address.
Show Comments

Blog Posts

5 cornerstones of a strong digital culture

Creating a strong company culture may sound like a daunting task, but it’s actually pretty straightforward. In fact, company culture is created in exactly the same fashion as a religion or democracy. Behaviours created from the organisation’s inception are reinforced over time by leadership, attracting like-minded people and eventually reaching critical mass to become an accepted ‘truth’.

Anthony Stevens

Founder and CEO, Digital Asset Ventures

Should you rebuild your company’s tech stack in blockchain?

The question I get asked most regularly these days is: ‘Do I need to rebuild my company’s systems on Blockchain?’ And the answer, every time, is ‘No, you’re asking the wrong question’.

Michelle O'Keeffe

CEO, Engaging.io

Customer value proposition: Getting the brand promise to your customers right

Throughout my career, I have witnessed a litany of brand names that profess to have a unique customer value proposition (CVP). In reality, however, they’ve had little more than a ‘value proposition’: A simple list of benefits applied to a general audience.

Ric Navarro

Global director of marketing and communications, Norman, Disney & Young

What is your opinion about chatbots serving your customers? My belief is bots are going to be the future of customer service and fulfilme...

Giridhar Prathap Reddy

NAB taps power of AI chatbots for business customer service

Read more

Thanks for writing about chatbots. Definitely bots have the exciting future when it comes to customer engagement, transactional and conve...

Giridhar Prathap Reddy

Deloitte TMT Predictions: AR and mobile crucial for marketing success in 2018

Read more

Hi there! Thanks for this interesting article! I love to read about new technology and software that makes our lives easier. I'm looking ...

Julia Summer

Wartsila overhauls Web platforms to create ‘seamless’ brand experience across all devices

Read more

RE: Sales and marketing SLAs, often the choke point isn't the teams but them getting the data into the tools they want to use with the da...

Ed Fry

Why sales and marketing alignment is more important than ever

Read more

Thank you for the good and very helpful information. It is very interesting. I love all the things you share and see your beautiful creat...

รัตนาวดี ภูมิวรรณ

Former eHarmony marketing chief joins telco startup

Read more

Latest Podcast

More podcasts

Sign in