tl;dr Summary: Mercedes-Benz partners with Polygon to launch Acentrik, a decentralized data marketplace. Enterprises will be able to publish, share and monetize their data with other businesses while leveraging Polygon’s blockchain to ensure immutability, security and privacy while maintaining low transaction costs.
So far the NFT use cases available for the average web3 user have been limited. It’s difficult to imagine NFTs as anything other than monkey JPEGs or virtual metaverse land. However, major institutions are starting to take interest in blockchain technology and are innovating new enterprise use cases for tokenized digital assets.
One such enterprise solution is Acentrik – a decentralized data marketplace for enterprise users. Acentrik is being developed by a team at Mercedes-Benz Group’s Singapore hub Daimler South East Asia. The innovative new platform has launched on the Polygon Mainnet and will leverage the Ethereum Layer 2 scaling solution to allow customers to trade insurance information, and other forms of data while keeping transaction costs low. The project aims to make it easier for enterprises to unlock the value of decentralized data, enabling greater data sharing in the community.
A decentralized data marketplace is a platform that enables users to tokenize and publish data assets like matrices or algorithms and monetize the access to that data. Acentrik’s marketplace divides users into two roles: data provider and data consumer. Data providers can publish valuable data collected from their databases, sensors, or computed by proprietary algorithms. Data consumers can access this data by connecting their web3 wallets and purchasing it using stablecoins like USDC.
This type of data sharing occurs between traditional businesses all of the time. CarFax, a service that supplies vehicle history reports on used cars, acquires data from its network of motor vehicle agencies, collision repair shops, car auctions, and many other sources. CarFax shares this data with insurance companies and government agencies which can be used to drive policy or business decisions. In a decentralized model, CarFax could be removed as the middleman and data consumers would buy the information directly from the agencies and repair shops providing the vehicle history.
Acentrik does not store actual data. The encrypted metadata is stored on-chain on the Polygon network, giving data providers security, privacy and full control of their data assets. Some advanced features even allow data providers to control access to their individual assets using allow/deny lists.
Today’s businesses use information acquired from web tools for active user data collection, IoT devices and Artificial Intelligence applications to drive business strategies and product decisions. While this is beneficial for the businesses using the data, there are serious risks involved regarding data privacy and security. Distributed ledger technologies provide a means for securely storing data while maintaining privacy, ensuring the integrity of all data transactions, and allowing data to be managed through access and identity control.
Each transaction on Acentrik’s data marketplace is facilitated by data tokens (i.e. NFTs) and smart contracts (i.e. code), which gives an additional layer of security to data exchanges. Datasets are represented by an NFT which stores a metadata hash with it. To the human eye, this metadata looks like alphanumeric gibberish, however, authorized algorithms could access and analyze the data in a private and secure manner to perform meaningful work. This process is referred to as Compute-to-Data. Below is a diagram from Acentrik’s whitepaper depicting how it works:
Despite the fact that it is a Mercedes-Benz affiliate product, Acentrik will be used to exchange data from a variety of businesses and industries. For example, consider an auto manufacturer looking to improve the performance of their self-driving vehicles on city streets. Instead of spending all of the time and resources to develop their own AI models, they could go to a data marketplace and purchase access to a private model from a university professor researching this very topic. If the professor approves, the auto manufacturer could run the professor’s AI model on their own data from vehicle sensors and geolocation. The results from running the professor’s model could only be seen by the auto manufacturer, so their research remains private as well. Everyone is satisfied: the auto manufacturer gets predictions they want and the university professor keeps their data private.
Acentrik’s innovative use of distributed ledger technology to share and monetize data on a secure network is making a strong case for enterprises to take advantage of the capabilities of NFTs and the blockchain. Through this release, Acentrik hopes to be the driving force behind blockchain and web3 adoption in data sharing.