Monetize Me

“Data is the new oil,” proclaimed The Economist way back in 2017. And while legislators like Gavin Newsom and tech royalty like Facebook co-founder Chris Hughes used the catchy headline to lobby for profit-sharing for consumers in the Big Data economy, we’ve yet to see any substantial change in the way our browsing is bought and shared.

As 23andMe goes public on the NASDAQ, Apple is laying the groundwork for their “greatest contribution to mankind,” — primary-care medical services from Apple-employed healthcare providers at branded clinics. Utilizing decades of product expertise to create apps synced with Apple Watches offers the promise of up-to-the-second data across a wide spectrum of health concerns. Will users be comfortable with Big Tech knowing the most intimate details of their Big Data? Apple’s long standing privacy positioning will certainly pay dividends, but it’s anyone’s guess if it will be enough.

In the meantime, advances in blockchain are proving that privacy and interoperability might be the strongest use case yet. AskTheDoctor, a global digital health platform co-founded by NBA legend Dikembe Mutombo, recently announced the creation of a utility token on the Cardano blockchain launching in Africa that “aims to educate people about basic healthcare” while being rewarded with digital currency to pay for future medical needs.

Suffice to say, this is an important juncture for the future of data, with some major players poised to win big if the chips fall their way. Here’s hoping we all reap the benefits too.

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