Ever wrap up a virtual chat with a friend only to find out that Facebook was “listening” and used that info to strategically advertise products and services based on those messages?
It’s eerie that so much of your personal information is available for sale through large networks and businesses, and yet none of us actually receive any reimbursement for that data.
Algebraix Data wants to change that by returning data ownership to the masses — and help those who are willing to share their data get paid for it.
The Austin startup built out a blockchain-based advertising network that allows users to control, protect and sell their info to advertisers through smart contracts.
“It’s all about owning your data,” said CEO Charles Silver. “Why should advertisers pay middlemen like Facebook to get their ads to people? Instead of Facebook getting paid for it, you should get paid directly for it. It’s your data.”
At the core of Algebraix Data’s network lies the Personal Secure Vault (PSV), an end-to-end encrypted, decentralized storage device that secures user info. This personal data could include documents, preferences, interests, health history, finances and more. Only the data owner then can access the PSV using a private key.
If the user wants to grant access to this information to an organization, they can do so through purpose-designed smart contract permissions that the individual sets and manages.
From there, Algebraix will provide an anonymized database that advertisers can query the interested participants in order to share their ads with. This database only shows profile information from the individuals who have agreed to via smart contracts.
In exchange for their data and willingness to view the ads over the app, users will receive ALX tokens, a new cryptocurrency built on the Ethereum blockchain.
The app includes a digital wallet for users to store earned or purchased ALX tokens which can be used to pay for services the network provides (similar to a rewards program). The mobile wallet will also store other forms of cryptocurrency and include a secure messaging app so that users can send and receive direct payments in cryptocurrency as well as messages.
“You’re not saying ‘This is my I.D. and I’m going to sell it,’” said Silver. “Rather, you’re saying ‘This is my I.D., and I’m willing to share it in exchange for an advertiser that’s offering a $100 algebraic coin to look at it.’”
Last month, Algebraix Data announced its token pre-sale to accredited investors, in anticipation of Algebraix Data’s March ICO, when up to 100 billion pre-mined tokens will be made available to the public. The Simple Agreement for Future Tokens (SAFT) is available on SAFTLaunch.com, a new compliant platform set up for cryptocurrency launches.
Silver said to expect a large Algebraix Data presence at this March's SXSW, when the ALX tokens go public.
“We’ll be one of the main sponsors in the blockchain programming,” said Silver. “We’re really excited and will have parties, celebrities — the whole SXSW gig.”
Up first, however, is getting thousands of test users signed up and utilizing the network. To start, Silver said they’re focusing on one vertical: entertainment.
“Right now it’s very difficult to promote movies and TV shows,” said Silver. “Over our app, you’re going to get paid to watch a movie or TV trailer.”
Gary Sherman launched Algebraix Data in 2010. Sherman, alongside Dr. Robin Bloor, invented data algebra, which is a way of manipulating data into one common language. Before directing the startup’s efforts toward its new blockchain network, Data Algebraix developed scalable software built on data algebra that accelerates data requests, increases concurrency and lowers infrastructure costs.
Today, Algebraix Data has over 20 employees. Silver said the company will be hiring in engineering, finance, marketing, legal and more as they plan for March’s kick off.
“We want someone who is really a fighter and a winner,” said Silver. “We’re not looking for people punching the clock. We want people who work at a startup and want to change the world.”