The Computer Society of Kenya

Since 1986


Thursday January 27, 2022

Despite the fact that the term Big Data has been around for centuries, it was not until 2005 that it became popular after it was launched by O'Reilly Media.

Over the years leading companies have documented how Big Data has helped them in their businesses, some having used it to cut down their outgoings. Data analytics have helped many businesses to identify new revenue streams, new customers and expand into other areas.

Big Tech companies on the other hand have collected user data and used it to create new value. Unfortunately, many of these companies are implicated in data breaches. Some of the data is improperly obtained for other purposes outside of the intended reason.

The latest iteration of Internet World Wide Web 3.0 (Web 3.0) might shift more control of web content into the user’s hands. This means that users will have more control over their data as stipulated under Article 20 of the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR).

A look at how the first version of the Internet was introduced reveals that it was primarily a place where businesses publicised their information for users to read. Entrepreneurs saw an opportunity to help people navigate through the web by building web browsers and search engines. That marked the beginning of amassing and controlling user data.

The second version introduced interactivity, enabling creativity through collaboration. Users developed their own content, but it was being controlled by others.

Mobile Internet access became possible, leading to the development of social media platforms. The platforms became magnets for capturing massive personal data. New business models were born. The top ten companies in the New York Stock Exchange were created as a result of Web 2.0.

Privacy concerns grew, and the world started to develop data protection laws and regulations.

But unlike previous generations of the Internet, Web 3.0 will be user-friendly. Users will become creators, builders, and controllers of their content in a decentralised Internet. It will be more user-centric, private, and secure.

The question many people are asking is how this new generation of the Internet can benefit many entrepreneurs already in the market.

The stage is set for new business models. And like in the previous generations of Internet, it is those who can see the opportunities that will succeed in creating new value.

Africa has a chance to leverage on Web 3.0 to alter her future trajectory. Web 3.0 will use blockchain technology to create new opportunities. For example, the recently launched warehouse receipting system in Kenya can greatly benefit from the technology.

Instead of the receipts, the warehouses can issue crypto asset tokens (effectively recognizing the deposits as assets in the warehouse).

The token or digitised asset can be traded in the open market based on the value.

Digitised assets are also known as Non-Fungible Tokens (NFTs), and they are not cryptocurrencies. They are new forms of unique assets representing unique products at any time. A farmer who has harvested potatoes and deposited them in a warehouse will receive a unique token for the specific asset.

A trader in Malawi could instantly buy the goods from the warehouse since blockchain is seen as a trust-producing technology.

As a result, waste will be minimised, productivity will improve and the economy will expand. And all this will happen with the owners having full control of the information, which they do not have to disclose or share with anyone we now do with Big Tech.

NFTs will in the coming days revolutionise the marketplace since they bring new value that did not exist before. We should expect a lot of new NFT goods in the agricultural sector, for example, as traders begin to understand the new marketplace.

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