Ocean Protocol Leans on NFTs to Drive Decentralized Data Markets

Version 4 of Ocean Protocol uses NFTs for more flexible handling and the monetization of curated data sets.

AccessTimeIconJun 8, 2022 at 10:00 a.m. UTC
Updated May 11, 2023 at 5:34 p.m. UTC
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Ocean Protocol, a clever way of combining data science and blockchain technology, has launched version 4 of its network, which uses non-fungible tokens (NFT) and also makes the system more equitable in terms of staking and monetization.

Data has become a valuable resource in the digital universe, whether that’s aggregated data from people’s retail decisions or self-driven miles accumulated by the auto industry’s AI-enabled cars. However, the raw data sets needed to model outcomes or train machine-learning algorithms have tended to accumulate in the hands of a few very large companies – a situation Ocean aims to democratize for a Web 3 future.

Ocean’s version 3, released in late 2020, allowed particular data sets, the supply-chain data of a large company, for example, to be accessed using Ethereum-based “data tokens” that would enable the data to be shared and also monetized in decentralized data marketplaces. Version 4 of the protocol uses NFTs as a more flexible way to handle data ownership as it becomes a yield-bearing asset.

“With the development of NFTs and those maturing, we saw that the ability for you to encode your ownership right of the data set into NFT was very powerful,” said Ocean co-founder Bruce Pon in an interview. “Data NFTs can work on a subscription basis or something like a royalty-based license of an NFT.”

It’s worth mentioning that Ocean co-founders Pon and Trent McConaghy began adapting blockchain technology to protect ownership rights of digital art as far back as 2013 and soon after founded intellectual property startup Ascribe.

“We’re used to being early, but I think with Ascribe, we were a bit too early,” Pon said. “When it comes to NFTs and data, I think that we’re going to be right in the sweet spot over the next decade.”


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Ian Allison

Ian Allison is an award-winning senior reporter at CoinDesk. He holds ETH.

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