The Internet is under attack. When companies like Facebook inserted themselves in the middle of our communications, they undermined our ability to trust information. At the heart of this problem is personal data.
From fake news to deepfakes, we are rapidly moving towards a society that can no longer trust information. Personal data is the fuel Facebook uses to match and maximize advertising revenue. Personal data is what allows advertisers to manipulate our information, using our deepest fears, insecurities, and desires against us.
Bitmark was founded in 2014 to fix and restore trust in the Internet. We wanted to show the world that being able to trust data would lead to a better future for all. Today, Bitmark builds not only the protocol to restore trust in data but also consumer apps that empower humans in the digital age. Bitmark believes the faster the world moves to an Internet where data can be trusted, the better.
An early engineering problem with the Web was that information ownership and control was not addressed as an “end-to-end” internet protocol. Launched in 2018, the Bitmark Protocol unveiled an end-to-end design that secures data provenance through registration and transfer on a blockchain. Already, organizations like UC Berkeley, KKBOX, and Pfizer use the Bitmark Protocol to increase trust in valuable data. In total, the Protocol is securing more than one million data records in healthcare, music, art, finance, and more.
SPRING is Bitmark’s first consumer product. SPRING helps people get their data back from Facebook and understand how it’s being used — an important problem that is reported in the news all the time. SPRING is the bootloader to a new network where people can start to reconnect without losing control and privacy.
And this is just the beginning. Property rights — invented for land as real property and then extended to knowledge as intellectual property — can now be extended to data as digital property. The lack of property rights to our personal data has led to privacy violations, mass surveillance, and the shortsighted view that the only way to reap value from our data is to sell us to advertisers. But personal data can do so much more. Bitmark is building SPRING to show the world how much people’s lives can be enriched by data.
History has shown that revolutions come after the creation of property rights. Land ownership enabled the Agricultural Revolution. Intellectual property rights enabled the Industrial Revolution. When the provenance of data is secured, information can be trustworthy again, and individuals can have digital property rights. That’s the future we want.