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Build the New Ecosystem for the Data Era – Introduction of SCRY.INFO

Build the New Ecosystem for the Data Era – Introduction of SCRY.INFO

Israeli historian Yuval Noah Harari’s best-selling “A brief history of humankind”has told us the turbulent history of how mankind transformed themselves from the humble specie in the middle food-chain in the hunting and gathering civilization, to the dominant specie in the solar system through the agricultural, industrial and information revolutions transcending over 100,000 years timeline. He pointed out in his continuation book “Homo Deus: A brief history of tomorrow”, that the humanism that is the dominant mankind’s belief since the Renaissance,may gradually give way to dataism. Dataism believes that the universe comprises of data streams, and the value of any phenomenon or entities lies in their contributions to the data process.

Yuval Noah Harari’s prediction is based on the fact that human society has already accumulated an enormous base of data as a result of the digitalization process that has been going on for over half a century. From quantitative change to qualitative change, at the end it will trigger a new revolution — we tentatively call it “data revolution” for the moment, and subsequently a new data era will be born while the data revolution begins.

Like any other significant revolutions in human history, the data revolution will bring in subversive changes in productive force and production relations. The economy structure and industry ecosystem will be totally re-constructed. In data era, without any doubt the main driving industry of the economy will be the data industry, with the prerequisite of solving of the following key issues:

1) Who owns the data, and on what part of the data? What is the proper arrangement of the usage rights of the data?
2) How to verify if the data are truthful and factual? How to make sure the source of the data is authentic?
3) How to measure the value of a particular piece of data? What is the mechanism of forming market price for the data?
4) How to configure resources properly in the data era? How to efficiently match the data supply and demand?
5) How to build a healthy data industry ecosystem, so that the data value chain players in producing, storing, flowing, sharing, verifying, analyzing, mining, processing, visualizing and securing of data can form a cooperative yet competitive environment.

In the data era, data are ubiquitous; the production and flow of the data are uncontrollable; to a large extend data happen in a spontaneous and un-deterministic nature, and the content of the data is also unpredictable. In addition, the 4V characteristic of big data (variety, volume, velocity, value) is something that human never deal with before. All of these factors make it impossible for a top down design, centralized system to handle. The only feasible way is to build a data infrastructure based on blockchain technology through an opensource community using a bottom-up approach. This way, data can be gradually accumulated; data suppliers, data consumers and data service providers can eventually get together, through voting, ranking by the wisdom of crowd, gradually establishing a trust evaluation system for data. Also, the pricing mechanism of data can be formulated through a market bidding process, and the data ownership registration and benefit distribution can be done through smart contracts on the blockchain. Moreover, the services in each stage of data’s lifecycle can be provided for convenient and flexible consumption through open APIs. When such environment is established with favorable conditions, the ecosystem of the data industry will emerge naturally. Once the accumulated data passing a particular tipping point, exponential growth will be expected and vast majority of innovations, business models, products and industry segments will be springing up.

SCRY.INFO is such a global opensource project aiming at building the data industry ecosystem in the data era. Currently, as in this early stage of the data era, we seldom see opensource projects like SCRY.INFO, which has a high aim, but is also grounded in solving the imperative challenge issues in the data era.

The meaning of the word “scry” is to discover hidden knowledge or future events using a crystal ball. It is related to the meaning of “oracle”. As we know, data on the blockchain can be guarded against falsification and it they are immutable, anti-tampering and traceable, plus the objective consensus mechanism, blockchain is labeled as a “trust machine”. But to move the real world’s data to blockchain, we need to find an “oracle”to make sure that the data are truthful and authentic. This is the main challenge for a lot of the blockchain applications. In a lot of cases, people have to use a centralized institute that is prone to the single point of failure as the oracle, this directly goes against the decentralization philosophy promoted by the blockchain community.

An important innovation of SCRY.INFO, is to establish an oracle mechanism through a decentralized wisdom of crowd approach. SCRY.INFO provides the opensource protocol for verifying the authenticity of the data. So data providers, data consumers, data verifiers and data application providers can build data business based on the data resources. In particular, data provider provides authentic data for SCRY.INFO. These data enter to the pending verification zone through smart contracts with SCRY.INFO’s predefined format. Data verifiers verify the data by wisdom of crowd through a SCRY.INFO smart contract, which determines the authenticity of the data based on voting. The threshold is set at 80%. Apart from the case of a referendum protocol, all of the verifiers will need to put a bond upfront in order to prevent irresponsible voting behavior. The voters aligned with the above 80% majority will receive bonus from the data consumers, but also can get proportion of the bond from the verifiers who are not in the majority camp. Once the data provided by the data provider are verified, it will be adopted by SCRY.INFO officially. The data provider will receive a certain amount of Scry Mana every time when the data are used by other data consumers.

Through this kind of positive incentive, reinforced by the decentralized oracle mechanism through the wisdom of crowd, SCRY.INFO can gradually attract data providers, data consumers and verifiers. Therefore, the data application developers and individuals can search data from sources like traffic, weather, finance, sports, entertainment, agriculture, geographic information and censuses, encouraging more community developers, global groups, companies and individuals to supply data to SCRY.INFO and participate in the collective verifying through the wisdom of crowd.

SCRY.INFO’s architecture is illustrated in the above diagram. In the first stage, the focus is to develop SCRY CABSI, which is a layer on top of the Ethereum blockchain, including modules like Data Source, Notarization Mechanism, Data Protocol, Index and ScryDB. The other layer above is ISCAP, which encapsulates some of the CABSI functionality, providing ease of API invocation for the platform and applications above. So, the applications can conveniently initiate authorize data provision protocol, and notarization and voting can be conveniently conducted. The SQS provides an ease of use query system with visualization UIs through summarization of the data of the registration contract and the index contract.

SCRY.INFO currently supports 4 kinds of applications. The first is the prediction market, the second is the data analysis, the third is opinion polling and the fourth is the data evidence. These four kinds are typical data applications. Especially for the prediction market, it is a new data business model emerging in the last 10 years outside of China. Looking from a superficial perspective, prediction market is similar to a kind of fair gambling game on the future events. But in essence it is an application with huge potential in the data era. In 2000, economist Robin Hanson proposed a slogan of “vote on value, bet on belief”, and presented a concept called “Futarchy”, meaning to determine which policy will have the most positive effect by using prediction market. This can be unthinkable in the information age. But in the data era, economy will have more uncertainty, just like a distributed system that is out of controlled. Leveraging the emerging wisdom of crowd tend to be the best policy strategy to quickly react to the dynamic economy conditions.

Currently CRY.INFO adopts Ethereum as the underlying blockchain, and IPFS or STORJ as the underlying storage platform. In the near future, SCRY.INFO project will develop its own blockchain platform and storage platform. The whole SCRY.INFO project plan includes wallet, data visualization, DApp, creating a whole new data ecosystem.

The fundamental difference between data era and the industrial and information ages is, that the control of the traditional industry systems and the operation of the information systems, cannot work without a centralized control console; whereas in the data era, the exponential growth of data exceeds the scalability capacity of any centralized platforms. The traditional way of unified control and governance is not working anymore. The only practical way is to rely on decentralized blockchain systems, coupling with big data technology and AI to achieve autonomous management, autonomous organizing, and scaling up automatically while the data volume grows. SCRY.INFO first solves the authenticity issue of how to move the real-world data onto the blockchain environment in an authentic and truthful manner, in the meantime, providing a flexible yet practical low level protocol and open API for building a full data industry ecosystem. After all, SCRY.INFO just likes a crystal ball, let us see the beautiful prospect of the future data era.

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