The big tech companies try to own and control as many data as possible. They have the resources to provide convenience to end users in exchange for their data and loss of control. The crypto space brings some hopes and projects that enable end users to take back control and take on ownership of their data.
Owning your identity - Stacks
Before thinking about ownership, it is important to define and create a digital identity that represents you and that you fully control. Federated accounts are convenient, however, accounts with Google, Facebook or Twitter are only rented and can be taken from you by the tech companies.
The Stacks project allows users to create a digital identity or better digital profiles through cryptography. Cryptographic calculations can proof ownership of the identity and decentralized storage. This enables application developers to build app without lock-in: users own their data; apps do not create data honey pots; and service providers can comply to privacy regulations more easily.
Stacks accounts are hooked into the Stacks blockchain and the Stacks blockchain is secured through Bitcoins. Therefore, forging Stacks account is as difficult as reorganizing the Bitcoin blockchain.
In addition to owning your identity, you can also own parts of the Stacks project through the Stacks tokens.
Owning your communication - Matrix
Now, that you have your own identity, you should thrive for an communication platform that allows you to connect to your friends, families and loved influencers.
While popular chat apps take your address book and force your contacts to use the same app obeying their rules, Matrix is a communication platform that is an open protocol and gives users a choice in apps and a choice in service providers like you are used for email or news feeds.
With technical experience it is possible to setup your own communication server and even own the hardware for your chats (or other services like collaboration and IoT). Your server will connect to other matrix servers and bring you close to your friends and families without forcing them to use the same service provider. The outage of one server would have only an impact on a few users, the matrix network as a whole stays intact.
Matrix comes with end-to-end encryption that can even recover and create a meaningful conversation in case the connection is broken. It also provides bridges to other platforms enabling cross-platform communication.
There are hosted matrix providers like Element that make it easy to setup your own server. Element is the company that drives the development of the matrix protocol. By using their services you invest in the future of Matrix and you gain ownership of your communications.
Owning your infrastructure - Threefold
What are your own services worth if the internet infrastructure is not neutral or accessible to all? Threefold tries to provides the internet infrastructure that you can own.
Threefold is a peer-to-peer network that run autonomous and decentralized storage and compute owned by everyone, everywhere. It comes with an open-source, stateless and lightweight operating system based on Linux kernel for the nodes. The connection between nodes are encrypted and based on smart contracts bring security and reliability of blockchains to high-end server technologies.
The so-called 3Bot, your agent on threefold, manages your contracts and thereby your resources that you want to use for your own services. You can just buy ThreeFold tokens and make use of the network or you can run you own node and farm tokens yourself.
Ownership of identity, communication and infrastructure will bring a new kind of user experience that might not (yet?) be as convenient as the current interent but that is inclusive, fair and open.
PS: Lookout for Stacks accounts on Threefold when Stacks 2.0 has launched!