Fysical is a decentralized location data marketplace that intends to enable efficiencies in data exchanges and improve data offerings’ quality via a reputation system.
Fysical’s decentralized location data marketplace is designed to improve user experience and data purchaser satisfaction via seller incentives and a reputation system. Fysical has been in development since 2015 and hosts approximately 1,000 data suppliers. By excluding unnecessary brokers while reducing transaction finalization times, Fysical reduces fees relative to analogous centralized alternatives. Meaningful marketplace refinement is driven by mechanisms for publicly rating datasets and building seller reputation. The team creatively demonstrated the value of reliably sourced location data by recording and publishing foot-traffic around major political events. Providing a standardized marketplace with proofs of origin (or some attestation to provenance) for data will hopefully help assure quality, or at least allow for price differentiations between datasets of varying quality. The option will exist to append privacy affirming documentation, such as confirmation that data generators consented to the data’s collection and future sale, thereby opening up what Fysical believes will be an ethical data market.
Location data, and histories of, could prove a challenging route to disruption of established commercial players since pre-existing (privately owned and vast) datasets can be leveraged to rapidly produce targeted products (cf. google maps). The benefits of secure storage and transparent usage of this data could present a significant selling point for Fysical. The decentralized competition also exists both from those leveraging blockchains (FOAM) and those not (OpenStreetMap). Whilst FOAM shares Fysical’s initiative towards a reliable and secure decentralized marketplace for location data, the former diverges in its focus on prescribed hardware (beacons) contributing geospatial data to the network. Fysical also present more focus on the data marketplace generally.
In addition to properly defining data standards and schemas, the Fysical protocol will make assets atomic swappable and data retrievable across along varying time spans. (This well enable temporary and more permanent access to immutable datasets). The Fysical system standardizes encryption and compression algorithms as elements of the data transfer and storage procedures. Quality and reputation ratings are designed to reflect the history of transactions on the network for participants’ benefit. The system will be searchable via metadata and/or criteria, such as availability or provenance. The OpenZeppelin library is used to help enable secure smart contract development. Buyers ability to download an encrypted dataset and cross-reference the associated on-chain address represents a key technological innovation offered by Fysical. This ability ensures users that bought data fits seller’s descriptions. The ability to decrypt this dataset—i.e. acquire the associated private key—is granted as the dataset is actually purchased.
Fysical’s FYS token, which uses the ERC-20 standard, will be used to exchange data via the Fysical protocol and incentivize data suppliers to participate. A holder of FYS tokens can place a request (or offer) to purchase with a fee for the dataset supplier included. A public key is associated with the purchase request, which is used to encrypt the relevant datasets decryption key in a manner such that only the purchaser can unlock the dataset. Since a fee will be incurred, on the Ethereum blockchain, when a supplier uploads a dataset to Fysical, there is an inbuilt quality control mechanism making spam more costly. More fundamentally, it will be expensive to disrupt Fyscial service via a plethora of poor data contributions. The token may eventually be used to pay for subscriptions to data, should suppliers be so inclined as to request such terms of access via limited availability windows in the smart contract. An interesting opportunity will be presented, should Fysical gain sufficient adoption, when users log requests for certain types of data or specific datasets that they would like to be provided at a specified price. This information could prove highly valuable market research for suppliers because they will have a vision on what data consumers want and to what extent.