Making a Splash with Swash

Reimagining Data Ownership

Chain Ridge Capital
6 min readNov 14, 2021

What’s the Deal with Data?

Big Data

In recent years, there has been a lot of fuss over Big Data and data privacy. But what is Big Data and why is it so important? Big Data refers to large and diverse sets of information that grow at ever-increasing rates. It encompasses the volume of information, the speed at which the information is created and collected, as well as the scope of the data points being covered [1]. Because data now streams almost everywhere in everyday life at incredible speed, from mobile phones to credit cards, it is estimated that the total accumulated data of the past few years alone has reached what is called a zettabyte, and it dwarfs the prior record of human civilization [2]. Some call this the big data revolution. But what is even more interesting lies not in the amount of available data but what can be done with it.

Statistical and computational methods have improved so much that there are now algorithms that can analyze and predict patterns within accumulated data sets at an astounding rate. This means big data has the potential to offer organizations valuable and actionable insight that can improve decision making as well as provide competitive advantage [3]. By employing skilled data scientists, the power of big data can be harnessed to drastically improve services across various fields from medicine to retail. The possibilities and opportunities are massive. Nearly every department in a company can benefit from data analysis findings including HR, IT, and especially marketing and sales. In fact, many businesses and corporations are now using big data to generate ad revenue by placing targeted ads to users on social media and those surfing the internet.

With its ability to increase product marketability, streamline market adoption, strategically target audiences, and ensure customer satisfaction, it is no wonder there is such a premium on consumer data. Unsurprisingly, businesses are capitalizing on consumers’ online activities to monitor, collect, and sometimes sell their data. Practically every move done online is recorded somewhere and that information is stored along with countless others and then later used to target users with hyperpersonalized, relevant advertising.

Consumer Data Collection

Types of Consumer Data

The different types of consumer data that companies collect typically fall into four categories. First is personal data which include personally and nonpersonally identifiable information. Second is engagement data which include details of how consumers interact with websites, apps, social media pages, etc. Third is behavioral data which include transactional details like purchase histories. Finally, there is attitudinal data which include metrics on consumer satisfaction, purchase criteria and product desirability [4]. Companies employ various collection methods and sources to capture and process the above mentioned customer data to benefit their company. The challenge is no longer about having sufficient data but rather sifting through the mountain of available data in order to find the most relevant information that will generate the most accurate results.

Who Owns the Data?

While the majority of internet users probably know that their online activity is being recorded and used for advertising and marketing purposes, usually through cookies, this is generally all people know. Users are often clueless about how much of their online data is actually being tracked and collected. The data services industry is in such high demand that there are companies whose sole business is to collect and sell online consumer data; they are called data brokers or suppliers [5]. Businesses profit from data by improving their marketing strategies and ultimately lowering advertising costs. But the owners of the data have very little control over their own information. And while governments are now taking steps to ensure that consumer data is protected, enforcing data privacy effectively is still a challenge. Not to mention the repeated data breaches that major companies have experienced in the last few years which have led to massive data leaks.

Why Swash?

“It’s about getting people’s data in a way that has their consent and has the conditions of how they feel comfortable to share the data while providing an economic incentive for them to do so. The ability for people to monetise their data is going to be a fundamental pillar of an emerging data economy that allows for the agency of anybody on earth.”

— Bruce Pon, Ocean Protocol Founder

Swash revolutionizes the concept of data ownership by enabling all actors of the data economy to earn, access, build and collaborate in a liquid digital ecosystem for data. Governed by the ethos of Web 3.0, its ecosystem of tools and services enable people, businesses, and developers to unlock the latent value of data by pooling, securely sharing, and monetising its value [6].

Swash is built on four key principles with the goal of balancing the power dynamic between online platforms and their users in order to create a more equitable internet.

  1. Incentivise — Swash aims to provide its users a way to monetize the value of their data, as well as offer avenues for collective investment in social organizations.
  2. Access — Swash is targeting an improvement in the availability of high quality, zero-party data for businesses and data scientists.
  3. Build — Swash intends to encourage and invite developers and entrepreneurs to join a new generation of data solutions.
  4. Collaborate — Swash plans to work alongside ecosystem partners that will hasten interoperability and mass adoption aligned to its vision regarding the future of data [7].

The Benefits of Swash

Swash offers various benefits for the different stakeholders of the data economy. For individuals, they earn passive income as they surf the internet, allowing them to regain ownership of their data. They are given the option to collectively invest the value of their data to social developments and enjoy other ecosystem benefits. Businesses will have access to high quality, zero-party data at scale. This eliminates the need for intermediaries, ultimately saving them time and money. Meanwhile, developers will have better access to diverse data, allowing them to be part of a new generation of data solutions, which will in turn, accelerate innovation within the space. Learn more about what people are saying regarding Swash here [8].

Swash’s arrival is opportune because the environment is ripe for a much needed change at scale with massive potential and overarching implications going beyond blockchain technology. With a solid team driving the project forward, the vision of a rebalanced digital economy looks well within reach.



Chain Ridge Capital

We invest in companies and protocols building the next wave of innovations in the digital space with the product-market fit real use cases.