Representatives from business, science, and politics on a European level are creating a proposal of a European data infrastructure for the next generation: a secure, federated system that meets the highest standards of digital sovereignty and promotes innovation. Gaia-X is the cradle of an open, transparent, decentralized digital ecosystem, where data and services can be made available, collated, shared, and monetized in an environment of trust. More than 300 organizations and over 2500 contributors are already supporting Gaia-X.
Private data can help with the research and development of life-altering innovations in both science and technology. The more data available from a multitude of sources — the more accurate the predictions of Artificial Intelligence (AI) models become.
However, companies still hesitate to share and sell their private data, as it has traditionally had unpredictable risks, such as data breaches and related liability. This is one reason why data often remains locked, because of concerns about security, privacy, and trust. Thus, even today, data silos are exploited by only a few companies, which results in an inaccessible and intransparent data market.
Gaia-X tries to solve these problems and shows that data sharing and monetization are possible without sacrificing data sovereignty, data protection, privacy, and European values. Ocean Protocol offers a technical solution to these problems. It enables creating open, transparent, and decentralized data markets.
As data has the potential to become the single most valuable asset of our time, Gaia-X will significantly contribute to the economic welfare of all Europeans in the coming decades.
“Ocean Protocol is working with Gaia-X to help deliver goals for the development of an efficient, competitive, secure and trustworthy federation of data infrastructure and service providers for Europe.”
Trent McConaghy, Ocean Protocol founder.
Ocean Protocol provides core functionalities for the Gaia-X Federation Services leading to a Minimal Viable Gaia-X (MVG) available today. It enables services to interact with each other and be used like Lego bricks to build new and more complex products.
“Together with industry-leading collaborators, we continue jointly innovating and engineering a European cloud infrastructure.”
Frederic Schwill, Tech Lead at deltaDAO AG.
Using open-source Distributed Ledger Technology to build a European Data Economy
The very first Gaia-X Hackathon took place in August 2021. More than 250 participants from over 25 countries worked on different components of a Minimal Viable Gaia-X.
deltaDAO co-organized the Hackathon, led the “Compute-to-Data” stream, and presented a Minimal Viable Gaia-X Demonstrator based on Ocean Protocol.
The Minimal Viable Gaia-X Demonstrator built by deltaDAO using the Ocean tech stack is a Web3 interpretation of the Gaia-X Federation Services and Registry. deltaDAO demonstrated that Ocean Protocol provides most Gaia-X core functionality today, enabling a decentralized Data Economy in line with the Gaia-X vision.
Gaia-X Test Network
Ocean Protocol is blockchain agnostic. Hence, it works with any EVM-compatible Distributed Ledger. deltaDAO deployed additional components on the Gaia-X Test Network in preparation for the Hackathon, enabling Ocean Protocol to be seamlessly used within the Gaia-X ecosystem. If you want to try it, get your OCEAN test tokens here.
Gaia-X Portal powered by Ocean Protocol: A platform to find, publish and consume Data Services in the Gaia-X Test Network.
The Gaia-X Portal, developed by deltaDAO, is built on Ocean Protocol, as a trustless, decentralized, and privacy-preserving data and AI-sharing and monetization protocol. It connects data publishers and consumers, listing data services in the Gaia-X network. The Portal is fully open-source. Try it here.
Any company or institution can adopt data portals. While fully customizable, all portals connect to the Gaia-X Test Network, enabling interoperability and cross-listing of Data Services by design.
Onboarding videos and tutorials
As most Hackathon participants were new to Web3, deltaDAO assembled an interactive onboarding tutorial. Try it yourself here.
Gaia-X Catalogue: A tool to find Data Service Self-Descriptions in the Gaia-X Test Network.
deltaDAO’s Web3 interpretation of a Gaia-X Catalogue demonstrates a “Catalogue of Catalogues” based on Distributed Ledger Technology (DLT). It lists all data service Self-Descriptions in the Gaia-X Test network, offering an immutable ground truth to all network participants.
Self-Description Lifecycle Management
The Gaia-X Architecture document defines a lifecycle for all data Self-Descriptions. deltaDAO built a basic lifecycle management tool based on Ocean Protocol during the Hackathon.
The Gaia-X Hackathon had a full stream dedicated to Compute-to-Data. A privacy-preserving data sharing and monetization approach to bring algorithms to the data instead of moving data around.
“Ocean Compute-to-Data is the response to solving the current tradeoff between the benefits of using private data and the risks of exposing it. Compute-to-Data lets data stay on-premise while allowing 3rd parties to run specific compute jobs on it, like building AI models. There are multitudes of applications in science, technology, and business contexts because the compute is sufficiently ‘aggregating’ or ‘anonymizing’ that the privacy risk is minimized,” explained Trent McConaghy, Ocean Protocol Founder.
“Ocean Compute-to-Data helps to make private data available for AI and business intelligence applications, while avoiding ‘data escapes’ and without the last-mile user seeing the private data directly,” remarks McConaghy. “It enables data marketplaces to buy and sell private data in a privacy-preserving fashion, for applications in healthcare, mobility, and more. We see Compute-to-Data as a new opportunity for companies to monetize and unlock their data assets.”
Compute-to-Data was the foundation for many third-party portals and industry use cases:
Third-party portals and industry use cases
deltaDAO created a satellite image service portal, enabling data monetization with Compute-to-Data. It allows running remote machine learning algorithms, generating insights and value on large Copernicus image datasets. The showcase uses open-source satellite images from Sentinel-1 SLC IW and Sentinel 2 L2A missions over the metropolitan area around Marseille, France. It provides insights into how resource-intensive machine learning algorithms can be applied to open-source data. Datasets and algorithms are available here.
Not moving the data around enables new business models for the data owner, saving immense amounts of storage and bandwidth.
In addition, another demonstrator portal was created to showcase how machine learning can be used to predict heat demand in data centers depending on the weather. For training the machine learning model, historical heat demand data from data centers as well as the historical weather data from the location were used. This resulted in weather forecast data insights that could predict the future heat demand of the given data center location. The operator of the data center could then, for example, use this to optimize their infrastructure accordingly.
This demonstrator highlighted how different data sources can be combined to generate insights that can be used e.g., to save energy and run more efficient cloud systems.
Ocean Protocol tech stack and Gaia-X
Ocean Protocol’s mission is to kickstart a Web3 Data Economy that reaches the world, giving power back to data owners and enabling people to capture value from data to better our world.
Ocean Protocol already supports a wide range of functionalities that the Gaia-X Federated Services (GXFS) aim to provide. It also works well with Self-Sovereign Identities (SSI) and Verifiable Credentials (VC). Ocean Protocol might allow the Gaia-X community and emerging European Data Economy to save years of development and integration time. The created Minimal Gaia-X (MVG) was one of the first steps to prove this claim.
The Ocean Protocol tech stack provides Gaia-X with the tools to build a decentralized network, completely open, transparent, interoperable, with no lock-in, and conformity and trust checked automatically.
1. Identity and Trust. Ocean Protocol relies on Self-Sovereign Identities (SSI) and works well with verifiable credentials (VC). It allows users to retain control of their identity and adds a new level of trust and security.
2. Federated Catalogue. Ocean Protocol metadata smart contracts provide a decentralized database and “ground truth” for all data asset Self-Descriptions. This includes a fully operational Federated Catalogue (FC) and inter-catalogue synchronization on the application layer.
3. Sovereign Data Exchange. Ocean Protocol enables Data Contract Services (DCS) based on smart contracts. It enables providers and consumers to offer, negotiate and stipulate data contracts and execute data access rights transparently and securely. Compute-to-Data (CtD), as part of Ocean Protocol’s core features, allows data service providers to monetize their data while keeping ownership and control.
4. Data Exchange Logging. Using Blockchain, all transactions are verified, stored, and audited in an ordered, transparent, and trustless way, thus enabling the Data Exchange Logging Service (DELS).
5. Portal and Integration. A user-friendly tool to discover and interact with data assets allows for widespread adoption and acceptance of Gaia-X services. Ocean Protocol delivers an open-source, customizable web frontend and APIs to interact with it. Users can start publishing and consuming data services with not much more than a standard browser at their disposal.
6. Security and Privacy by Design. Ocean Protocol features security and Privacy by Design based on a trustless environment and SSI as a Blockchain application and protocol. It does not collect any more information about the participants than is needed to facilitate its services, which corresponds to the data minimization principle of the GDPR.
Towards a New Data Economy
Simplifying privacy compliance for organizations. Data ownership remains in the hands of the owners while enabling value creation. It contributes to making any process involving private data compliant with the most restrictive data protection frameworks.
Creating new revenue streams. No matter how much and what kind, anyone who owns data can earn revenue by granting access to those willing to pay. This applies to individuals and organizations.
Unlocking data taps. The ability to monetize data introduces an incentive to share data. This increases the amount of data breaking free from silos, ready to be blended and transformed to create value.
Making data available. With more data available for Data and AI Scientists, data models will get more accurate, increasing the market value of data products. The ability to easily search and find data from a global corpus removes barriers and friction to match data supply and demand.
Liberalizing data workflows. With data and data services organized in markets, data science workflows can be redesigned from scratch. Market actors will be able to compete and collaborate on each activity in the value chain.
Seeding the New Data Economy. Data markets will be 100% liquified. While it is difficult to describe how the New Data Economy will behave, moving from an archaic ownership model to a completely liberalized economy is expected to drive disruption. The wave of change coming to data science and AI with the adoption of Distributed Ledger Technology is likely to be as big as the one that came with the adoption of the internet.
Conclusion: Keep Building
“Having joined the Gaia-X AISBL recently, we at deltaDAO are excited to continue working towards a decentralized, self-sovereign, and privacy-preserving European Data Economy together.“
Kai Meinke, Business Lead at deltaDAO AG.
By embracing a collaborative, open, and transparent structure, Gaia-X actively asks for more contributors to build a European data infrastructure. Gaia-X is delivering — save the date for the second Gaia-X Hackathon in December 2021.
deltaDAO AG, located in Hamburg, is the first Ocean Protocol engineering, integration and consulting company, by Ocean Protocol community members. We are working closely with BigchainDB GmbH and the Ocean Protocol Foundation to achieve our common mission to kickstart a European Data Economy. We are a Gaia-X member active in several working groups and initiatives. deltaDAO is a co-organizer of the Gaia-X Hackathon, responsible for the “Compute-to-Data & Distributed Ledger Technology” track where we, as Web 3.0 specialists and integrators, build towards a Minimal Viable Gaia-X with the other Gaia-X community members.