Owned by no one, open to everyone. Gaia-X data spaces powered by Ocean Protocol.

deltaDAO Team
8 min readDec 1, 2021


Owned by no one, open to everyone: Gaia-X data spaces powered by Ocean Protocol

“Gaia-X represents the beginning of a new movement for data ethics in Europe.” (1) — Francesco Bonfiglio, CEO Gaia-X AISBL

“I (…) truly believe we can make the difference for all European citizens. The more people who join the movement, the faster we can create a digital future that’s both open and fair. Personally, I cannot wait until we ride the next wave of data innovation. But first let’s get the data spaces up and running. Spaces that — just like the internet — are owned by no one. And open to everyone.” (2) — Jeroen Tas, Member of the Board of Directors Gaia-X AISBL

Owned by no one, open to everyone. That’s how data spaces built on Ocean Protocol are designed by default.

Ocean Protocol offers data sharing and monetization solutions without sacrificing data sovereignty, data protection, privacy, and European values. It creates open, transparent, trustless, privacy-preserving and decentralized data markets. Owned by no single entity, ensuring non-discriminatory access to data spaces for everyone.

The Minimal Viable Gaia-X Demonstrator built by deltaDAO AG and powered by Ocean Protocol is a Web3 interpretation of the Gaia-X Federation Services and Registry and gives a first impression how a decentralized data economy could look like. During the first Gaia-X Hackathon, deltaDAO demonstrated that Ocean Protocol provides most Gaia-X core functionality today, enabling a decentralized data economy in line with the Gaia-X vision.

A Minimal Viable Gaia-X, powered by Ocean Protocol

1. Federated Catalogue. A tool to find Data Service Self-Descriptions in the Gaia-X Test Network. 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. 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. Owned by no one and open to everyone.

2. Sovereign Data Exchange. Ocean Protocol enables Data Contract Services (DCS) based on Smart Contracts. These allow providers and consumers to offer, negotiate and stipulate data contracts and execute data access rights in a transparent and secure manner. Owned by no one and open to everyone.

Compute-to-Data (CtD), as part of the Ocean Protocol core features, allows data service providers to always stay in control of their data. CtD enables data owners to grant only compute access to their data. The data itself remains with the data owner in a secured environment.

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,” explaines Trent McConaghy, Ocean Protocol Founder.

3. Portals. A user-friendly tool or discovery and interaction with data assets will allow for widespread adoption and acceptance of Gaia-X services. Ocean Protocol delivers an open-source, customizable web frontend and APIs to interact with. Users can start publishing and consuming data services with not much more than a standard browser.

The Gaia-X Portal developed by deltaDAO and built on Ocean Protocol as a trustless, decentralized, and privacy-preserving data and AI-sharing and monetization protocol is already available. It connects data publishers and consumers, listing data services in the Gaia-X network.

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.

4. Data Exchange Logging & Transparency. Using DLT, all transactions are verified, stored, and audited in an ordered, transparent, and trustless way, thus enabling the Data Exchange Logging Service (DELS). Owned by no one and open to everyone.

Transparency is among the most prominent features Ocean Protocol and other DLT applications can offer the European data economy. DLT has the potential to transform a “shadow economy” into a transparent data economy. Each transaction is orderly stored in a distributed public database that all participants can query. Data auditability will emerge as a new basis of trust because each participant can verify transactions and rely on the same ground truth. Storing all transactions in a public database will significantly aid in observing the flow of data in real-time. In an evolving data economy, this will be of tremendous value for the co-creation of a democratic data economy. Participants, policymakers, and regulators can derive evidence-based decisions and, at the same time, a new dimension of micro- and macroeconomic research within the data economy becomes possible.

5. Identity & Trust. As most DLT solutions, Ocean Protocol relies on Self-Sovereign Identities (SSI) and works well with verifiable credentials (VC). This allows users to always retain control of their identity and adds a new level of trust and security.

6. Security & Privacy by Design. As a DLT application and protocol, based on a trustless environment and SSI, Ocean Protocol features security and privacy by design. It does not collect any more information about the participants than is needed to facilitate its services.

In a decentralized database a single point of failure does not exist. Even if parts of the system are lost, the missing parts can be replicated from the decentralized ledger. A decentralized system is far more resilient against attacks, downtimes, or other events than any centralized solution. This advantage is very inviting for use cases demanding the highest levels of security, availability, and compliance. Additionally, the distributed ledger ensures the integrity of the data audit trail by design.

Privacy protection is ensured as actors are only identified by their self-sovereign identity (SSI) and, where needed, added verifiable credentials (VCs) that attest a specific level of trust or other required attributes. Users stay in control of their personal information and decide on a case-by-case basis with whom they share data and what data they want to share. Data minimization is built at the core of the solution. This helps us to move away from a system where participants must share vast amounts of private information to perform basic economic everyday transactions.

7. Common Governance (DAO) and the Democratization of Data
Common governance and democratization of data are core value propositions of Gaia-X. A decentralized solution significantly contributes to openness and unrestricted market access. As every participant can easily offer data services and the infrastructure becomes increasingly decentralized, economic entry barriers will be removed, and the European data economy will become more democratic, efficient, and competitive.

Smart contracts also allow collecting fees on network revenue, which can be reinvested in the infrastructure and shared among the community. The democratic voting of all participants can determine the allocation of collected fees. This budget can then be used to fund essential contributions and activities for the common good that usually get underfunded. This represents the very core and operational model of a decentralized autonomous organization (DAO) and reflects European values. All contributors that run and maintain the economy have a say in the further development and maintenance of the system.

8. Monetization and Incentives
With Ocean Protocol, data service providers themselves can settle payments for data services on-chain, without the need for any intermediary. Data monetization becomes increasingly decentralized as every participant can conveniently offer data services. With increasing competition and lower entry barriers, the dominance of large gatekeepers is decreased, which benefits all consumers.
Royalties can be transparently embedded on the smart contract level to settle immediately after a consumption of data service. This is of particular importance when data is being pooled by multiple actors, i.e., in a joint research project or business consortia. Ocean Protocol smart contracts can automatically collect a community fee and portal provider fees. This aligns incentives within the ecosystem as all participants benefit from a continuously growing ecosystem.

Portal providers contribute through their service to decentralization and diversification and are rewarded with fractional transaction fees. Publishers earn, based on the consumption of their services, and will compete for the best products. Consumers benefit from lower prices and low entry barriers. The community and overall ecosystem benefits from diversity and community fees that can be used to improve the system for all participants.

This together gives the community strong incentives to cooperate on a neutral Gaia-X network and drives competition on the product level and excellence in research. Publishers can also rely on off-chain payment solutions, utilizing data tokens solely for data exchange logging. In any case, the underlying mechanism allows for a high degree of flexibility and automatization, which is very much desired by Gaia-X.

Cloud&Heat Portal: How SMEs can benefit from a decentralized and permissionless Data Economy.

To give a practical example on how Ocean Protocol loweres economic entry barriers and makes the European data economy more democratic, efficient, and competitive, deltaDAO implemented a MVG Portal in collaboration with Coud&Heat GmbH, a German SME.

While fully customizable, data services are cross-listed across data spaces by design if the data owner preferes so. The Cloud&Heat Portal queries the transparent and non-discriminatory Federated Catalogue. If desired, private and confidential self-descriptions are technically possible as well.
The use case showcases how machine learning can be used to predict heat demand in data centers depending on the weather. This demonstrator highlights how to combine different data sources using Compute-to-Data to generate insights on how to save energy and run more efficient cloud systems.

Any company, especially SMEs can easily implement and run a similar Portal with minimal resources and investment.

Built on top of the permissionless Gaia-X test network any company or institution can easily 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. Data spaces owned by no one, open to everyone.

About deltaDAO

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.

1, 2 “No one owns the internet. Let’s take the same approach to digital innovation”, Jeroen Tas, 29.11.2021 https://www.linkedin.com/pulse/one-owns-internet-lets-take-same-approach-digital-innovation-tas/?trackingId=gqof3615TPm%2BiJ9E8nFGdw%3D%3D



deltaDAO Team

data economy solutions — GDPR compliant