While blockchain is all the buzz, there’s widespread agreement across industries that we are a long way from mass adoption. Despite high awareness about cryptocurrencies like Bitcoin, and now Libra, blockchain-based applications are still surrounded by a lot of hype and not a lot of practical use. There are a few obvious reasons for low adoption (only 8 percent of Americans have used any form of cryptocurrency) including regulation, skepticism, relative immaturity of the technology, and lack of obvious, easy-to-use consumer-based technologies such as digital wallets.
Cryptocurrency is just the most publicized use of blockchain, but there are many other uses in a myriad of industries. Next to cryptocurrencies, another interesting area to look at is the usage of distributed applications or DApps. According to dapp.review, if you add up all the daily active users (DAU) for the top 100+ active DApps, we are looking at less than 10,000 users in total who are interacting with an Ethereum DApp. Most of these are either exchanges, games, or casino/gambling DApps. Ever heard of CryptoKitties?
These are just two examples. At Measure, we are using blockchain to facilitate a different way of approaching consumer data collection and market research. Some of the ongoing challenges in this industry are issues around fraud, data quality, lack of transparency, and declining participation. In this new environment, based in blockchain, data contributions, requests, participation, compensation and transactions are recorded to the blockchain, as are user and buyer reputation, which as a whole, provides confidence on both sides of a marketplace.
Another issue in market research is the fact that consumers are usually not compensated fairly for their data. Their data is a goldmine for businesses making important decisions, and consumers are starting to wake up to this reality. Blockchain can provide the backbone of an automated system that can fundamentally change the rules of engagement and drive improved economics. What happens when instead of paying 41 cents we are able to pay participants $3, $4 or $12? Compounded with assurances around privacy, validation, transparency, and overall improvements in data quality we now have what is a potential game changer.
Paying individuals fairly for participation will lead to increased participation, good behaviour, and higher retention. In terms of scale, many current sample providers have in excess of 6 million or more participants. If even a small percentage of research participants — along with new audiences attracted by the promise of data sovereignty, higher payments, the allure of cryptocurrency, and guarantees of privacy — engage within a blockchain-powered marketplace, there is a real opportunity that market research will be the first to onboard a million users onto a blockchain.