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Intro to Data Unions

An overview of the Data Union framework

🧱 Fundamentals

What is a data union?
A Data Union is an organization with an application where individuals participate in the creation of valuable data. Members generate data through the data unions' application which crowdsources data. That data is offered as a product on a marketplace for potential buyers. The money from data sales is used to reward its members for providing valuable data.
Why build a data union?
With a data union you enable your users to be included in earning value from their data.
By building a Data Union, your users are incentivized to use your app as they are rewarded with tokens for sharing their data through your app.
Building a data union is a great way to collect datasets that may otherwise be difficult to source. Some examples include real-time health data, web user data, pollution monitoring, smart city data and more.
Existing data unions
Here are three real-life examples of what a Data Union could look like: 💻 Swash - a browser extension that monetizes browsing data. 🚙 DIMO - an IoT device and app for smart cars that monetizes vehicle data. 🏦 Unbanx - a mobile app that monetizes banking data. Read more here​

The Data Union Framework

The Data Union framework powers applications that incentivize people to participate in the crowdsourcing of valuable data. It enables people to earn with their data.
Smart contracts and decentralized networks are used to transfer tokens and data. It is the infrastructure that powers data unions.
The framework is a token distributer and a member manager.

Framework Infrastructure

for the distribution of data sales between members, the Data Union admin, and the Data Union DAO.
The smart contract handles:
  • data price/data sells
  • admin fee (royalties from sold data to the contract owner, i.e. Data Union admin)
  • distributing and withdrawing earnings
  • member management
  • ownership
Your Data Union Application/Device
This is your client application/device that provides the data. Ideally, it's an application with a continuous flow of data coming from the client. For example, a temperature measurement, browsing data, or user behavior.
Check out some existing data unions for more examples here.

EVM Chain (token transfer)

an EVM compatible sidechain of your choice for the transfer of money (i.e. tokens). The transfer of tokens is visualized with the red arrow in the illustration below.
We currently support Polygon and Gnosis Chain.

Streamr Network (data transfer) OPTIONAL

a peer-to-peer network for the transfer of real-time data.
All the client data gets published to a data stream that flows through the Streamr network. We visualized the data stream with the black arrow in the illustration below.
The official documentation of Streamr can be found here.
An overview of the Data Union framework infrastructure

Workflow of the Data Union framework infrastructure with Streamr

  1. 1.
    User joins a Data Union
  2. 2.
    User grants permission and consent to the data union to have their data monetized
  3. 3.
    Data is created and crowd-sourced through the Data Unions' application
  4. 4.
    Data flows through Streamr Network into the marketplace
  5. 5.
    Data is bundled as a product for sale on data marketplaces
  6. 6.
    Data is bought by a buyer
  7. 7.
    Revenue from data sales flows through the smart contracts via the EVM-chain of your choice and is split between the members, the data union admin and the DU DAO (1%).
The more active members/data providers in a Data Union the more valuable it becomes to potential data buyers/data subscribers.
A Data Union earns a percentage of the data sale for maintaining and growing the organization and its members. That percentage can be set anywhere from 0% to 100% (although it is usually around 30%). The Data Union DAO (DU DAO) receives a 1% protocol tax from data sales for providing the Framework and for growing the Data Union ecosystem.