July 14, 2020
Data is all around us – Presented to us in plenty of forms in text, pictures, graphs, and everything else that you can think of. The global economy has plunged into a crisis so peculiar and profound in 2020 as a result of the novel coronavirus, Covid-19. We have all employed creative ways of going about our daily lives – Telecommuting, remote bonding with friends and family, etc and financialists are seeking alternatives to traditional financial markets. Now, how can we employ data to benefit us at this time of global economy crisis? We discuss Alternative Data with Heatherm Huang, Co-Founder of Measurable Data Token (MDT), and how this decentralized data exchange ecosystem enables for honest, efficient, and transparent trading in the crypto financial market.
Huang is the Co-Founder of Measurable Data Token (MDT), a decentralized data exchange ecosystem connecting users, data providers, and data buyers and denominates the value of data.
As a Serial Entrepreneur, Huang got himself involved in the Research & Development of the world’s first ever talk-and-hold voice chat system, TalkBox, then the number one mobile chat application in China and across Southeast Asia in 2010. The hype around Talkbox had Tencent offering to acquire the mobile chat application that was turned down. Tencent then released a new version of Wechat, that holds the same talk-and-hold voice chat system that Talkbox has, now familiar to all，and it was at that time that Wechat broke the telecommunications industry. Talkbox and its competitors faded in the industry soon after.
Huang’s Talkbox venture was adapted in Chinese drama, Entrepreneurial Age, with renowned celebrities, Xuan Huang and Angelababy being the main characters.
Kiana formerly worked as Deputy General Manager of Business at Baidu. Along with her strong financial education background, Kiana holds rich experience in Big Data, AI, finance & international business development. She joined DigiFinex as Co-Founder at the end of 2017, and is committed to build a secure, convenient and transparent environment for high-quality blockchain asset transactions for users globally. She is also an active speaker at different industry conferences around the globe.
Kiana: Hi Heatherm, it’s our honor to have you here with us today. Could you please give us an introduction of MDT?
Heatherm: Hi Kiana, my pleasure to be here today. Definitely. The MDT is a blockchain-based distributed computing platform with smart contracts securely stored in the Ethereum blockchain. It denominates the value of data in this new economy. It connects users, data providers, and data buyers and denominates the value of data. The MDT launched two products:
1. MyMDT Data Wallet, a decentralized application (Dapp) based on Ethereum that allows users to get rewarded for sharing anonymous data points and is a user-oriented portal in the MDT ecosystem.
2. Measurable AI, a business-oriented alternative data analysis platform that turns anonymous data into sophisticated consumer insights.
Kiana: That’s such an interesting concept. I am curious to know, and I’m sure so does everyone, how did MDT come about?
Heatherm: The mission behind MDT is to solve our own problems. Back in 2016, our team started venturing into data under the guidance under the guidance of Gmail creator, Paul Buchheit. Paul mentioned that the most valuable thing about Gmail is not the service itself, but the data. Gmail data enables Google to create personalized and intelligent products for its users, and helps Google build better artificial intelligence. Our product, Measurable AI, is also built to understand the market by gathering electronic receipts from billions of online consumers, thereby increasing consumer data value. The more familiar we are with the big data industry, the better we can understand its problems. In data, privacy and traceability have always been contradictory issues. Although Google uses user data to provide better services to users, it is still resisted by users to date.
As data providers, we often try to prove that our data sources are real, and all data points come from real users of our own platforms. However, to prove this, the privacy and anonymity of real users will be compromised to some extent. On the other hand, data buyers also find it a challenge to ensure that the data products they will get are effective. In data, blockchain can solve this problem. After many years of exploration in the field of consumer products and big data, our team realized that we have to compensate consumers who have contributed valuable data.
We finally launched MDT at the end of 2017. We believe that the monetization of user data will be ubiquitous in the future, and we hope to use the results we have established to start this ecosystem.
Kiana: Thank you so much for explaining in such detail. I want to know who your target markets are and how you strategize in marketing your products across different regions of the world?
Heatherm: Southeast Asia, China, Brazil, and India will be our main target markets. They all have huge potential to expand and sustain the development of Measurable AI. At present, the main promotion channel of MyMDT data wallet is still the mainstream of users based on MailTime. Our upcoming independent app that focuses on the concept of “data cashback” will also become a major promotion channel, and its audience covers not only the cryptocurrency user group, but also the mainstream user group. Promotion services in different regions will be tailored to local market conditions. For example, the most common transaction data in the European and American markets is still credit card data, but in some emerging markets such as China, it is mobile payment data, and the consumer behavior and habits of users are also different. In different countries and regions, we will also adopt different promotion forms and modify our products to suit varying needs.
Kiana: Got it. Back to today’s topic, what is MDT’s alternative data that users should be concerned about? How is it related to MDT?
Heatherm: Alternative data refers to unconventional, unexpected, and unidentified potential data. Unlike traditional data sources such as public financial reports, alternative data is not well known. This is where its value lies. Measurable AI is a blockchain-driven alternative data provider at the present day.
Kiana: I believe users have a new understanding of alternative data now. Is MDT an option for both data providers and crypto asset investors? How will MDT benefit investors?
Heatherm: Alternative data providers are responsible for collecting, cleaning, analyzing and understanding data collected from non-traditional sources. For example, providers can assess the community’s response to crypto assets to predict their future value and price movements. Although they are valuable, they do not fully reflect the company’s operating conditions.
In today’s data-driven era, investors need more than endless numbers on spreadsheets. They need insightful data to make informed decisions in the market. Certain financial markets, such as encrypted assets, do not revolve around traditional financial data sources. Cryptocurrencies like Ethereum or Bitcoin cannot be effectively analyzed through financial statements because their prices are determined by factors other than common data sources. Alternative data fills this gap. As the name suggests, alternative data refers to information obtained from non-traditional sources (such as social media and consumer trends), which helps investors have a deeper understanding of investment tools.
Kiana: The novel coronavirus (COVID-19) is rampant, has Measurable Data been affected in development? What measures have you taken to counter the challenge for the safety of the team? What contribution has MDT made to society against COVID-19?
Heatherm: Due to the pandemic, the MDT team worked at home for 3 months until May when the team returned to office. However, the great impact COVID-19 has on the global economy, the demand for alternative data has increased for hedge fund clients. In the past few months, we have served more than 10 hedge funds and seller research institutions, providing them with first-hand consumer insights for many listed companies to analyze the pandemic’s impact on the revenue of these companies and the speed of recovery. A few weeks ago, I accepted an interview with Bloomberg. I mentioned that the recent pandemic and the Luckin Coffee scandal has greatly boosted the demand for alternative data because hedge funds hope to use alternative data to monitor the pandemic’s impact on major companies and its recovery rate. This is the value of alternative data.
Kiana: What do Alternative Data providers do? Is MDT an Alternative Data provider and Cryptoasset investor at the same time? How does the data benefit the investor?
Heatherm: Alternative data providers are the ones responsible for collecting, cleaning, analyzing, and making sense of data collected from non-traditional sources. For example, a provider may assess how the community is reacting to a crypto asset to predict its value and price movements in the future. Though valuable, they don’t give the full picture of how a company is doing.
In today’s data-driven landscape, investors require more than endless numbers on spreadsheets. They need insightful data that is actionable enough for them to make informed decisions in the market.
Certain markets like crypto assets also don’t revolve around traditional financial data sources. Cryptocurrencies like Ethereum or Bitcoin cannot be analyzed efficiently with financial statements since their prices are determined by factors outside of commonly used data sources.
Alternative data fill this gap. As the name suggests, alternative data is information derived from non-traditional sources — like social media and consumer trends — that help investors obtain more in-depth insights on investment vehicles.
Kiana: Wow, Alternative Data providers play such a crucial role in the economy. How does MDT ensure that data security and privacy are well protected under regulations like GDPR?
Heatherm: In an increasingly digitized world, huge quantities of “alternative data” are being generated every day which can complement or substitute for traditional financial data (such as information on loan payments, defaults and bankruptcies) and open the door to financial services for previously unserved or underserved customers.
Data protection and privacy require a new way of thinking and preparation as regulatory or institutional frameworks to protect individuals and firms either do not exist or are rapidly outpaced by technological advances.
Kiana: Makes sense. The world will only get more digitized each day. Who do you consider your competitors and why do you think you are better than them?
Heatherm: Projects that share similar ideas of compensating users for sharing rewards are DataWallet, and GXChain.
DataWallet recently pivoted to a data compliance service platform for startups. GXChian also rewards users for sharing data, however, their focus is on users’ personal information for credit checking and user profiling.
MDT is focused on anonymous and aggregated consumer transactional data for industry insights’ purpose, and we endeavour to never involve any personal data.
Although we both reward users for sharing data points, we share different business models and positioning on what type of data to get involved in and how users can monetize over their data.
We believe the scenarios MDT creates now is more likely to be adopted by the public.
1. It involves only aggregated and anonymous data points for a transparent purpose
2. It is easier for users to get started without privacy issues (on blockchain, but accessed through user-friendly dapps
3. It benefits the data buyers financially and socially for joining an initiative of a company compensating users for data.
We had a fruitful AMA session with Heatherm Huang, and learnt on how MDT as a decentralized data exchange ecosystem enables for honest, efficient, and transparent trading in the crypto financial market. To watch the AMA Live, click: AMA | Measurable Data Token: Unveil Covid-19 Impacts with Alternative Data
Please stay tuned to our next episode of AMA Live.
Measurable Data Token