An Inside Look at MyDATA and Founder & CEO Michelle du Plessis
Today we are sharing an inside look at MyDATA, one of our newest partners, and their Founder and CEO Michelle du Plessis. A woman owned and led company, MyDATAis seeking to revolutionize personal data ownership with an added focus of bringing more women into the web3 space. Synergy between MyDATA and PraSaga’s initiatives around personal data ownership and our respective women’s initiatives, namely WESaga, are a few of the reasons we believe MyDATA will be one of many successful companies to develop on SagaChain.
Early in Michelle’s career she trained as a lawyer and is admitted to the bar in South Africa and is a registered solicitor in England and Wales. Additionally, Michelle holds a master’s degree in business administration in Switzerland, with a major in business promotion and development. Michelle’s educational experiences, as well as her work as a fiduciary service provider working in multiple jurisdictions, and her curiosity about how blockchains worked ultimately led her to discover and study a crucial piece of legislation, the Blockchain Act of Liechtenstein.
Michelle discovered that through the use of blockchain technology and with the underlying legal framework for data ownership found in the Liechtenstein Blockchain Act, which is intended to prevent the abuse of personal data by large companies or “data cartels,” an individual could truly take ownership of their personal data. Ultimately shifting the power over personal data from these entities to the individuals themselves.
At its core, MyDATA, is a data monetization model that aims to give individuals control over their personal data and allows them to benefit financially from its use. Michelle developed the idea while considering how individuals can benefit from the control and ownership of their personal data, which is often taken advantage of by companies and organizations. She realized that by understanding the legal framework and combining it with technology, it is possible to create a platform that allows individuals to capitalize on their data as an asset, which is how MyDATA was born.
Today’s privacy laws, such as the GDPR and CCPA, give individuals the ability to file complaints and hold companies accountable for misusing their data, but as of this article’s publication they do not provide any tangible benefits for the individuals themselves. Using MyDATA, individuals would have complete control over their data and be able to rent or lease it out to companies for specific purposes, in compliance with privacy laws.
MyDATA’s system, including a token exchange, will allow individuals to access a blockchain-based application to easily control and rent out their personal data to companies through a marketplace called the “MyDATA Marketplace.” Ensuring that companies will not abuse individuals’ data while at the same time providing a fair compensation for the use of the data.
Companies partnered with MyDATA will send requests to rent specific data sets through the marketplace, and individuals who match the criteria for the request will receive a notification asking if they are willing to rent out their data for a specific period and fee. If they agree, the transaction will proceed and if they decline, nothing will happen. The goal is for individuals to have full control over their data as an asset and be able to carry it with them wherever they go on something as simple as their mobile device.
In today’s data driven economy, despite current laws, social media websites like Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and more, people live in fear that their data is being sold to third parties without their express permission. MyDATA aims to provide an option to send a notification to these specific sites to ask them to return their data and provide proof that it has been returned to the individual, so that the individual is in complete control of their data.
As for partnerships, the MyDATA platform is suitable for all industries, however, it is currently targeting the medical and pharmaceutical industry as well as the insurance and banking sectors. Additionally, marketing companies also have the potential to benefit from the platform. The platform can be used by any industry that wants to make use of collected data, and MyDATA is open to working with any company that is interested in using its services.
A core value of MyDATA is that it is women-owned and women-driven. Michelle believes MyDATA could have a lasting impact and be of great value to women worldwide. She believes that women in many countries are not where they should be in terms of equality, but in most countries, women still make the majority of decisions regarding household expenses. Helping women through this initiative, she hopes MyDATA will help women specifically to plan and secure the future of their children through renting out their data and earning additional income.
Not only by use of the platform itself, but MyDATA can also help to change the larger problem of under-representation of women in software development. By providing data and insights on women’s capabilities and potential, she believes that MyDATA can help companies to become more women-driven and create opportunities for women in the field. One possibility is potentially even providing white-labeled versions of the platform for specific companies to better meet their own particular needs. Overall, Michelle stated that she believes, “MyDATA represents a global opportunity for women to make a meaningful impact in the tech industry.”
Currently, MyDATA is in the process of raising funds to begin development and testing of the platform. Once funding is secured, development will commence, and a beta version will be available for testing within nine months. Those of us at PraSaga and the WESaga initiative are looking forward to MyDATA’s further development and are excited to see their success on SagaChain.