Today Amazon Inc. [NASDAQ:AMZN] saw its stock price soar past US$2,000.
It’s now on the way to join Apple [NASDAQ:AAPL] in the ‘Trillion Club’. That would make them two publicly listed companies with a market cap of more than US$1 trillion.
And there’s a very good chance that these won’t be the last two. In fact we’re certain that over time, others will join the trillion club as well.
We remember the days when it was something for a company to be worth US$100 billion. Today, that’s almost a baby step for the real titans of industry.
Trillion is the new billion. And the companies that are getting there first are all tech companies.
What’s most fascinating about all this is that there’s one real central reason for these titans of tech dominating markets.
User data is the source of tech companies’ fortunes
Without the internet, there would be no iPhone or app store. There would be no Amazon. Microsoft would probably still be around, but in a very different size and shape. There’d definitely be no Facebook or Google…you get the picture.
The internet has been an incredible source of wealth creation since the 90s. That’s not even 30 years of existence. But here we are talking about trillion dollar companies built off the back of the internet.
The problem, however, is that all these companies also built their fortune on user data. That means they’ve only been able to get as big as they have because they’ve used the internet to collect data and information about you.
They use that data to run more efficient, targeted, effective businesses. They know what and when to sell things to you. They know how to tailor your online voice. And unbelievably, they are able to predict patterns in your life you might not even realise you make.
It’s terrifying, scary, and for almost 30 years we’ve let these companies generate immense wealth from our data. The question you need to ask yourself is what have you really gained from it?
You get to use their service. That’s about the extent of what you get in return for your user data. Google doesn’t pay you a few cents when you check in to a location. Facebook doesn’t pay you a micropayment when they add your birthdate and gender to their data centres.
But they should. That data is worth something. Every bit of personal data you own is worth something. If you want to sell it to these companies, then you should be able to. And you should get paid for it.
Instead, we give it all up for free. But that’s going to change.
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What if you were rewarded for your data?
One way this will change is through the tools we use online. Take for instance your web browser. You probably use Chrome. It is the most widely used web browser on earth.
Note: remember the good old days of Netscape Explorer to surf the web? We do!
Whatever browser you use, do you know how many trackers, cookies and personal data flows from your browsing? No? Well install a simple AdBlocker to your browser and you’ll start to get an idea.
On every website you visit, you leave a trail of breadcrumbs. You are also tagged with trackers. Most good adblockers will show you exactly how many of these each page has, and then subsequently blocks.
On average, most pages I use will have somewhere around 20 different data points from cookies to ad trackers. In the past, that’s 20 pieces of data I didn’t even know I was giving away to advertisers and websites.
But now I do know. And hopefully now you know as well. And hopefully now you’ll install an adblocker on your browser.
Or you could simply use a new kind of browser like the Brave Browser. This is a browser that automatically blocks all those trackers and cookies. But what’s most interesting and exciting about the Brave Browser is that soon enough it will pay you for your data.
The idea is that when you view certain ads, or consent to view certain ads, you can get small payments via the Basic Attention Token.
This is a crypto token that publishers and advertisers will use to get your attention. They will facilitate payments to users that provide attention to their content.
In short, it means you can get paid to use the internet and view advertisements. It’s a real game changer for how we use the internet. And it’s a new approach to private, fast and secure internet browsing.
My advice for the weekend, go and download the Brave Browser. Then head to the Basic Attention Token website to learn more about how these two will interact together.
This is the future of internet browsing. This is how we should be using the web. And it’s how we should get rewarded for our data and attention when we do.
Experiment and try out the browser over the weekend. We think it might just end up being bigger than Chrome. That’s a quote-worthy statement. But remember, Netscape used to be huge once too.
Editor, Tech Insider
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