News & Views

Now / Next / Why NYC / Marc Guldimann

by Contagious Team

Data as currency

Marc Guldimann, co-founder and CEO of Enliken, a startup focused on helping businesses and consumers transact with data, is presenting on the topic of New Currencies at Now / Next / Why in New York on May 1. 

You've talked about data as a micro-currency. Can you explain how you see data functioning as a currency online?

We certainly aren't the first to talk about data as a currency. The World Economic Forum and Innotribe at Swift have both put out a number of reports detailing how data could be transacted with. 

The fact is that data is used as a currency today, just in opaque transactions - for example you are giving Facebook and Google data when you use their products, it's just not made clear to you how it's gathered and used. Enliken's goal is to make these transactions more transparent and fair, we think this will lead to higher quality data being available to marketers. 

Enliken has just produced a survey which found that only half of ad targeting data is right. What does that mean for advertisers?

It means there's tons of room for improvement. All you need to do is change the source of the raw material - intent and interest data - that's being fed into digital marketing systems. The result will be more efficient businesses, powered by data that are undoubtably more accurate and timely. It's really a testament to the rest of the marketing and ad tech industry that they've been able to innovate so much with low quality data.

What are the implications for brands as consumers start to realize how valuable their data is?

Everyone wins. The consumer gets transparency and control, brands get much higher quality data that they can safely use for all types of marketing. One way to look at it that brands are cutting out the middle man by going straight to the source.

How much is privacy an issue in the growing data economy? Are people growing less concerned about sharing their personal data?

Privacy is definitely in the zeitgeist, but it's important to think about what people mean by privacy - it's often misconstrued as a desire to be anonymous and hidden. What people often mean is a desire to understand how data is going to be collected, how it's used and optimally, participate in the value created by it.

That said - Enliken doesn't deal in personal data. The data we help consumer share with business is heavily filtered so that it only contains anonymous shopping data and brand affinities. It's the kind of stuff you might leave on a shopping list in a grocery cart or post to pinterest - pretty harmless, but extremely valuable to marketers. 

As data begins to act as a form of currency, regulators are starting to pay attention. In France, for example, the government has proposed a tax on the collection of personal data. Do you think that taxes like these will become a reality going forward?

Taxes might very well be inevitable. While no-one wants to see taxation of a nascent economy, it could have the positive effect of bringing added legitimacy to the idea of individuals capturing the value created by their data.

Click here for a video interview with Marc on CNN

To find out more information about trends under discussion at Now / Next / Why click here.

Ticket Information /

Standard Single / $733
Standard Group (3 for 2) / $1,466

To book tickets via Eventbrite simply hit the link.

If you're a Contagious Magazine or FEED subscriber, please email Arianna Radji or download the booking form to book with your special subscriber discount.