Turning Information into Assets — Exclusive Interview with ARPA’s Cofounder by Digital Shift Times
On January 31, 2020, Japanese’ leading tech media Digital Shift Times conducted a 2-hour exclusive interview with ARPA’s cofounder & Chief Growth Officer Yemu Xu. In this interview, Yemu talked about issues that hindered the blockchain mass adoption, the imminence of digital transformation, and the importance of data privacy protection.
As a top digital marketing team to assist Chinese and Japanese companies to enter the markets of both sides, DST’s exclusive interview will increase the awareness and understanding of ARPA in the Japanese market and expand the size of the ARPA international multilingual community.
We translated part of the interview into English and shared it here with our community. The original text is in Japanese and is attached at the end of the article.
Privacy: Issue that hindered the Mass Adoption of Blockchain Technology
Blockchain is a technology in which data (transaction history) is distributed and managed by many servers. It is used to exchange data on the Internet, including cryptocurrencies.
It is characterized by the fact that everyone can check transactional data without going through a centralized third party such as government, bank, or server of a specific company, so that it is difficult for the data to be tampered with and the system is hard to shut down.
On the other hand, the utilization of blockchain by companies has been limited. Behind the scene are privacy concerns.
Yemu Xu : By design, traditional blockchains disclose all personal and corporate privacy on chain. Everybody sees what was spent by whom on the public ledger. Therefore there’s no privacy on blockchain, as a result, companies and individuals will be hesitant to put high-value data and info on chain. This is one of the bottlenecks in the blockchain.
Privacy Protection with New technology
Meanwhile, ARPA has developed a technology that allows data to be exchanged when encrypted. They also has the prospect of open-sourcing the core component in the future so that companies around the world can use it as a new standard.
Yemu Xu : We have developed a technology that enables secure sharing and privacy-preserving computation on data. It is called “Multi-Party Computation, or MPC”. This means that all processes such as data collection, storage and utilization can be performed on even encrypted data. During the process, data is never revealed to anyone, including us. This is a technology that balances privacy protection and data utilization when utilizing data on blockchain and beyond. We hope to open-source this technology as open source in the future.
The Internet that was developed in the 90’s, and matured over 2000s. Internet technology was also originally developed by the U.S. military to exchange data among bases. It was then released and became open source, which led to the birth of large companies such as Google and Amazon.
Data is the new asset class. By leveraging blockchain technology and big data, we can anticipate 100–200 companies with a market capitalization of tens of billions of dollars emerging over the next 10 to 20 years. I think it’s good to open up this market by disclosing technology to increase players.
Data is the Largest Asset on the “Data Rental Platform”
So how will the world change with the adoption of blockchain technology?
Yemu Xu : There are three stages when it comes to big data. Data collection and utilization within the company, data sharing among companies, and eventually data sharing and monetization among enterprises and even individuals.
The world is still at the first stage when it comes to handling data. Companies simply develop and use a variety of tools and platform to collect, store, manage, analyze and use their own data.
In the second stage, data can be exchanged between companies. However, it is difficult at present due to privacy issues. We intend to use our encryption technology to exchange data while protecting each other’s confidential information.
In the next stage, I think we will be able to exchange data between individuals and companies, or among individuals. At present, companies collect personal data through the services provided, but individuals do not have control over their own data.
When the third stage arrives, individuals will also have a kind of database, and a world will be created in which third parties can lend this data when they want to use it. There will also be new platforms for lending and borrowing data. Companies that want to leverage data will pay individuals.
Data has become one of the most valuable assets for companies and once the infrastructure for data sharing matures, data will realize its full potential as an asset.
Digital Transformation is Required for Blockchain Adoption
Yemu Xu : With digital transformation, line between the virtual world and the real world is getting increasingly blur, all information that can be measured in life, such as how much an individual walks, heart rate data, etc. is stored as personal information . Even if there are no companies to use it now, that data will always be needed. Data will turn into oil and gold and become the best asset.
On the other hand, companies need a digital shift to use blockchain. Yemu talked about Japanese companies as an example.
Yemu Xu : Japan has many companies that offer some of the best-in-class products and services. If companies cooperate by leveraging their strengths, they may be able to make better Made-in-Japan. However, there are aspects in which laws are strict and exchange of confidential data is difficult.
In addition, digitization is slow, and I think that there are many cases where cooperation between data companies does not advance. Necessary measures should be taken, such as putting together and enabling data, putting together old and new data. Only then can the data be utilized using the blockchain, and the environment for creating new and good things will be set up.
ARPA is looking to roll out services globally, including Asia in the next year, and other countries a few years later, with services around the world.
Yemu Xu : We are going to expand our business targeting Chinese companies mainly in 2020. We will further improve our technology and start providing services mainly to Asian B2B companies in three to five years.
What we offer is support for secure data exchange and data sharing among companies, and we hope to collaborate with the Chinese government, and eventually other countries as well as international organizations to deploy our technology globally.
At present, the development of blockchain technology is a national strategy in China. The need for privacy-preserving computation technology has been on the rise as China’s personal information protection law on the Internet has been rapidly tightened and matured, such as in the enactment of cyber security laws.
ARPA is working with the Chinese government and the US-based information technology standardization organization IEEE to create national and international standards for privacy-preserving computation. Although it is a venture company with only about a dozen employees, it is already a leading company in this area.
With the use of blockchain technology on a global scale, its use is likely to become an important issue for Japanese companies.
ARPA Website: Https://Arpachain.Io/
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About Digital Shift Times & OPT Holdings
Digital Shift Times (DST) is a tech media in Japan that’s widely-read among top-level business executives. DST is a subsidiary of OPT Holding, Inc.（Securities code: 2389）
Digital Shift Times pays close attention to Japanese and overseas tech companies, and searches for medium and large companies that shape the technology trend of the next 5–10 years. Alibaba, along with the founder of Meituan Wang Xing were also interviewed by DST.
OPT Holdings was established in 1993 and is the largest listed digital marketing company in Japan with annual revenue of $ 1 billion. The market value of OPT Holdings holding companies exceeds US $ 15 billion, covering many countries around the world, including China, the United States, South Korea, Singapore, Malaysia, Thailand, and Vietnam. OPT has more than 10,000 clients worldwide.
ARPA is committed to providing secure data transfer solutions based on cryptographic operations for businesses and individuals.
The ARPA secure multi-party computing network can be used as a protocol layer to implement privacy computing capabilities for public chains, and it enables developers to build efficient, secure, and data-protected business applications on private smart contracts. Enterprise and personal data can, therefore, be analyzed securely on the ARPA computing network without fear of exposing the data to any third party.
ARPA’s multi-party computing technology supports secure data markets, precision marketing, credit score calculations, and even the safe realization of personal data.
ARPA’s core team is international, with PhDs in cryptography from Tsinghua University, experienced systems engineers from Google, Uber, Amazon, Huawei and Mitsubishi, blockchain experts from the University of Tokyo, AIG, and the World Bank. We also have hired data scientists from CircleUp, as well as financial and data professionals from Fosun and Fidelity Investments.
For more information about ARPA, or to join our team, please contact us at email@example.com.
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