Part I: Ownership
Data Ownership is a topic that can be approached from many different directions. The responses and arguments brought to the table vary depending on who or what it is in reference to. In order to understand what ownership actually means in a digital age, we have to understand the impact of ownership on in the physical world. By stepping back and taking a look at physical ownership, we can understand what ownership truly means in a digital world.
Person A and Person B live in the same town. Person A spends 10 coins to purchase a plot of land that Person B currently occupies. Who owns the land?
If Person B can produce proof of purchase or ownership, according to society that would mean it is his land and Person A’s request is fraudulent. If Person B cannot, according to society it does not matter if his family has been there for ten (10) generations, the piece of proof allows Person A to move into Person B’s house and land for those 10 coins and Person B is out on the street with his family.
This is not an entirely up to date example as much of the land we live on today has already been purchased or claimed in some way.
Let us look at a more relevant example, Person A and Person B do not know each other. Person A decides to purchase a sandwich. Person A now has proof of ownership for the sandwich. Person B decides they are hungry and are going to take the sandwich forcibly from Person A. Person B takes the sandwich. Who owns the sandwich?
The answer is whoever has possession is the true owner at any given point in time. This is the concept that makes Non-Fungible Tokens so valuable. I cannot just claim ownership of a CryptoPunk or a CryptoKitty, the public ledger must verify that I own it at the time of my claim.
In this example we have Business A and Person A. Business A is a large technical company that provides a social interaction platform. Person A is a user of Business A’s platform. Person A creates a post and puts it onto the platform. Who owns the contents of the post?
The life cycle of data in this scenario makes it difficult to determine ownership. However, the answer is simple, the thought is owned by Person A, the empty post is owned by Business A. Once the post is submitted and added to the platform, the post and the thought or content is now owned by Business A.
You may question or outright deny my answer, but the truth of this statement lies in where the current piece of information or data is at any given moment in time. The data is now fully owned by the Business as the only physical location of the data at X point in time is in Y location on Business A’s infrastructure. In this scenario Person A traded ownership of their data in exchange for the services offered by Business A.
Enough examples, we are going to break down the key concepts of how decentralization can change ownership, why should people care, and what is MyLilius going to do to help push for this change?
Ownership is Possession
The concept of ownership which was thoroughly thought out with examples above can be simplified down to one word. Possession. Who or whatever owns X at point Y in time, is the owner of X. It doesn’t matter if it is “rightfully” yours, human beings only have one true right, which is the right to be alive. All other rules/laws are global or local standards that have been created over time. Are they the right standards to enforce or to break, that is a moral decision. Lilius and the writers of this document are not encouraging the violation of any laws or rules. If we look at these rules we can understand that they provide a framework to help individuals move throughout life in a controlled manner and hopefully live better. However, as the world transitions into an even more digitally dependent era, we would like to offer a framework for future data governance.
Ok, quick pause. I hope you are still with me. If you are confused, no worries, here is the basic recap.
True ownership means current possession according to logic, not societal standards.
If you understand that move to the next section of this document Proof of Ownership.
If you do not understand that, try this: You find a penny on the ground. You pick it up. It’s your penny now. You are $0.01 richer. It does not matter who’s penny it was, it’s yours now.
Proof of Ownership
With a clear understanding of Ownership, the idea of Ownership proof is now key. If you are thinking that purchasing something and having proof of purchase in terms of a receipt and a deduction in your bank account is what the idea is, sorry, but you are wrong. Proof of Ownership simply means that at every change of ownership from the first person obtaining the object to however many people it may transfer to, there is a log that is stored in multiple places. There may be one penny that changes possession over 100 times in a year, whether through purchase or picking it up off the ground, if there was a record of every owner that penny had, then the penny would have Proof of Ownership at the core level.
Proof of Ownership sounds great, but in practice it is not that easy to manage. The reason for this is in order to have true proof we need a record and that record needs to have a number of copies and a variety of functions and proofs under the hood to make it tamper proof. The answer to what provides Proof of Ownership is blockchain.
Blockchain and Ownership
Blockchain is an amazing technology that was originally introduced back in 1982 by an amazing individual known as David Chaum. The first blockchain ever built and launched was Bitcoin, however, most people only care about the cryptocurrency. We do not care about the cryptocurrency per say, but the underlying cryptographically linked blocks that created an ever growing immutable ledger with many copies.
From this initial description, it may sound like blockchain can provide Proof of Ownership. If that is what you are thinking, you are correct. The core concept behind blockchain which is the ever growing interconnected blocks provides a technology capable of tracking changes over time while also providing safeguards against fraudulent changes.
By storing the owner of an object on a blockchain the blockchain will keep creating blocks which all contain proof of the current owner at the time that block is created. Therefore, it does not matter if someone claims ownership of an object, the blockchain can verify the current owner at all times.
Proof of Purchase
I am not a lawyer by any means, but from my understanding it is illegal to steal in every society today and has been a standard law in many civilizations for a very long time. Let us step back to the argument that Ownership means Possession. According to the standards set in society, ownership does not mean possession, ownership simply requires proof of purchase or creation. While irrelevant to true ownership, we want our digital identities to operate under the same standards that we live by in the physical world. Therefore, it is important to understand that we will consider Proof of Purchase is simply one type of Proof of Ownership. Both of these Proofs result in the creation of a transaction or record of Change in Ownership. This is important to understand because now we can utilize the underlying blockchain technology to guarantee that in order to change the current ownership of an object, the network — all the computers running the software to provide the decentralized blockchain — must allow the transfer to happen. If the transfer is allowed by the network and is considered trustworthy, only then can a change in ownership actually happen. Person A might pay $15 for Object A, and Person A may transfer Object A to Person B. Both the purchase and the transfer create a record which provides a guaranteed Proof of Ownership at any given point in time. If Person C attempts to steal Object A from Person B, the blockchain will notice that the node providing the transaction is malicious and block that transaction.
Proof of Change
Proof of Ownership has another branch which I call Proof of Change. I think Proof of Change is the more encompassing branch of ownership as it goes far deeper than a receipt. In order to change who owns Object A, we need to have Proof of Change. Why does Proof of Ownership and the optional Proof of Purchase not have full coverage? Let’s use an example of a store that sells apples.
Business A has 20 apples. How did those apples get to Business A? Did they purchase them? Did they grow them? Who brought or purchased the apples? Who cleaned the apples? Who put the apple’s up for sale? Who set the price of the apples? The list goes on and on.
This is relevant because as human beings we understand that every action changes something and every change impacts something else. There is no such thing as only changing ONE thing. If you are unloading the dishwasher and pull out one dish, the dishwasher now has one less dish, however, the cabinet now has one more dish.
Proof of Change is simply the concept that if I send 10 tokens to you, you now have 10 tokens. There is a transaction of -10 from my balance and +10 for you. If you put a faulty transaction on the ledger that says +10 tokens, but it does not come from anywhere then you will be denied since there is no proof of change.
At the core, Proof of Change simply means that if one thing happens, at least one another thing changes as well to prove that change.
Consumer ownership is currently impossible with the big business style Web2. Data is constantly provided to and generated on centralized servers that are owned by businesses. However, as the world slowly shifts and there is an opportunity to change where this data lives, why should consumers take the leap into something new?
Consumers that take control of the ownership of their data, take control of their Digital Identity and future potential.
By storing data in a decentralized solution, consumers now own their own copy of all data put into the solution and all data that is generated through the use of applications that also run on top of this decentralized solution. Users do not need to understand blockchain technology, users simply need to have a solution that they can use instead of their current spread of centralized offerings.
This sounds like a lot of work, and it is, but not on the users end. Many companies are currently working on decentralized offerings of current Web2 platforms such as social media, marketplaces, games, communication mediums, and more.
This shift is on the developers to make it easy for the users. If the shift is easy, why would anyone not make the switch?
MyLilius and Ownership
MyLilius is currently being rebuilt from the ground up to run entirely on decentralized storage and compute options in order to provide the greatest level of ownership to the consumers possible with NO data ever being stored on servers or databases owned by Lilius, Inc.
At MyLilius, we have coined the concept of a DOT, or Digitally Optimized Twin. This DOT is what we want individuals to consider their centralized digital identity. Where is the data centralized on? Not on our servers, but on your devices locally. By providing the tools and infrastructure to store this data on decentralized storage options, the average person will be able to delve into Web3 and start benefiting from the concepts and platforms that exist but don’t tie into their existing internet usage.
By providing the core, and the layers to interact with all parts of the internet, MyLilius is going to be the first platform that truly allows users to own and utilize their own data to improve their everyday lives, without ads, without the direct sale of linked customer data, and without the unsolvable security risks that live on centralized computing options.
Right now, the average person doesn’t care about their data. They want the best services and they will sacrifice their identity to utilize these services. This phase of the internet is coming to an end. Prepare to use your data on any service because it is your data. Prepare to shut others out if you don’t want them to view it. Prepare to control your digital identity. MyLilius is coming.
Written by TheGreatAxios | 09–23–2021