It is without any doubt the global community will continue to view the ever-growing data economy through a critical lens. There is so much at stake when it comes to the way service providers store, transfer and use customers’ data. This topic is even more pressing when you consider the growing importance of data protection and privacy.
Although the vast majority of corporations have made known their commitment towards the preservation of users’ privacy, very little has been done in terms of actual implementations. The most we have seen are initiatives in the form of policies designed to comply with existing data protection regulations. Hence, instead of implementing meaningful and efficient technologies or solutions tailor-made to preserve users’ right to privacy, service providers only opt to sparingly disclose how they utilize users’ data, and then it is business as usual.
While this narrative encapsulates the current state of the data economy and the common measures adopted to ensure privacy, it is far from fitting for an increasingly digitized world. The sheer volume of data generated in the last decade alone (57 billion terabytes) signals the need for potent privacy-focused solutions, as against the current mediocre but accepted approaches.
For an economy expected to have created 175 billion terabytes of data by 2025, the windows for negligence are non-existent. It is no longer enough to just encrypt data — we have to take the extra step to block all privacy loopholes, most especially the possibility of constructing a surveillance operation through metadata.
Fortunately, there are solutions out there incorporating unconventional methods of dealing with the unique challenges that data privacy poses. At the forefront of this commendable movement is the HOPR protocol. As such, it is only fair to explore the approach of this startup and assess its effectiveness.
What is HOPR?
HOPR describes itself as a gamechanger in the data privacy and anonymity narrative. The solution looks to provide next-level privacy tools to users via blockchain infrastructures. The goal is to create a distributive network that permeates the Web 3.0 conversation and eliminates all loopholes associated with the transfer and utilization of data.
This project came under the spotlight last year when reports revealed that Binance Labs, the incubation and funding arm of Binance Exchange, had led a $1 million fundraising round for HOPR.
How Is HOPR Optimizing Data Privacy?
As exemplified by the level of support HOPR has attracted, the project has conceptualized and created an interesting architecture for preserving the identity of users as well as their data. Here, nodes in the peer-to-peer network play a pivotal role in encrypting the data generated and transferred via the platform. And although HOPR incorporates blockchain infrastructures, it is not a blockchain itself. HOPR is a layer-0 network on which other blockchains can be built on.
The protocol has a message layer that routes Internet data packets through several nodes to hide their sources and destinations from all surveillance systems. Besides, it mixes data packets in such a way that it is almost impossible to differentiate a single data packet from the crowd. This is why HOPR is considered a mixnet and a viable means of eliminating the risk of deducing information about users from metadata. Hence, it is impossible to track metadata like addresses, the time of transactions, the destinations and so on. These services are suitable for both individual users and companies.
More importantly, HOPR incentivizes nodes to participate in the data encryption process by rewarding them with HOPR Token. Therefore, there is every reason for network participants to enable the encryption of data and metadata transmitted via the protocol.
It also helps that HOPR users have a say in the governance of the data privacy protocol. They get to vote on changes and upgrades executed on the protocol. In essence, HOPR is not prone to abuse borne out of centralization.
This architecture has helped the project cement its place in the crypto industry as a community-focused solution. With over 1,500 users participating in its latest decentralized autonomous governance voting exercise, it is clear that HOPR has managed to attract a solid following and looks set for organic and explosive growth.
When it comes to data privacy, innovation is the only certain means of enabling the right tools to curtail the overly negligent and centralized architecture of protecting users’ data. And from what we have learned, HOPR has the appropriate level of innovation required to tackle data privacy challenges.