Telefonica will allow users to sell their private data via blockchain marketplace

Multinational telecom giant Telefonica is trialling a decentralized data marketplace that allows subscribers to sell their personal information, according to a statement. 

Telefonica will play a key role in verifying consumers' data but its subsidiary Movistar will run the trial in Uruguay. They have partnered with the Wibson marketplace to connect users to around 10 data buyers made up of "technology platforms, advertisers, marketers, and academic and social-good researchers" via a blockchain-based mobile app. Launched in October, the app allows users to make a data transaction and receive 'payment' in WIB tokens via an Ethereum smart contract.

According to research, the average US consumers' phone stores around $240 a year in data; from Facebook, to browsing history, to location services' API. Wibson's CEO Mat Travizano told The Block that while individual pieces of data cost between $0.05 to $0.001 – "you can sell a lot."

"The marketplace gives consumers an easy way to profit from and control their personal data," he said, adding that Telefonica shares their ideological commitment to giving people back data ownership.

Indeed, data buyers on the Wibson marketplace share exactly "who, what for, and how long for" data will be used for, and individuals can then make a decision about who gets it.

The announcement hints at the growing interest around enterprise blockchain and its particular use case for disrupting data-ownership models.