Episode 444: Bruce Pon, Founder at Ocean Protocol

In this episode, Mike Townsend interviews Bruce Pon the Founder of Ocean Protocol, a blockchain startup focused on bringing data and AI together since 2013. Previously, Bruce co-founded Avantalion, a consulting firm that helped to build 20 banks around the globe for companies such as Mercedes-Benz, Volkswagen, Mitsubishi & Jaguar LandRover. He has an Advanced Executive Certificate from MIT Sloan, a B.Sc in Engineering from the University of Saskatchewan, and has given guest lectures at Oxford, MIT Media Lab, Columbia University, and the European School of Management & Technology. In addition to being in the 2020 full-length documentary Cryptopia, Bruce was featured in Oxford University and Saïd Business School’s online Blockchain course as a guest expert and in ARTE’s The Digital Future. He’s given invited talks at World Economic Forum, MOBI Connect, CNBC, KuppingerCole, and more.

Host: Mike Townsend

Guest: Bruce Pon

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Episode Transcript

Mike Townsend: Thanks tuning intoanother episode Around The coin Podcast. We got Bruce Pon on the show today. Heis the founder of Ocean Protocol, blockchain startup focused on bringing dataand AI together. Since 2013, they've raised over 140 million for their foundation.We talked about. Data data privacy, what people should consider when they thinkabout selling their data, blocking their data.

Mike Townsend: We talked about GDPRregulation. This is all about personal data. What you should think about it,what government should have access to what they shouldn't, what should beregulated, fascinating conversation considering today and our age data is thenew. So how can it integrate with, or operate on blockchain and Ocean Protocolis attempting to do that.

Mike Townsend: Hope you enjoy thisconversation. Here is Bruce Pon. All right, Bruce. Thanks for joining. I'mexcited to chat with you today. So you are run, you're running a few differentprojects. You've been involved in many different projects over your career.Ocean Protocol is the, I'd say largest recognizable protocol that you'reinvolved in now. I'd love to just learn from you what the inspiration was atthe time, starting the project and how that has evolved into where it's headedtoday.

Mike Townsend: What the problem thatyou're trying to solve in the world is ?

Bruce Pon: So it's it's just anobvious that data is a huge area where people are concerned about. And so OceanProtocol is trying to solve that problem using web three technology. We seethat there's a data economy that is arising right now. And we see that webthree can be a, a very critical part of orchestration of kind of you know, kickstarting,a date economy without having a middle man.

Mike Townsend: Okay. So talk to me alittle bit more about that. What is it when you say data economy? What, wheredo the data sources that you're referring?

Bruce Pon: So what we're seeingis that most of the data right now in web two are stuck in large entities,large corporations and silos like Facebook, et cetera. But there's a ton ofdata out there that's outside of these organizations.

Bruce Pon: And we see that, thatthat's the other 97%. And. The hypothesis that we worked on was that if you cancreate a means of data sharing in an open manner using web three technology, soclear, provide. Clear attribution, clear payments, transparency about what'sgoing on. That you could unlock all the other data as well as give people theability to demand their data back from places like Facebook, Instagram, whathave you and so they could have full control over it.

Bruce Pon: Now the the sweeteneron this is if they have full control over it, there's a good chance that theycan also monetize. And that's where a whole bunch of good things can happen,where people around the world can start monetizing their data. And it givespeople opportunity to become I guess, data farmers, yeah.

Bruce Pon: To create data sets,to generate data on their own and to earn off of that, just like nowadaysthere's this whole group, thousands of YouTubers who talk about various topicsand they earn money.  

Mike Townsend: Hmm. And, and when youthink about data, do you think about it as multifaceted in terms of individualscreate data based on their own internet surfing experience and to dateFacebook, Google have turned around aggregated that data and then served youads and take a portion of the advertising dollars that flow through theadvertisers, to the consumers.

Mike Townsend: That's certainly onekind of category of data is. The primary, most interesting case or are thereother cases as well?  

Bruce Pon: You know, that's,that's the most obvious one. But the protocol is meant to be agnostic to theuse case of what type of data, what industry vertical personal or privatecorporate, or what have you government?

Bruce Pon: The main thing is tostart having essentially a protocol or a language the sets of tools. andfeatures that allow people to share data. But I do think that one of the firstuse cases is something like browser data, your health, data sport, and fitnessdata, social media, all this sort of stuff, where.

Bruce Pon: Everybody feels thatthey could take more control over that aspect of their life, and then maybe putit into some sort of data union or data pool where then somebody's responsiblefor the custody of it to protect it, and then also to distribute and market it.Right. And that way then people have the ability to work with Facebook to selltheir data.

Mike Townsend: And just in terms of,I know everyone's different, but what would be an approximate value ifsomeone's thinking about the value of their individual data, how do you thinkabout assessing that?  

Bruce Pon: So there aren't a lotof metrics out there. So for, I think Facebook values each customer at, I thinka hundred dollars a year.

Bruce Pon: But if you look atyour social graph, your fit, this data, your health data, and all that sort ofstuff. If, if you're selling it just the Facebook, you might get what, $50 halfof that. Yeah. To make it worthwhile. But the problem is, is that, that data'sonly used. and the hypothesis that we have is of course your data is digital.

Bruce Pon: So you could sell itto a thousand different people. So if you're able to pull up all your data fromall your different sources, put it into a data union or something like that andsell it to a thousand different entities, pharmaceuticals, governments, marketresearch, social media, Amazon, all this type of thing.

Bruce Pon: The sky really is thelimit. We like, we, I, we think that you can definitely earn a good four figureincome from your data in the future, if you play it right.

Mike Townsend: Yeah. And to me, itseems like my, my intuitive sense on this. I haven't worked in ad tech, but Iwould imagine that individual data points are meaningless in aggregate. Theybecome everything. So obviously the reason why Google Facebook are valuable isthat they can aggregate data. They don't just have one-offs.

Mike Townsend: So if that, if, ifwhat you're saying becomes the distribution of data method, so everyone isthinking about selling their data many different times to. Businesses outthere, organizations, I would imagine the organizations then in turn are goingto work with pools, people who can aggregate data together so they can get alarger aggregated pool.

Mike Townsend: So do you see kind oflike maybe like a, a reactionary effect to individuals selling their datamultiple times being that these organizations are just gonna pull it behind thescenes, there's gonna be some company. Probably web two company that says, Hey,organizations, give us all the data that you're collecting or you're buying.

Mike Townsend: We're gonna organ,we're gonna aggregate it together and then sell it back to you. Do you thinkthere, is that a threat? Is that a, is that a negative thing? Because thatseems like kind of inevitable inevitability.

Bruce Pon: Yeah. There's multipleways this can play out. It can definitely go out that way, but the ideal.

Bruce Pon: flow that we see isyou use a web two service or a web three service, but web two is the main one.So you use the web two service. You download the data that they collect ontoyou into your web free wallet, whether it's some storage cluster you have onAmazon or in our weave or in file coin. And then you opt back in to data unionwho then sells it back to Facebook and whatever.

Bruce Pon: It's a fundamentaldifference because Facebook never asked you for their data. It's never a dealthat you opted into. You opted to use the service. And as part of that service,they said, well, we're also gonna take your data. And so it's a free service,therefore. You know, you paid in some other way, it's always the case, but whenyou look at it that way, you said, well, whatever, I, I use the service andthey get my data and this is a fundamentally different relationship we have nowwith the web two services.

Bruce Pon: If we can get thisgoing, because then you get all your data, you have your data vault. You canchoose not to, to sell it, not to share it, not to do anything with it, otherthan keep it for yourself, which people would write rightfully. Actually feelprobably better doing until they understand what's happening with my data, butthere's definitely a, a good subset of folks who would be open immediately toselling their data, trying this out and seeing the transparency and the audittrail that might happen in the future by, you know, taking this new deal withyour data.

Mike Townsend: Hmm. Yeah. It's, it'ssuch an interesting topic because so much of the internet has been paved. Theaggregated data pools, you know, such a, so many, so many of the great placeson the internet are great, precisely because they've been able to aggregatedata. And I think I, I sometimes hear more of the periphery from marketers orfounders of tech companies that don't have access to good data.

Mike Townsend: Maybe they can't trackanalytics on their site. It's like, if you blindfold the product manager,they're just gonna make a worse product. And, and I think. There's there's atrade off that people either overtly recognize or, you know, I think people arejust seemingly at this crossroads where we're trying to come to terms with whatthe upside and downside of sharing data is and GDPR, the European dataregulation.

Mike Townsend: Certainly. it has madeit almost they, I'm curious to hear your, your thoughts on the impact. Now thatwe're a few years out, because from, from a consumer per perspective, all Inotice is that every time I go to website, I get this ugly popup. That's likeallow cookies in order to use the site. And I just accept all the cookies andwithout thinking about it.

Mike Townsend: And it's just like atax on the entire internet, but tell me what, what am I missing? What what'sactually happening?

Bruce Pon: With GDPR. So twoparts, two parts. Number one is there was a really interesting interview frommark and Jason about four or five weeks ago. I, I, I, sorry, I don't know theexact, you know, which interview it was, but he, the, the interview asked him,how did you guys get on advertising?

Bruce Pon: Why is it so prevalentin web too? He says, well, that, that was it. That was the only way we couldmake money. When you give a free product to, to take away the speed bump ofgetting people to use your product. The only way that we could start chargingpeople at that stage, it wasn't subscriptions. Cuz there was no internetpayments.

Bruce Pon: There was no V paywith visa. There's no subscription. There was nothing. The only way we couldGet revenue was advertising and then that got baked into web two. So that is afundamental feature of web two. And so that's what we're trying to change. Now.That was the original sin of the internet. You, you could say the originalinternet had two sins.

Bruce Pon: Number one, the freeflow of data, which is a feature and a sin because that free flow of data meantthat you couldn't monetize that data and intellectual property. That's why wehave like pictures and images all over the internet, music, movies, all thatsort. That was the first original sin. The second one was that we use advertisingas the base model for revenue generation that's Facebook, Google, apple,Amazon, all that sort of stuff.

Bruce Pon: Not apple, but yeah,so that, that's the answer to like kind of the, the comment you made beforenow, GDP. Failed policy heart was in the right place, crappy execution. The,the worst execution you could ever think of it's government, the way that youimagine government to be in, not a positive sense. Yeah. In terms of theexecution, now, what ocean is, is looking at GDPR from the perspective of theuser and saying users want to monetize their data, or they wanna at least havecontrol over.

Bruce Pon: And GDPR is meant togive users control, but the problem is GDPR is bolted onto this original sin,which it's advertising based business models. So this cookies, these popups,it's a waste, it's a it's use. It's a, it's exactly what you said. It's a tax onthe attention. It's a crappy user experience for the entire globe because thiseconomic.

Bruce Pon: Block of 500 millionpeople or the government that decided that this is the way the internet shouldlook failed policy, but the heart was in the right place. And I, I, I stronglybelieve that web three and ocean are trying to, to do GDPR the way it, itshould have been done and could have been done.

Mike Townsend: Yeah. Yeah, it, itseems to me that the regulators recognize the problem, the, the original sin asyou put it, but they were overconfident in their ability to solve the problemusing the existing technological frameworks. And that, that seems to be the,the flaw in judgment is that you can just. Force people to cha it's likebasically saying the deal was, Hey, the government now requires that everycompany ask each user to opt in for data.

Mike Townsend: Well, that's exactlywhat happened is they, the company said either don't use our service or give,click this button that says you, you opt into the data and it's like, yeah, youcan choose to not use the internet. You know, no one has stopped youpreviously. It's just like, Yeah. Yeah. Yeah. You need fundamentally differenttechnological framework to, to, to implement this kind of change.

Mike Townsend: And I, I wonder, doyou, do you feel that people, like, what is the what's the you've I'm sureyou've done much more research on this. Like what's the general psychology of,of people. Are people more interested in making money off of surfing theinternet and selling their data or they more interested in their data?

Mike Townsend: Being harvested andsomehow used against them because there is an advantage that the individual,the consumer sees when they opt into giving their data and that they see betteradvertisements I'd RA like there is value. Add when a friend shows me a cool,like e-bike that I might be interested in buying, or if Facebook showed me avery relevant shoe that I might be interested in buying.

Mike Townsend: If they show me. Youknow, a pair of women's, you know, jackets. I'm just, it's just like poorexperience because I didn't opt into that data. So there's, there's increasedadvertising experience with opting into the data. Do you think people are ofthe mindset? They like to just pay $50 a year and not see any ads?

Mike Townsend: Yeah. How do you feelthe psychology of people today on the internet?

Bruce Pon: So I, I, I would, Iwould break it down into like a two dimensional matrix. Number one is.Convenience and ne fairness convenience. Most people just say, just get me tothe website. Don't bother me with this crap. You know? And, and there's a verysmall subset of people who are gonna be like, well, tell me they wanna read thefine print.

Bruce Pon: Tell me what you'regonna do with my data, all that sort of stuff. Right? So that's the first kindof access. And let's say 95% of the people are just like, take me to theinternet. And then the other access is nefarious is what are you doing with mydata? And once again, People are aware because we've already had prior examplesof data being used against them and weaponized against them.

Bruce Pon: That they're gonna bevery, very cautious with this type of thing. And they feel viscerally. , Idon't want to use any bad words. They just feel viscerally abused. And that issomething that the way that once again is a feature of web two and not a bug.And I don't know how we, that's the hard part. How do you turn the corner onthat one?

Bruce Pon: So people start to wantto share their data, and I believe that it's gonna be a long journey, buttransparency. Who uses data when, how, and what did I get paid for? This allowspeople to start gauging what they share and how much to share. I went, I'll usemyself as a personal example. I'm usually one of the very first to adopttechnologies.

Bruce Pon: So I was first onFacebook. I was first on MySpace, all this kind of stuff. And I shared mystuff. I, I was learning the, the, and now I share nothing. I'm off all thesocial media, because we know that that data has been used against us and maybenot personally against me, but as in aggregate, it's been used against us.

Bruce Pon: We know that societyis somehow splitting into multiple tribes and such like that. And a lot of ithas to do with web two. So it's gonna take a lot to turn it around, but you,you need to have these pieces where people know where their data is going, andif they have a chance to monetize, then they have that choice.

Bruce Pon: Only through transparency,you know, what they, that they say, white light, sanitizes, everything andexposes all the misdeeds. And so we need to have the same thing in web threefor data to kickstart that data economy.

Mike Townsend: Do you, one, one thingthat comes to mind too, is the differential between the types of data. Youknow, if a company asks for my social security number there's a, there's likehierarchy of intimacy of data. You know, if they ask for my personal addressthey ask for my data, like, I'd say it's probably social security number.

Mike Townsend: You know, you know,sometimes they ask like banks will ask the where, what street did you grow upon? What's your mother's maiden name? Like there's probably. I don't know.What's your first pet, what's your, what's your first car? Like there's 10questions that if I knew them about you, I could probably do some bad stuff.

Mike Townsend: So there's like youknow, those questions, the things that are. That are non fungible specific tome. Then there's like personal contact information, email, phone, number,telegram, what's all these things. And then there's like, then there's just mysurfing data. It's like, what kind of device am I on? What, what time of dayI'm using the site?

Mike Townsend: Like these are thingsI think product managers use to build better products. Like a product managerdoesn't need my SSN, my phone number, my email. They don't need anythingpersonal to me. Is this the right way to think about data? Is that it'sbucketed into like personal non-personal or trivial non Trivi.

Mike Townsend: Because if I thinkfrom a consumer's perspective, I'm willing to give them all that. If I cantrade that for a free and great experience, but maybe I'm wrong. Maybe I'mthinking about this in the wrong way. And so I, I, does that make sense? Isthat how people think about it too?  

Bruce Pon: I, I think definitelypeople could think about this, like from an initial, if you're looking at thisproblem, but I, I, I don't think that's the, the way it really works.

Bruce Pon: I think that. Youknow, I had this, this is a story I had this dawning once where I, I had aniPhone eight and I realized that it didn't matter how wealthy you were in theworld. That was the best you could get. You could be bill gates. Well,obviously he wouldn't have an iPhone, but you, you could be the wealthiestperson and the iPhone is all you can get.

Bruce Pon: If you look at a. ALamborghini or whatever, or my Bo or whatever, that's the best you can get. Andthat is the power of web three, as well as the web, by the way, in that theuser experience that I get and you get is the same as what. The king of Englandgets. And I think that that is the way to think about data where it's not aboutyour private data or your public data or your, whatever, your social graph.

Bruce Pon: It's not about that.It's that if you can get the experience where everybody has that base layer oftransparency on, and then compartmentalize themselves where they put their owndata, according to their comfort level and the ability for them to track whathappens to that, then it doesn't matter who you.

Bruce Pon: Or what data you wantto share? You could just say you could be completely anarchic and just say, Igive you everything, make money off it. Or you could be completely, you know,like a monk and say, I give you nothing. And then when we have that, whereeverybody on earth can make that their own decision doesn't matter, personalprivate, you know, do go crazy.

Bruce Pon: Yeah.

Mike Townsend: Mm quick aside, whenyou get a new device, when you get an iPad or iPhone computer or something, youknow, the question that they always ask you, which is, will you give us youruser data? Like I think they call it the like crash report data to helpdevelopers solve bugs. Should I opt into that or no?  

Bruce Pon: I don't know.

Bruce Pon: I don't . You know,it, it depends, you know, apple has taken a very hard line stance because theysell hardware. Right? Yeah. You know, apple, apple has taken a very hard linestance saying we sell you devices, not your data. Whereas somebody else, likefor instance, the Google phone, you might, you might wanna say, no, I, I, Idon't know the answer to that.

Bruce Pon: That that's theproblem. We don't have transparency of this.

Mike Townsend: Yeah, one thing whilewe're on this subject is it's so interesting. It's so important. I mean, I, I'msure you think about it and talk about it all the time. I feel like this becamemainstream top of mind with the Edward Snowden whistleblower. Event when in2000 and I forget the timing on it, but, you know, he was world famous eventfor basically saying that the us government has backdoor loopholes back doorsinto major tech companies and there's mass surveillance going on across theworld.

Mike Townsend: And I think that wasa. A gut check for many people to say, holy shit, this is potentially way moresevere, you know? And you mentioned apple taking the hard line. They wouldlikely take this hard line because they don't even want to have the option togo and get that data. If they, if they know, if, if it's technically possible,then.

Mike Townsend: The us governmentcould come to their headquarters and with guns and say, Hey, we need thesepeople's information, but if they technically can't do it, that's kind of themagic. That's the magic of blockchain. That's the magic of cryptography is thatyou can just build the system. So you don't have the temptation.

Mike Townsend: Do you feel that sinceEdward Snowden's release of all this, that there has been a, a sufficient and,and proper. Reaction from the public, or do you feel that public isundervaluing this or appropriately valuing it? I, I know that one last thingI'll add is I think Edward's note in, somebody asked him in an interview,what's the big, what's your biggest fear.

Mike Townsend: And in response tothat, he said, I fear that people will not recognize the importance ofgovernment surveillance and they won't take a strong enough action. And. Putthat to you hear your reaction.  

Bruce Pon: I'm absolutely torn bythe revelations of Edward Snow. Number one, because I, I do believe he took onefor the team.

Bruce Pon: He was, his heart wasin the right place and that he really wanted us to know what was happeningbehind the scenes. And I, where the, where I'm torn is that we look at theworld today and there's a lot of bad people. individuals, entities,governments, state actors. And when you com think about it in the starkness ofwho is keeping us safe at night, when we sleep, it's the three letter agenciesand I know which three letter agencies I want to be on my side.

Bruce Pon: And so on one hand, Iadmire. That stand he took. And I'm glad that it's proven what is being done onour, in the name of society. But at the same time, I would be remiss to saythat I take for granted. These people who work lurk in the shadows to protectus and what was lost because of these revelations.

Bruce Pon: It's a very difficult,there's no right answer right now in terms of how society has changed becauseof these revelations. Like I said, most people just go through life and they'reworrying about like nowadays it's energy, it's gas, it's paying the rent,paying for food. They're not so concerned about this data.

Bruce Pon: And so, but it doesmatter at the fringes, if you're a political prisoner or like, you know, you'rea journalist, you're somebody who's doing something where somebody ingovernment might not like what you're doing or the police force might not likewhat you're doing. Yeah. It can be used against you.

Bruce Pon: We've seen that inRussia. We've seen that also in north America with the truckers, with you know,some activists and such like that targeted on both sides left and. Using thetechnology and using the tools that are available. So, you know, for the vastmajority of people, 95%, it, as long as the, the rest of the levers ofgovernment are functioning, the way that they're designed to for a democracy orfor, you know, a, a people driven society, it works, but there's always gonnabe that one to 5% where it is a matter of life and death.

Bruce Pon: This type of question,and I don't know the right answer. I, I really don't and I'm not, I'm not gonnapretend that I know anything, what the three letter agencies are going through,as well as the people who are fighting for something they truly believe in andare getting, I guess, this, this onslaught of technology on them to get thedata that somebody else wants.

Bruce Pon: You know, everybody'strying to do it in the best. They. But there's no easy answers. I, I, I thinkthat's an imperfect response, but it's the best I got.

Mike Townsend: Slightly related tothat. There's a lot of debate or there has, there, there was a period of timewhere there, there was a lot of debate on the. whether or not the government,the federal government in the United States should ban TikTok. Being thatTikTok is a Chinese owned company and China bans Facebook.

Mike Townsend: And I believe Google,it seems like the, the international front for for effectively war is notphysical violence anymore, but data. I, I don't know the answer to this. Thisis one where I, I certainly could see the massive price that a country can payby using a platform that effectively is, has a BA has a strong and obviousbackdoor.

Mike Townsend: I mean, China'sabsolutely has it rude access to TikTok and. It's the fastest growing socialmedia network on the planet. And effectively China owns that. I mean, for allintensive purposes and. I, I don't know. I don't know what should be done, butI, I know it seems like China has taken a hard and early stance against lettingother social networks into China for a reason.

Mike Townsend: And they wanna ownthat themselves. Do you see this as the, as a serious threat to like states andnational national security? Or do you think it's kind of overblown?

Bruce Pon: Unfortunately, I've,I've. I started from a place of being, let's say, center left, and now I findmore and more that I'm leaning center. Right. And I think that something likeTikTok is absolutely a matter of national security, unfortunately.

Mike Townsend: So you, you went fromcenter left to center, right? What can you elaborate on that? What does thatmean? Practically?  

Bruce Pon: Because because Ithink sender left is a little bit more idealistic and seeing the way the worldis going. I think that pragmatism will do us well. And I think that the thedata, as you had said, the geolocation data.

Bruce Pon: The targeting data onthe individuals who are using TikTok and all these sort of things that is amatter of national security for Western nations. Unfortunately, and I, I thinkthat that is typically more of a right wing kind of defensive posture,conservative in the sense of realizing that these tools can be used against usand to then take appropriate measures to.

Bruce Pon: Mitigate them as best aswe can.

Mike Townsend: Mm. Yeah. So I guess,do you think the us should ban TikTok?

Bruce Pon: I'm not a politician.I, like I said, I, I think that given where the world is. That the, if the uswas the band talk, I think it would be potentially justified.

Bruce Pon: Hmm.  

Mike Townsend: Yeah. Boy, I will saythough, just aside on this, I think if we, if the smartest people in society,people like yourself who think about encryption and technological advancementin data if, if the. If, if we just leave it to politicians who can barelyoperate an iPhone eight, then we're all screwed.

Mike Townsend: that's one thing I'mpretty, pretty strong stance on is that, you know, a big part of this podcastis like, Hey, let's. Who cares, right? Like, like let's just say what we thinkand then bounce ideas around and, and say, this is we're the, the good thing isyou and I are not gonna make a decision. We're not politicians, but hopefullythrough the, you know, my, my highest hope here is that through these kind ofconversations, we can.

Mike Townsend: Say, okay. I have animpartial, incomplete view of the world, but here's my intuition. Here's whatI've seen. And then there's kind of an engagement with another perspective thatthen turns into a, a more sophisticated perspective. And I think the technologypiece of it, like at Ocean Protocol is. Is the opportunity to move thingsforward because GDPR did not work largely because it just was a forcingfunction on the existing tech framework.

Mike Townsend: But the distributedblockchain protocol methods of securing transferring data on smart contracts,all these things are constantly moving forward. I I'm. I wanna ask you aboutthe, the technological potential of not only just personal data, but what,what, what does this look like going forward? Are we in 10 years from now?

Mike Townsend: We'll talk again. Am Istill gonna be worried about TikTok and Chinese interference and companies, ordo you see there just being some technological advancement, cryptographicencryption that just. Data sharing. It just TA changes the game. Like do, doyou see, have you seen the potential for that to happen to where it's likeyeah, no longer becomes an issue.

Bruce Pon: I would, I would framethe response in two ways. Number one is technology is agnostic, and I thinkthat web three technology is designed so that anybody can use it. And it'sbuilt from the right philosophical. basis of individual strength, individualsautonomy. Now, granted that is not necessarily the perspective of some othercultures like Asian, some Asian cultures are way more collectively oriented,right?

Bruce Pon: So the fact that webthree is meant to give power back to individuals is in some ways, anti anantithesis towards some cultures that value the collective. So already there'sa moral Stand from the perspective of web three, it's just the way it is. Andso, but it is agnostic so anybody can use it. So the fact that it starts fromthe individual first, and then anybody can use it, that doesn't change thatit's agnostic.

Bruce Pon: And then the secondthing is how does it all play out? And I think that it's instructive to lookat, for instance, the current war in the Ukraine right now, where it is both.Kinetic war. It's a information space. It's a cyber war as well as a technologywar with drones and some of the latest stuff. And here is where I have becomeway more pragmatic.

Bruce Pon: Number one, it's clearwhat side you wanna be on? Number two is. The, the field of warfare has alreadybeen shaped long before this this latest hot phase in the Ukraine kickstartedin February, 2022, the information warfare space had been prepared by otherstate entities. We know this it's been proven long ago for the last 10 years.

Bruce Pon: And so web three,unlocking personal data and giving people transparency on where it's used.Hopefully also helps in this regard, because one of the challenges with web twowas that it was completely intransparent what was being used with our data. Thefact that it was being weaponized against us, the fact that it was alreadybeing used to start curating and preparing and softening the informationlandscape to split us up into our tribes, more distinctly so that it would beeasier for hostile entities and nations to split us up even more.

Bruce Pon: In a time when thereis a war, you know, work on the inflation, work on the energy problem, work onthe splitting people up along very clear fault lines. This is part ofinformation warfare now. So yeah, I guess that's the answer, right? Number oneis technology is agnostic. Even if it starts from some sort of moral stance, ithas to start from some sort of moral stance.

Bruce Pon: And then on top ofthat, every entity. Is using the information that is generated for nefariousmeans and to prepare an information warfare space. And as I said, it's more andmore clear to me that I know what side I want to be on, and I'm gonna fight forthat in the ways that I can while hu to the ability to give more people powerwith the technology so that it can do things agnostic.

Mike Townsend: Mm. Interesting. Yeah,I think that was a very wise perspective. It, it does feel like the. Concernthat we must have for the international affairs is growing. So, you know, itfeels like maybe for the last 30, 40 years, you could basically do your job,you know, focus on building technology, focus on doing whatever you do and notreally think about it.

Mike Townsend: I think having kind ofa large, the United States kind of being the largest country militarilyeconomically made it. So there. There was low, a period of low volatility. AndI think that's a psychological shift for many people across the world to say,we, we can't just opt out of these conversations at some point.

Mike Townsend: Like they just becomefar too relevant, you know? And, and 1938, you can't just say, oh, well, I'mjust gonna focus on. You know, building cars like in Germany, like you have tobe thinking about what what's happening in the world. Should I leave? Should Istay? What should I do? And so I, I, I don't think we're headed to a mirrorthat pathway, but certainly there's so many things changing on such a highlevel that.

Mike Townsend: It's like, there's a,there's a necessity that people have to have for coming to a certainperspective on the, the world economic shifts. Right. It's like the tectonicplates are moving and we, we need to figure out where they're gonna settle. Itaffects everyone.  

Bruce Pon: Yeah. I think, I thinkwhen you put, when the stakes are down and you, you see it black and.

Bruce Pon: That's what you'recoming to. Jesus moment. That's when you realize what's important and what's,you know, and actually there's nothing wrong with somebody saying I'm justgonna build cars. I'm just gonna do this. I don't wanna know anything about theworld. There's actually nothing wrong with that. But what we all owe toourselves and to the society around us is to make sure that we are takingownership and responsibility.

Bruce Pon: Taking care of ourselves,having enough money set aside having enough supplies at home so that when thesesupply shocks happen, high inflation, all that sort of stuff, taking care ofdebts and stuff like that, doing all these things to protect yourself and be,make yourself more resilient. And then once you've taken care of yourself,helping the people around you.

Bruce Pon: I, I forget who hadsaid this, but, you know, socialism should be around your immediate family andthen capitalism should be out in the world outside of your immediate circle.And I actually buy into that a lot more now. So by taking care of yourselfsticking to your grind and making sure that you've gotten yourself and yourfriends and your family covered, that's the best you can do in today's world.

Bruce Pon: Because none of us,we, we not, we, we all don't need to save the world. We just need to save usand the people around us. And I think that's noble enough.

Mike Townsend: Yeah, that's for sure.well, say everyone, everyone needs to save their own world. That's probably onpoint with what you're saying. Origin protocol foundation, origin protocolfoundation, somewhere in the order of 140 million for grants. What's where areyou guys headed now? Like what's the, what's the top of mind direction foreither the foundation, the protocol projects that you're involved in aroundocean.

Mike Townsend: Yeah.  

Bruce Pon: So we've been workingon this project now for, since 2017. So it's almost five years. We deliveredeverything that we promised in our original white paper. It was a long journeyof four or five years. And now we have a little bit more flexibility and I thinkit's a good to have a little bit more flexibility to, to see.

Bruce Pon: Where we should befocusing more attention to right now. So we have this community that's pretty,I'm pretty proud of we, it, it's a global community, a bunch of developers, a bunchof people who are crypto fanatics, as well as a burgeoning group of datascientists. And now the question is given that this technology is completelyagnostic.

Bruce Pon: What experiments do werun to see. Where adoption happens faster. We think adoption can happen along abroad front, but where could it happen faster to demonstrate to either datascientists or to crypto enthusiasts or to developers that they should devotemore attention to ocean. And so for the next year or two, that is essentially wherewe're gonna be spending our time.

Bruce Pon: We have a couple ofcool projects in the works. We generally don't announce them before we'velaunched because we want to have, we we've always had a philosophy. Deliverfirst and then talk about it to the chagrin of our community. But we think thatthat's the most intellectually honest at this stage.

Bruce Pon: We do give high levelplans in terms of where we think we're going. But right now we're in the, a newkind of planning stage because we've delivered on everything that we plannedfor the last five years.

Mike Townsend: Gotcha. So, so staytuned. Give me like a high level. So, so far the things that have been done arehow do you describe like the most important accomplishments and then just likegeneral direction going forward.  

Bruce Pon: So we developed a baselayer of, of orchestrating of the handshake between data owners and databuyers, that basic orchestration we built on top of that a way that you couldpreserve privacy.

Bruce Pon: So that if a, a, aprovider gave data, that it wouldn't get exposed, so they wanted to be able toshare without exposing it. So that, that one, that's one piece of technology webuilt. And then we built on top of that kind of this infrastructure for monetizingthe data, using some innovations in the Ethereum space, like the ERC 7 21token, and a couple of, you know, mix and match type of tokens where you canthen Securitize your data, you can fractionalize ownership of it.

Bruce Pon: And then you can alsofind different ways to kind of NFT use, use your data as an represent your dataas an NFT. So this is some of the stuff we've been working on for, for the last10 years, actually nine years. And we've built it into ocean. So that's wherewe've come from for the last four or five years.

Bruce Pon: Where we going intostart into the future is. We think that continuing to integrate further intoDeFi with data. So using the tools of DeFi to help price data, to helpfacilitate the flow of data is useful also tooling for the data economy in thefuture. So DevOps type of things, very technical modules and tools that allowedpractitioners, data scientists to really use the.

Bruce Pon: On top of that baselayer, that's pretty much the direction we're heading right now.

Mike Townsend: That's awesome. AndBruce, who, if there is any individual people books, blogs, are there certainareas that come to the top of your mind when you think of what has inspired youor educated you over the years that you want to throw out there?  

Bruce Pon: Poor look HernandoDeSoto was a big one, actually Hernando, DeSoto.

Bruce Pon: I think he, he wroteabout dead capital and the ability for people to get title on their land is thebest indicator for a burgeoning middle class and wealth of a nation. And sothat was one of the inspirations of ocean was the ability to give people titleto their data in a way that wasn't possible.

Bruce Pon: Previously, and in thedigital world we need to have, and if people can get title on their data usingweb three technology, I think that we have 8 billion people who can participateif they choose to in a new world and earn money from it. It's universal, basicincome. That's not socialist, it's purely capitalist, but it gives everybodythe equal opportunity.

Bruce Pon: Doesn't guarantee theoutcome. And I think that that is the noble goal that we should all aim for.

Mike Townsend: Mm. Awesome. Bruce hasbeen a lot of fun. I appreciate you entertaining me and going in differentdirections. and congrats on all the progress with ocean. I hope you guysaccomplish your wildest dreams and help make people's data more private andaccessible and controllable. Look forward to having you back on someday.

Bruce Pon: My pleasure. Thank youvery much.  

Mike Townsend: Thanks Bruce.