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mPowered aims to let farmers monetise their data

The mPowered technology platform aims to help farmers controll access to and profit from their own data.

mPowered was founded in Guelph, Ontario, Canada, by a group of “data evangelists”, as they call themselves. Their goal is to democratise data with the launch of mPowered, a new distributed ledger technology that will help people control access to and profit from their own data.

“mPowered is a novel blockchain-based ecosystem that facilitates and incentivises data sharing on a cryptographically secure, transparent and tamper-proof platform”, the founders say.

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Launching in 2019 from the heartland of Canada’s agri-food technology sector, mPowered’s first use case will be the global agriculture system. - Photos: Peter Roek
Launching in 2019 from the heartland of Canada’s agri-food technology sector, mPowered’s first use case will be the global agriculture system. - Photos: Peter Roek

The platform was created by a group of software engineers and machine learning specialists, “in response to growing concerns about a fundamental lack of fairness hidden beneath the hype of the data revolution,” they say.

“Every day, vast quantities of data are being generated and collected at an accelerating pace, driving innovation and generating huge profits for corporations. Yet individuals, smaller enterprises and organisations of all kinds do not directly reap the rewards of the data they generate – and they have little to no control over how their data is used and by whom.”

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Full ownership and control of data with mPowered

“mPowered was created as our answer to a basic question: if data is the new global currency, why are so few people getting paid for it?” says mPowered co-founder Joel Sotomayor. “Every time you search for something on the Internet, or book a vacation for your family, or use a precision seeder on your farm, or ask Google for directions to a new restaurant, you’ve added data points to digital profile of you that you didn’t even know existed. We want to empower people to take back full ownership and control of their data – and be rewarded for sharing it.”

Also read: Will farmers or ag companies benefit from big data?

Global agricultural system

Launching in 2019 from the heartland of Canada’s agri-food technology sector, mPowered’s first use case will be the global agriculture system. “Farm enterprises generate vast amounts of data about everything from seed and feed purchases to water and fertiliser use to barn temperatures and animal health and well-being. We will encourage and reward data sharing at all points along the supply chain, from farm to table,” says Sotomayor.

We empower farmers to decide for themselves if and with whom their data will be shared, and to benefit financially from the exchange

According to Sotomayor, farmers will collect rewards for data they already have from using precision agriculture machinery and Internet of Things (IoT) sensors including production rates, tillable acreage, surface temperatures in fields, water availability, pest infestations, fertiliser coverage and more.

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mPowered aims to "empower farmers to decide for themselves if and with whom their data will be shared, and to benefit financially from the exchange."
mPowered aims to "empower farmers to decide for themselves if and with whom their data will be shared, and to benefit financially from the exchange."

“We empower farmers to decide for themselves if and with whom their data will be shared, and to benefit financially from the exchange. Our proprietary algorithm and machine learning technology will provide farmers with the means to monetise the data from their individual experiences for an additional revenue stream and in this way contribute to the stability, security, innovation and growth of the global agricultural system,” Sotomayor states.

More demands on agri-food sector

He states that data should be available and accessible worldwide. “This is especially true when it comes to agriculture. Feeding the world’s growing population is driving more and more technological innovation, which places more and more demands on the agri-food sector to capture data in order promote traceability, food safety and quality assurance, reduce waste, combat food fraud, and more.”

According to Sotomayor the mPowered ecosystem should generate more valuable, validated data to broaden and deepen the understanding of the state of the global food system, while making sure rewards for creating that knowledge are shared fairly among all participants.

Also read: Data ownership questions – and why they’re important

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