Secure, Controllable, Decentralized Data Sharing: An Interview With bitYoga CEO Antorweep Chakravorty

Beyond its primary use case of powering cryptocurrencies, there’s no denying the priceless possibilities embedded in the underlying blockchain technology. 

Coinfomania recently spoke to bitYoga CEO Antorweep Chakravorty. The Norway-based startup is a member of the EU-H2020 ARTICONF project and is piloting the adoption of blockchain technology for decentralized and secure data file sharing for the next generation of internet applications.

He first spoke to us about how bitYoga got started.

Antorweep was an associate professor of the University of Stavanger, Norway along with co-founder, Chunming Rong who was also a professor.

Antorweep and Chunming were both working on a mechanism to have controlled sharing of data, and then in 2015, with the advent of blockchain 2.0, they found relevant concepts between the technology and its suitability to provide the controlled sharing mechanism

They filed for a U.S patent which led to the formation of bitYoga as a company by spinning out from the University.

bitYoga received the EU Seal of Excellence Award (H2020 SME-1) in 2018 which followed yet another recognition of its research work on blockchain as one of the top 100 research papers on blockchain in 2018 during the Blockchain Connect Conference in San Francisco.

What’s the state of crypto and blockchain in Norway?

For cryptocurrencies, Antorweep confirmed that there are a lot of activities especially with regards to cheap electricity which has attracted a lot of miners to set up shop in the European country.

With a connection to using blockchain for business applications, the bitYoga CEO mentioned that a lot of organizations are exploring the possibility of adopting the technology for enterprise applications, while not paying much attention to cryptocurrencies or mining.

How Does the Product Planned by bitYoga Work?

In the process of federating trust for users, bitYoga and other ARTICONF partners are building an extension to enterprise-focused blockchain Hyperledger Fabric. 

He explained,

“We at bitYoga through the EU-H2020 ARTICONF project, are trying to create a blockchain infrastructure that adheres to EU policies for data security and privacy by federating trust.

People are becoming increasingly concerned about how their data is being collected, used, packaged and sold.  The ARTICONF project identifies new ways of dealing with critical issues, such as privacy, trust, data management, and decentralization.  The project is devoted to implementing blockchain technology in new and creative ways to address these issues.

The partners are currently in the process of establishing partnerships with various public and private organizations, including EU member organizations to host such an infrastructure and collectively guarantee adherence to policies, privacy, and accountability on transactions involving sensitive user data.  

The ultimate goal is for such an infrastructure to become the data backbone to usher in, data sovereignty in the EU, through trust-based Internet applications and computing.

The second part of the product being developed at bitYoga is a general-purpose social network that allows users to share all kinds of information with everyone while providing the conditions enabled on smart contracts to determine the degree of sharing. For instance, a user can limit to what extent the data they sent can be shared by the initial receiver as well as others. 

Additionally, bitYoga is also developing a Transactive Energy Ecosystem on the blockchain to facilitate the trading of energy within micro communities, state actors, and private enterprises. Other ARTICONF partners are working on similar systems for social networking, car sharing, live journalism, and video co-creation.

  • When is the Product Launch Anticipated?

The general-purpose social network similar to WhatsApp but decentralized and steered by a range of private and public organizations is expected to go beta in Q2, Q3 this year

For the planned EU-blockchain data infrastructure which bitYoga is working on alongside other EU-based projects, the team is working on rolling out the infrastructure within the next two years.

The lengthy development period owes to the fact that the network would require signing up of several regulatory-compliant organizations to participate in forming a consortium, that will validate and verify transactions on the planned EU-blockchain data infrastructure.

  • Thoughts on the Bitcoin and Where Things Could Go Next

Prices will keep rising but very steadily. We won’t see episodes like the 2017 market. bitYoga CEO also noted that situations such as COVID-19 and Chinese authorities cracking down on local crypto exchange will hit the crypto market.

In Norway, for instance, Antorweep mentioned that businesses still have to take special permissions to incorporate payment using bitcoins. He thus predicted that the crypto markets would stagnate after a few years while the blockchain industry will continue to grow fast and quickly, finding applications across several industries.

What Will Be The Next Big Thing in Crypto?

The next revolution with the crypto community would be primarily, reward or incentive mechanisms for users within the business enterprise applications that organizations are developing. 

Although these rewards (tokens) have no real-world value as of now, in the future (perhaps within the next five years) there could be mechanisms where people could exchange rewards they have in a particular business application with another.

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