What is Ocean Protocol?

Feb 17, 2021 | Community Guides

Ocean Protocol is a data marketplace built on the blockchain. Sounds pretty vague, doesn’t it? If you dig a little deeper, you will uncover a cryptocurrency giant with so much potential it is hard to comprehend.

Big data, AI and machine learning aren’t exactly the easiest things to understand to the average person, me very much included in this category. But, I will try to break down Ocean Protocol and its interactions with these three areas, which could mean major breakthroughs in technology, medicine and countless other industries… if used correctly.

Whoever coined the term big data was a glass is half empty kinda person. The size of the data sets that ‘big data’ refers too are absolutely huge. But, the weird part is it’s not being used.

Although it is from 2012 and a lot has happened since then, The Guardian published an article showing that only around 0.5% of all data is actually analysed. The answer to global problems could be staring us right in the face and we don’t even realise because we don’t have the platforms and tools to properly utilise it.

The same study showed that only 50% of data is “protected”… I think that term is used lightly.

Data is just information. It is in many different forms and all the worlds biggest companies are consistently pivoting their business plans to make sure they are the biggest data whales eating all the data krills that its consumers are putting out.

You may remember how the recent Cambridge Analytica/Facebook scandal was all over the news after it was uncovered? This is the dark side of how big data can be used with huge consequences.

Unknowingly, over 87 million Facebook users, answered seemingly harmless questions on a Facebook app called “This is your digital life”. The questions then created a digital profile of the participant… why anyone would waste their time doing this is beyond me, but 87 million people just couldn’t help themselves.

Under the hood though that profile data was collected by Facebook and then analysed by… you guessed it Cambridge Analytica. The users did not consent for this data to be used and what it was used for certainly wasn’t ran by them…

This data collected on peoples personal preferences were then used to specifically target and influence their political opinions. Cambridge Analytica played a huge role in the rise of Trumpism and consequently gave him the edge to secure him the election in 2016.

People selecting their unconscious personal preferences at scale allowed a data mining and analytics company to influence the US election. This is the power of big data.

It isn’t all doom and gloom though. Millions of biopsies are taken every year in medicine to help pathologists diagnose rogue cells and tissue type that could indicate or signal diseases such as cancers. This is what I should be doing in my day job instead of researching magic internet money, but here we are.

These biopsies are data types too and there are currently lots of artificial intelligence/machine learning platforms being developed to help scan these biopsies and to learn to detect and diagnose cancers more accurately and earlier than the human eye.

This is only scratching the surface of the capabilities of AI, big data and machine/deep learning. Without reducing it and insulting the people in the industry, the algorithms are programmed to learn and once they know what they are looking for, the more data you feed the system, the more powerful and accurate it becomes.

An excellent example of the exponential power of AI and machine learning, when supplied with the right amount of data, is AlphaGo. AlphaGo is an AI that plays the board game Go. DeepMind technologies originally developed this technology but Google later acquired DeepMind… Obviously.

AlphaGo analysed players playing ‘Go’ and learnt the game and went on to be able to beat Fan Hui one of the worlds best 5-0. But, there was one challenge the Go community thought AlphaGo would not overcome. This was a guy called Lee Sedol, a ranked 9-dan and considered the best in the world, an order of magnitude better than Fan Hui. AlphaGo beat Lee Sedol 4-1…

The real fascinating thing is this first version was succeeded by AlphaGo Zero. This is when things get really crazy. Armed with just the knowledge of the game, AlphaGo Zero would then verse itself to develop its skills. After 3 days of machine learning and AI, AlphaGo Zero was at the level of Lee Sedol.

Strap in… AlphaGo Zero after 40 days of playing itself then passes a point of no return. The team decide to play the original AlphaGo against its new version. The outcome… AlphaGo Zero beats its predecessor 100-0. *HEAD EXPLODES*

So now you know how data, AI and machine learning can be used for bad, good and seemingly irrelevant, yet albeit amazing things.

How does Ocean Protocol come in?

Data is the oil of the internet… you can use that one. It’s currently a complete monopoly. The worlds biggest companies Google, Facebook, Apple etc. are all data-hungry and that’s because they know the power of it.

People tune in to Youtube (another Google-owned company) and watch it collectively for over 1 billion hours every day! We did the math for you, it’s 114,808 years worth of video. Every. Single. Day. Makes you think what people could get done if they didn’t procrastinate, we would be on mars by now.

So from that data, you can see how easy it would before YouTube to figure out macrotrends and analyse those trends and possibly target advertisements accordingly? Simple when its explained isn’t it? More data, more specificity, more revenue from people paying to advertise on the best platforms.

Like a lot of things, the blockchain can help protect, redistribute monetise this data. This creates a marketplace for those who want access, all the while keeping the original source of the information secured.

Companies and people collecting data can offer up this information using Ocean Protocol. Ocean understands the most valuable data is private data, although private data is private, for a reason.

Using the blockchain this private data can be monetised and snippets can be made available for buyers to analyse and determine if the full data set would be useful for their use of it.

In the current world when a product is ‘free’, that’s because you are the product.

In the world ocean wants to create, you are your own product.

Providing a marketplace where data holders and curators can offer up their information safely and securely. This data can then be utilised by AI, machine learning and big data mining companies to do with as they please, hopefully, to develop some life-changing technology to progress the future for mankind.

What data can be sold?

There are a few ways that a seller/curator may sell their* data on Ocean.

  1. Personal data, it may be health data, download history, internet history… can’t see that market taking off… Maybe things like spending history or even location. I apologies for the bad examples but it is just to make a point.

  2. * You could act as a middleman and seek to connect businesses with a lot of idle information just sat there collecting digital dust. The privacy and security concerns of using other’s data are covered below, but this could open up a whole new industry.

  3. Adapting publicly accessible data and making it more AI friendly.

So how can other’s data be used?

Well for one, you need their permission to do so. But, if there are GDPR or other privacy/sensitivity issues surrounding the information, Ocean offers a Compute to Data agreement.

This effectively means the data stays on the blockchain (marketplace), whilst being able to be analysed by AI and machine learning to allow them to evolve and better understand the data it is evaluating.

The artificial intelligence is allowed to enter the data set to run its algorithm and extract valuable information to train the model.

The data stays put and the people/company running the AI will not see or know what the data is. They can sample the data by sending the AI, into a mall subset of the information to preview its potential.

It’s like sending your son or daughter to school, you don’t typically see what they are learning but you know they come away smarter for the experience. Or they should…

This removes any issues regarding data breaches, loss of data, third-party sharing or anything else you can think of. In short, the data stays put, but it can still be used by the AI.

Huge data sets don’t need to leave the premises, which is another plus as these files are gigantic.

So what is the OCEAN token for?

OCEAN is a utility token that is used on the Ocean protocol. It is used in several ways to secure, maintain and create revenue for all people who interact with the protocol.

  1. Ocean holders can stake their ocean to a particular data listing. This provides liquidity for buyers and sellers to be able to transact with regards to this specific data listing.

For example, road data that can be used to train AI in self-driving cars may be collected by an ocean curator/seller and this may be paid for by different driverless car companies to help train their vehicles to not run people over…

Someone also lists the most popular names 2021, something tells me that people are more likely to provide their OCEAN tokens to the road data as opposed to the baby names dataset. This improves the security of higher value data sets and improves the liquidity between the seller of the data and the buyer.

This staking mechanism incentivises more valuable/useful data sets as the more transactions of the data occur, the more transactions fees get paid to those staking their OCEAN in that particular data set. The more people that buy the data, the more the people securing it gets paid in transactions fees for doing so. Its a meritocracy.

Also Staking tokens in this way reduces supply. So the more data sets that are listed, the more OCEAN is staked and the less circulating supply meaning a greater demand and price point.

2. Governance.

Through the Ocean decentralised autonomous organisation (OceanDAO), holder of OCEAN will be able to vote on the direction of Ocean and also vote on which community projects Ocean will fund. OCEAN holders are incentivised to vote on the best Ocean-orientated community projects, that will progress and add value to Ocean and increase the value of the OCEAN token, which is great…

3. Basic buying and selling

You may have gathered by now that the whole buying and selling process on Ocean’s data market place is done using OCEAN itself. This further utilises the OCEAN token driving even greater demand as the platform/marketplace increases. You can even (if you want to that is) set up your own Ocean powered data marketplace! Lots of smaller independent marketplaces all using the OCEAN token. Powerful stuff indeed.

So there is a lot of utility for the OCEAN token and as more people use the platform the more valuable the token becomes. The team use a typical method to generate long-term growth and stability of the full protocol. The easiest way I can describe it is a tax.

The very small portion of transaction fee from all the buying and selling of data on Ocean is taken and stored (this is the tax). But unlike your lovely council and government, the holders of Ocean then get to vote on how the ‘taxed’ ocean is spent.

This is how Ocean community projects are funded. This creates a snowball effect as the projects generate a better platform and onboard more users, leading to more transaction fees and subsequent ‘tax’ which fuels more community projects. If only all governance worked like this.

In short, the bigger the platform gets the more valuable your tokens will be worth.


Ocean Protocol currently sits at a market cap of $414 million, although that being said, only around 30% of their maximum supply has been released. What we know from basis tokenomics is that if the supply is increasing then the demand is also decreasing and consequently the price is lower. But, don’t go selling your Ocean yet.

5% of all of those tokens that I call the ‘tax’ is burned creating less supply the more transactions happen. This is deflation. Certain funding periods where usually community projects would be funded by the remaining 95% of the ‘tax’ will simply be burned. Reduce the supply increase the price. Sounds great to me.

So to summaries, Ocean could potentially be tapping into a multi-trillion dollar industry. The possibilities for this are endless. But, they must see user growth and adoption for the project and token to continue to increase in value. If their user growth and consequently market cap can outgrow their slowly released supply (51% after the team and pre-investor allocations) then Ocean is on to a winner.

This is not financial advice but I will not be selling my supply of Ocean anytime soon. It might take a while to get going and have a few blips on the way but the upside potential for this is hard to compare to any other project in the space.

You can currently buy Ocean on Binance through this link if you don’t already have an account.

Twitter accounts to follow:

@brucepon – owner

@trentMc0 – Founder

@the_ocean_navy – Ocean community group

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