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Frequently Asked Questions

Business Model

+ Can you clarify how you make money in a succinct manner?

HATDeX sells HATs, and earns from data exchange I.e. access to the data that's stored by people inside HATs. So a company (maybe a health provider or a bank) can either choose to issue HATs to their customers, and they pay us per HAT for the privilege, or they can choose to issue those HATs to their users for free and pay every time they want to access the data that's inside them.

Succinctly, these are the ways we monetise:

(A) For businesses, we sell HATs “in bulk” for apps/websites to issue to their own customers

_Basic HATs - free_Premium HATs (because it has algorithms built in to generate new data and data signals that businesses want e.g. “30% of location data last week is in green spaces”) - chargeable at £2.99 per month per HAT OR *Basic HATs and buy data/signals only - $2 per API call (each time the data is requested)

(B) For HAT owners, we sell

_Basic HATs for free and subscription to insights and advanced features of the HAT_Premium HATs with built in subscriptions and features (Basic HATs now available and other features rolling out in the next 3 months)

We believe (A) and (B) will reinforce the scale up of the system.

Please note that new data and signals are generated privately and do not leave the HAT unless the owner gives permission. The fees are analogous to a transaction fee when you transfer money. App have no right to take data without your permission much like no one has the right to take money from your bank without permission, but when you do give permission, HATDeX takes a transaction fee.

+ Are you developing other lines of revenue, for example aggregating & anonymising data from HAT owners so that they can sell collective insights for research purposes, perhaps giving those participating consumers a chance to earn a return on their data?

We have a portfolio of income.

Stage 1 income is the old way of helping companies develop new apps (but on the HAT). We charge for MVP road mapping, design and build for new apps and for pilots with large companies. This also help develop the capabilities of software companies by outsourcing some contracts to them and they learn to build on the HAT for their clients as well. There are several open sourced assets we use for this and universities develop even more assets useful for our partners so getting a new MVP/app out can be very quick. HATDeX already have reasonable steady revenues for this.

Stage 2 is charging for HATs which we charge larger clients for HATs in bulk depending on why they want to give their customers HATs (more data, better signals or insights etc). We will be going into revenues in this over the next few months. Partners that can give out more HATs get folded into our acquisition strategy and hatdex partnership programme so basic HATs will be free and we charge premium HATs.

Stage 3 is charging for data exchange. These are API calls on HAT data. Simple HAT data exchange are charged at 0.25p per 1000 API calls. More valuable data generated by the Smart HAT engine is charged higher. (Note, the relationship is still between hat owner and the app. We are just exchange infrastructure cost).

We have several partners doing the service of what you suggest. Using HATs for research, for panel management, surveys etc. We welcome anyone and everyone to build on HATs and we don’t usually compete with our partners and stay at the infrastructure and exchange level. Our partners build all kinds of amazing apps and service and we will also support them through the HAT accelerator, which gives free HATs, and with Amazon AWS. https://www.hataccelerator.org

+ How much does it cost to run a basic HAT with 1gb of storage per month? What happens if I reach my storage limit of data within my HAT? Are the basic HAT's going to stay free forever? If not and I don't like the fees can I run my own HAT on my own infra (using the Millner service?) or do I need to pay a licensing fee? If I start out with a free HAT can I upgrade it to a premium HAT without having to migrate somewhere else? From what I can gather a HAT is a docker container running on ECS that hosts the API Server and has a small amount of EBS persistent encrypted storage. However, I think this is also connected to an RDS Postgres Instance - and I think I end up with a private user DB within this RDS instance. What resides in my container storage vs the DB? If I can take my HAT somewhere else how does my data in RDS get moved with it?

In current deployments on AWS, the average of a HAT is about $1/HAT/month. A few points worth noting on that though:

This does not include savings from reserved resources, around 30% on AWS with 1-year term The cost depends on activity of a microserver - ultimately cloud computing pricing boils down to how much processing time, memory and network traffic is consumed, so a HAT that handles data coming in and out non-stop might be more expensive to run, but that cost should be covered by API calls Storage is not the biggest cost - file storage like in the case of instagram is a few cents /1GB/month, and structured data like the information about instagram posts (e.g. text, tags, locations) is a few bytes per post, so it takes quite a lot of data to fill up 1GB We plan to maintain the current model as people’s HATs grow in size as well, where cost of the most active HATs are covered by API calls or by premium HATs with premium data (created by pre-trained algorithms)

Images do not come in right now, because there isn’t an app use case amongst our partners that need it. The current data is therefore mostly text and string based linked to data from the sources so it doesn’t take much storage. We look at outbound data need, rather than just storing data. As long as it’s easily accessible, there isn’t any reason why it can’t be accessed for a use case/app. The person co-owns it after all. In a world of everyone having a HAT with real time on demand access, there is less a need to duplicate or hoard data unless there is a specific use case for it.

Basic HATs should be free forever but it does depend on the HAT provider - with basic HATs you can add new insights, tools and pay for them (data scientists and firms embedding algo get royalties) or add storage or the HATs could be paid by organisations who give them to individuals free in return for a data contract.

There is no need to migrate for an upgrade. You can also license Milliner and install it on your infrastructure but the HAT Community Foundation becomes involved to ensure interoperability and compliance to minimum baseline security and governance.

And yes, in current AWS-based deployments structure data is stored in RDS database servers (a strictly separate database for each HAT, though one RDS database server hosting multiple databases) and files are stored encrypted on S3. A complete move would involve generating a data archive across the two, encrypted with user’s credentials, followed by uploading of the archive into a new HAT or downloading into a HAT on your PC (in which case it doesn’t get certified by foundation to be interoperable with the commercial ecosystem). We will definitely be enabling portability between HAT providers to give HAT owner choices of whom they want as a HAT provider.

+ Do you have any patents in this area?

Our services are software based and HATDeX run software-as-a-service and platform-as-a-service model. Even the provisioning of HATs in bulk are provisioned through our Milliner Service based on API calls. The core solutions are closed and protected by copyright, whereas patents in software are very hard and costly to protect, and at least in theory software is not patentable in Europe. Our main protection is in building the exchange as a network, making it more beneficial to participate than to replace, as well as in trademarks and protecting the brand.

+ On distribution, you'd primarily be relying on businesses to integrate HAT? What's the incentive for users to own a HAT? Aside from fact that they own their personal data. Your role is effectively a 'gateway' for HAT owners to share their data with businesses?

The incentive is for businesses to want to give their users HATs because the HAT microserver is capable of “edge AI”, where new data can be created inside the microserver, still owned by the individual and then given out to businesses. Companies and new apps can get AI without being an AI company. So, let’s say an app wants to give you a box of food to cook whenever you’re too busy. Asking for all your calendar data is too intrusive. Asking for a data signal which is a function sitting in the microserver that generate “% of how busy I am” and asking their own customers for that data is less intrusive and if done nicely through a good UI where the individual agrees to that data debit, this would make it a better experience and win-win for both!

HATDeX does not see HAT data. We have no access to the data and under the law, we are not the data controller or data processor for data in the HAT. The individual owns the HAT which are isolated databases wrapped with microservices. Data leaves the HAT through APIs, controlled and instructed by the individual. HATDeX facilitates the Exchange, ensuring that the encrypted data goes to the correct app, or HAT and ensures that the exchange is smooth, fast and the correct data is sent. The data, being encrypted, is not seen neither by HATDeX nor the HAT Provider be it a bank, a hospital or an app.

HAT is open sourced so HATDeX is a infrastructure service for the ecosystem. You can build what HATDeX built, but we think there is more value to join the ecosystem rather than replace us!

+ In terms of roadmap, could you share specifically what's ahead for the next 12-18 months and how the funding would support them?

We have secured businesses that want to give HATs to their customers and we want to raise to go into revenues. In the first stage of building apps on the HAT, we have revenues already. In the second stage of giving out HATs, that’s coming in the next few months and the third stage of infrastructure revenue (buzzing API pulls of HAT data exchange) is what we want to get to by September 2019 with 50,000 HATs and giving steady traction and a ‘buzz’ of exchange activity across multiple partners and then raise series A. We have £200k of HATDeX grant money (not university grant money) and with this raise, it should get us there.

+ I wondered if you could share any information on the rationale for the premium HAT fees. While not very high, I suspect they would be a barrier to many people adopting the more powerful HATs. It strikes me that it might be better to offer the full functionality for free and make the money back via transaction fees - this might help you meet the ambitious growth targets. Any thoughts appreciated.

Yes absolutely. We intend for HAT to be a high growth company and we have exciting announcements coming up on this soon as we firm up plans.

Startups and companies that bring more people to HATs get HATs for free and our premium HATs for companies can be based on per HAT drawing on a data signal or API transaction - and there is a substitutability between them for example if the company buy more insights or have more transactions, they can reduce the cost of HATs to zero. This is to ensure we align incentives better and reduce HATs that are dormant.

+ Who ensures the companies asking for my HAT data are being responsible with it? Is there some form of reputation score across the model users can view? Is there some form of approval/vetting process for companies leveraging the ecosystem.

The foundation currently has one letter (later to be expanded) for apps that build on the HAT. It is designed to be simple to understand.https://www.hatcommunity.org/hat-dex-rating. If you have a HAT iOS app, you will see that there is an app there now called Notables. It is rated A.

+ In the model where companies issue and pay for HATs they would want to ensure their AI is used to deliver signals they want to subscribe back to, but how does this work competitively? For example, take insurance companies operating their AI model on your captured car telemetry data to rate you as a good driver. As there is no industry standard AI model that all insurers can trust Direct Line, Aviva, RAC etc. would want to operate their own model on this dataset to get their result - over time wouldn't this become computationally expensive and the infrastructure costs increase rapidly. If I'm running this on my own HAT - who pays for this infrastructure cost before I know it is going to be of value to me? Would the HAT scale well in this scenario too once it has potentially terabytes of data history.

The current economic model is that apps that use new data on the HAT (because of pretrained algos) the data scientist or the company that puts in the algo gets royalties as a percentage of the API revenues.

Insurance companies that put their own algos in can incentivise others to get their HATs but why bother. They would much prefer other HAT owners use their own HATs to take their insurance and let their algos be used by these HAT owners. Enabling a new tool or insight is like enabling a new app on the hat ecosystem “App Store”

+ How do you plan to attract users (unlike YouTube you don't offer cat videos...)?

We think of ourselves as the early days of having an email account. One of our partners (a bank, a health provider or an app) will give a user a HAT because the data inside is valuable and asking their own customers for it directly is the better solution that getting it from a third party. And because a HAT can be used across apps, it becomes commonplace amongst the new apps coming up after awhile.

+ What incentives do you give users to share their data on your platform, other than 'control' or 'better services'? Could you please elaborate on what 'better services' entail? Do you plan to pass on money received from companies back to the data owners, ie. users?

If you consider that HAT is a user account for an app, many people may not even know they have a HAT until their second or third app that they’ve signed into with their HAT. It serves as a universal user account when you are interested in that service. For example, when you sign up to padoq.com service, the user account is a HAT but you go for the service because it’s really good as an app that helps coordinate groups. Same with World Around Me app which is an award winning app. WAM is a partner of HAT and when you save personal places on WAM, it is on your HAT. Later you might find that WAM may ask you for data that Padoq gave you and you can choose whom to give it to. This should all be seamless the way Facebook apps work (I know, not a great example) except the data is yours and not Facebook. You can still go into your HAT app to see what other apps store their data in your HAT but only if you want to, much like the way you can go to Facebook and see what apps use what data.

HATDeX charges apps a transaction fee like the way banks charge one another transaction fees moving money around. We think the small transaction fee is a fraction of what you would actually be getting for your data. And we don’t earn it unless you are willing to share that data.

+ The business idea is spot-on, but I find your communication materials hard to understand. The presentation is confusing, and the language is a bit too technical for people without PhDs (ie most of your future user base). Do you have any communication strategy to the general public?

It is true that the concept of owning our own data is rather complex but we usually have 3 simple messages.

“You have a current account, savings account and now a data account you can use for apps.”

“You have a personal computer, a personal smartphone and now a personal microserver which is a PC in the cloud that you can install your own programmes and private AI”

Tech

+ Can your microserver be hacked?

All devices that are connected to the Internet (including those in the pentagon) can potentially be hacked. The question is the risk and the threat model to build security and protection around.

The HAT microserver is technically a decentralised one-database per person wrapped with containerised microservices with a full data bundling, transformation, exchange and permissions model and capability. If someone hacks into it, they will get your data and ONLY your data. This massively dis-incentivises hacking from a risk perspective, because the hacker would probably go hack something that might be more worthwhile, to get something like 200million email accounts for example. In a way, the analogy is the router to your house. The payoff for hacking into it is probably not much.

The current infrastructure for HAT microservers is in the cloud and we use Amazon AWS as one of the most advanced ones in the industry, however it could be adapted to different cloud providers, and some partners are looking at even having it as a box in the house. The HAT has complete portability between any provider who chooses to adopt the open-source core (including a sufficiently tech-savvy individual choosing to run it themselves) and interoperability of any tools within the ecosystem with such HATs.

Security measures for protecting HAT microserver owner's data can be seen here https://developers.hubofallthings.com/home/tech-stack/milliner.html. This includes:

encryption at rest for file-based and database-based storage SSL traffic encryption for all data in transit tiered network architecture and fire-walling for strict isolation organisational and policy measures

+ What sort of security measures are in place to protect users’ data?

Security measures for protecting HAT microserver owner's data can be seen here https://developers.hubofallthings.com/home/tech-stack/milliner.html.

This includes:

encryption at rest for file-based and database-based storage SSL traffic encryption for all data in transit tiered network architecture and fire-walling for strict isolation organisational and policy measures

+ How about bank accounts? How is that secured if a bank offers HAT?

If a bank offers a HAT, they have to ensure that the HATs are provisioned EITHER within their infrastructure, if they wish to (they can install/license HATDeX Milliner service that will do it) OR they can ensure that the cloud infrastructure HATs are sitting on are compliant to their security practices (ISO etc.), e.g. using Amazon (https://aws.amazon.com/financial-services/banking/). HATs will be provisioned by Healthcare providers over the next few months and that's one of the reasons we are raising for - to harden systems and ensure we are all compliant, security-wise to hold important data for our clients (some of which we will be announcing soon).

+ What is your plans on developing an Android app

First version of android app is in testing on the play store now so it’s coming soon! Try it out here

You can get a web version first at https://hatters.hubofallthings.com if you wish to get a HAT and have a play with it. It won’t have locations of course but we’re working on the app releasing soon!

+ Is there any hardware involved? Or rather, where do these 'microservers' actually sit?

HATDeX HATs deploy Docker Containers on Amazon Web Services (AWS), which wraps up a complete system that contains everything it needs to run: code, runtime, system tools and system libraries. Each Container runs a complete and independent HAT, and the only way to communicate with a HAT is via designated APIs. The Container-based solution also provides an added layer of protection by localising impact of any security issues and eliminating the possibility of system administrators enabling unauthorised access to the data of large numbers of users.

You can also run the open sourced HATs on a PC, a raspberry pi even, but you won’t be able to interoperate with other HATs nor access them real time and on demand unless the security architecture compliant with regulation of HAT Community Foundation.

More details at https://developers.hubofallthings.com/home/why/what_is_hat.html

More of the technical details are here https://developers.hubofallthings.com/home/tech-stack/HAT_core.html

+ Who owns all the IP here?

The HAT core is open sourced and we believe it should always be open sourced so that how HAT microserver handles individual data is always transparent. The HAT academics have plans to make it a standard for first party individual owned data accounts on the Internet. HATDeX built it and maintains the open source baseline code. However, HATDeX built all the infrastructure services around it (sort of like the way to make electricity is free but to make it enter homes and use as power for light etc you need fairly large number of services). Our technology stack can be seen here https://hatdex.org/the-technology

+ How do/could you manage identity and trust in this model. How do I prove I am who I say I am and that the data I share has already been verified (by 3rd parties, a regulator etc.) This would potentially allow me to use my verified HAT as a KYC check for high-value transactions/payments etc.

Identity is an interesting use case and it’s certainly something that some of the partners we are talking to are interested in. HATs hold first party person data but it can easily work with IAMs (identity access management) who want to expand their offering to include HATs in their suite of offerings. You can build some of the identity authentication on or event persona/profile authentication HATs. There are a few models.

One way is to use create a bundle of HAT data within the HAT e.g. account name of Starling bank+geneticmarker from 23andme+other data points from other data plugs and create a bundle within the HAT and generate a signal of ‘verify’ through a simple algorithm. Only namespace authorities have the right to write into their respective microserver namespace e.g. Starling bank namespace is written in through Starling data plug from Starling APIs into the microserver. If you want it changed, you have to go to Starling bank app to change it and therefore be subjected to their rules. By creating a bundle of data points, verified signals can be created e.g. a verified identity, a verified ‘I live on High Street, Shoreditch’ - these signals can be many and varied and algorithms can be pretrained and uploaded into the HAT to generate it without even asking for the data. Here is a blog post on a simple verified action as an example. https://medium.com/hub-of-all-things/verified-action-a-data-signal-from-your-hat-whenever-you-want-to-share-it-c2c563cb26e0 Also, while the internet is a little fixated on identity right now, when we have microservers, we may not always need identity, only to know that you are real and human.

+ How do you reconcile HAT data across users who may end up with multiple HATs?.

The power of HATs is that your data is liberated from its original silos and linked up to create the best bundles, signals and insights so we expect most people prefer to have one HAT. However, one can have multiple personas within a HAT. While the current ID of the HAT is the domain name/URL of your microserver, there is no reason why an identity app could allow multiple personas on their HAT microserver and allow a person to show only the part of their data to whoever they choose. See Leila’s post on this. https://medium.com/@leilatrilby/identity-is-toxic-personas-are-better-7de6d6405539. It’s a microserver so it’s pretty powerful and can potentially give permissions and instructions to numerous apps including password management, persona management etc. etc. So the market can decide on what the need is and build different apps on it. Since microservers are quite powerful devices, they can even stream out music, books etc. for independent artistes or authors (this will add load to it, so would be subject to different terms).

Of course that doesn’t change the fact that a person can have multiple hats. That might be the case at the beginning till the services catch up based on need we believe.

+ I think your model allows a user to have multiple HATs from multiple providers but is there a concept of Parent/Child HATs? Do you have some sort of inheritance hierarchy in mind, the core verified attributes (my name, age, address, phone number etc.) in one HAT and then a 'Domain HAT' for when additional data needs capturing from some partner (say my health data) that is somehow linked to the Core HAT? Each knows how to ask each other automatically for the data that's needed, and these could live on different infrastructure providers depending upon case.

Yes, that is still to be developed. The HAT academics have won £1.2m on the DROPS project that starts in September that exactly deals with this issue of HAT-2-HAT, Parent-child HAT and HAT+dataofthingsownedbyaHAT. https://www.hatcommunity.org/about-drops. Also, don’t forget HATs are infrastructure. You may get a HAT from a school and the HAT Provider could impose its own governance rules around their own HATs (in collaboration with the HAT Community Foundation) e.g. children’s HATs must be linked to parent till age 18 and the permissions model becomes nested within the parents permission model. However, the economic design is closely linked to the tech design. Should it be done at an app level? Or infrastructure level? If it is at HAT microserver level, then it’s always open sourced so there is a role for middle ware services to compete in this space as well and it’s important we don’t over build but also important that if it’s needed by everyone, it will have to add to the open sourced standard.

+ Insight generation (SHE) would done on the relevant HAT but it would potentially need to pull in other data from other domain HAT sources - is this supported?

There are 2 ways to generate insights from HATs.

All private model - embedded algo inside the microserver generate x=30% of location was in green spaces - seen by no one except hat owner. Not private model - data debit (give permission) location data to the app, app generate x=30% of location as in green spaces and a further insight of “you are in the top 5% of urban people who go to green spaces 30% of the time”. Seen by app and hat owner Hybrid model - embedded algo inside the microserver - generate x=30% of location was in green spaces, then data debit x, app aggregate x and give back insight “you are in the top 5% of urban people who go to green spaces 30% of the time”.

Our partner apps can choose which way is best for their apps/services.

+ Your model may have companies paying for and issuing HATs to users under their domain ({hatname}.savy.io, {hatname}.hat.direct etc. etc.) but am I right these could potentially end up being hosted ourselves or some form of a neutral party? If a company that hosts some or all of my HAT data goes bust how do I get it back?

As we have indicated in the other thread, HATDeX HATs deploy Docker Containers on Amazon Web Services (AWS), which wraps up a complete system that contains everything it needs to run: code, runtime, system tools and system libraries. Each Container runs a complete and independent HAT, and the only way to communicate with a HAT is via designated APIs. The deployment and provision of HATs is done by HATDeX milliner Service (https://hatdex.org/the-technology) and companies can license this and host hats themselves or just buy HATs on demand. All HATs are interoperable if provisioned through Milliner so it doesn’t matter which infrastructure. We will also be building the ability to download your entire HAT down into your PC, or move it to another provider. The architecture allows for that but we haven’t built that functionality yet.

+ Who chooses how this fabric ends up and how does this not become too complex for users? How do I know what is connected to what, what has requested what, and allow me to manage this.

You would manage it like the way you manage your Facebook apps that use your Facebook data (not the best example we know).

But there could be new heuristic trust services built in HAT that could make it easier ie “only choose apps that have been endorsed by ...”

+ Did you consider a graph database to represent the data in the HAT?

We did! But we didn’t see how that could be any better than PostgreSQL. The latter have some benefits eg open sourced and have large community and therefore stable. And it’s by default a relational database and could model graphs with relations and have some nosql features as well for flexible JSON storage.

The best place on the latest documentation is at https://developers.hubofallthings.com/guides/

HATDeX provides the HAT microserver technology that embeds within it the rights of the HAT owner, so it is a technological, economic and legal artefact. The individual is the controller of his own data and his own microserver through pieces of code that that execute permissions and instructions. All data leaves the microserver through data debits and HATDeX executes the permissions and instructions by moving data from HAT to app. The entire system is built on the Internet so data moves through SSL encryption like an email. HATDeX has no access to data in the microserver nor the data in transit. It merely executes the instructions and permissions coming from the HAT owner and it is the app that has the relationship with their customers. HATDeX is just the provider of the legal, economic and technological infrastructure.

There is a special class of app that HATDeX provides (and every HAT Provider will provide it as well) and this class of app is the HAT owner services or owner app. This special class of app allows the HAT owner to see, control and manage all the data on the HAT through the app and issue the permissions and instructions. (You can try it out with the HAT iOS app or on the web). While this owner service/app is provided as a HATDeX service, it does not store any of the data outside the HAT except for performance and caching purposes so no data is stored at all by the HAT app and HATDeX does not have access to the data even though it is supplies the HAT app. This app is only for the HAT owner if they bother to get it. Most people may get a HAT through a partner app and probably won’t even bother looking at the HAT till they have 3-4 apps on their HATs because they will get hats from a company they have a relationship with (like bank or hospital).

Tools that are installed within the HAT microserver generates new data but that stays in the HAT. It comes out of the HAT through the standard data debit. Apps that take data from HATs are rated (See rating here). The look and feel of the permission model is very similar to an app on Facebook (not the greatest example, we know). Do try it out yourself.

Invest

+ How is exit planned for investors here?

Our plan for exit is through IPO or equivalent (a partner suggested that if all shareholders have a HAT, one of the services/apps on the HAT microserver could be peer-to-peer trading of the shares in our microserver, perhaps by a progressive forward thinking stock exchange - hence “equivalent”.

+ Your Post Money Valuation is £X Million. What can the valuation expected in 3 years, 5 years?

These numbers are always hard to predict. The open sourced HAT technology that is increasingly being adopted by university research could start becoming the de facto standard infrastructure for first party data ownership. HATDeX built the open source HATs and all the infrastructural level services for HAT microservers and could probably be valued in access of £100m within the first year of traction. We have no basis for these claims though, except perhaps if you look at Docker, another enabling infrastructure that started as an open-sourced technology. HAT infrastructure, for information, is built on docker containers.

Competitors

+ How different are you from the others who are also providing 'personal data management services'?

In the space of individuals controlling their own data, different firms stake different parts of the ecosystem and the data supply chain. Personal data controlled by individuals can be achieved by a product (box in a house), a service (application), a platform that enables multiple services, or an infrastructure.

There are firms operating at the service and platform level that may be considered competitors to HAT. They serve an important role of personal data management service for individuals and collectively, we all work to give individuals more control over their data.

However for us, the important distinction is not just at the service/application/platform level but also at the infrastructure level. The HAT microserver is a piece of enabling technology for various applications, personal data management being just one of them. HATDeX technology suite therefore operate at a service, platform or infrastructure level as a full solutions stack for the different needs of businesses who may want different kinds of relationships with their customers e.g. if banks or large companies want to issue HAT microservers, they would prefer to work at an infrastructure level, issuing microservers with their own brand and with a small “powered by the HAT” at the bottom (like “Intel Inside”). As an example, please see our partner Bear Health Tech here (go to sign up).

Another important technical distinction stem from the rights and the control attached to the data. The HAT has complete portability between any provider who chooses to adopt the open-source core (including a sufficiently tech-savvy individual choosing to run it themselves) and interoperability of any tools within the ecosystem with such HATs. The requirement for HAT to be able to exist completely outside of control of any individual organisation (including but not limited to HATDeX) at both application as well as infrastructure level means that it provides a complete Person-controlled Personal Data (PPD) solution.

HATDeX has disclosed its architecture to HAT owners, as well as to the ICO (https://hatdex.org/volume-1-issue-4-9th-of-june-2017/), which clarifies how HAT microserver data is truly owned, controlled and processed by the individual and as such, the data within is truly Person Controlled personal data, a different asset class from organisation-controlled personal data in terms of reuse and resharing as it naturally resolves legal concerns and is future-proof: personal data is always first-party and therefore is suitable for personalisation for that same individual.

+ Will the giants like Facebook, Google etc fight against your HAT because it denies them the personal data that is so much part of their revenue stream? If so, how will you fight them and survive?

Actually, at the last session, when HAT was with Facebook (see post here), they said they have actually been looking into this space.

The future Internet is not Facebook or Google. They have some but, but not all data. The Internet of Things world of hairdryer apps, TV apps, door apps, heat pump apps etc. is where those small apps hold the most data and they really should be built with HAT microserver as a universal user account with individuals in control. Even Facebook and Google want to be able to give you good services with data you own. HATs complement their services. Facebook and Google dominance is not merely over data, but also your attention. (see article here).

Blockchain

+ Many projects based on DLT are promising full ownership and control of one’s assets (including data). Examples of such include BigchainDB and many other applications being built on Ethereum. Where does your technology stand in a world of blockchain?

Here is a medium post on the difference between the HAT ecosystem and the blockchain ecosystem!

https://medium.com/hub-of-all-things/what-is-the-difference-between-hat-ecosystem-and-and-the-blockchain-ecosystem-5e4b4c8cff76 An excerpt from the post:

"The Blockchain ecosystem tends to deals with the part of the Internet that is transactional, and a large part of the Internet is transactional, especially for its most precious cargo e.g. money, shares, contracts, record of assets. Such precious cargo requires more explicit and formal contracts, and should only be transacted with and through trusted parties e.g. government or bank, for example payments or transfers of shares. The Blockchain system disrupts the most trusted transactions on the Internet by not needing a centralised or a trusted party.

The HAT ecosystem does enable the transactional aspects of data exchanges but it is designed to deal with the other part of the Internet — the part of the Internet that is relational — service-for-service exchanges such as personalised news, ads, products, recommendations; where data matters even when it is not overtly transactional in nature; data that is more ambiguous and perhaps less accurate, but are nonetheless valuable and exchanged for better experiences. Blockchains are useful when immutability of data is important so a passport number that is 23948267 has to be accurate and true and is very different from 23948268 whilst you might not care if you walked 10350 steps or 10351 steps.

The HAT ecosystem deals with all kinds of data, immutable or not. The Internet moves a lot of data around and the value of most of the data is often not known and its worth would vary greatly."

Please check out the full article!

+ The article says “The HAT therefore enables ‘data exchange relationships’ with organisations.” How can HAT win over blockchain in a transactional space?

I think both types of technologies are complementary. You can use blockchain for data that should be immutable and possibly a HAT as the “wallet” (just an example) because blockchain aren’t very useful for high volume lumpy data and you can use HATs for exchanging more bland, lumpy data for personalisation.

+ Again, the article says “Of course the digital person is transactional as well, so we expect there will be blockchain applications running on the HAT ecosystem for data that needs to be more accurate and where formal contracts are necessary.” The article seems to miss something - Blockchain applications can only run on blockchain protocols, which are stand-alone software. How can they run on the HAT ecosystem? Let’s assume that they run, where is the decentralisation in that? Isn’t it more feasible to convert HAT into a blockchain application on a data exchange protocol? Maybe by decentralising the microservers?

HAT microservers are already decentralised, although one has to be careful with the word decentralised because systems are usually multi-layered and the technology may be decentralised but governance may be centralised - much like as human beings we are decentralised in our body but we still have families, government etc. The HAT has complete portability between any provider who chooses to adopt the open-source core (including a sufficiently tech-savvy individual choosing to run it themselves) and interoperability of any tools within the ecosystem with such HATs. The requirement for HAT to be able to exist completely outside of control of any individual organisation (including but not limited to HATDeX) at both application as well as infrastructure level means that it provides a complete first-party data solution. The individual is the "data controller" and "processor" - HAT's data is first party and not third party data so it is always owned and controlled by the person.

+ The article mentions that HAT is very useful with “ads, recommendations etc.” From a user’s perspective, they are still seeing the ads, right? For which they have to transact their data. In such circumstances, blockchain rewards users for every data exchange. Does HAT reward its users in any way?

No, the HAT owner doesn't see ads, unless he decides to give data out to receive ads or personalised offers or recommendation, or even just to generate a bill. Data go out of HATs through "data debits" like the way money leaves a bank account. Many of our startups use HATs as a universal user account and put the personal data of an app into the HAT microserver - and let the user own it, asking for data whenever they need to. The HAT owner benefits by owning and controlling the data of these apps, and can re-use and re-share it with other apps. They can of course also monetise it. The HAT microserver is flexible in usage - sort of like a PC in the cloud.

+ Why is HAT not so well known as Blockchain? How and where will HAT be used in crypto currency?

We just finished building the platform in November and finalising the permission model and the smart hat engine only now. Our partners are only starting to integrate and the first apps begin to roll out in the autumn. So we are still early. Also, we haven’t yet spent on any marketing. We have relied a lot on grant project funding but it is finally time to scale which is why we are raising now.

With regards to crypto currency, the HAT ecosystem makes first party data (individuals own data) a form of currency although its value is highly contextual.

Currency debases a lot of value. Eg. If you give body dimensions data for a discount on clothing, that has a higher value based on recommended clothing, rather than a straight out discount. Hence it’s no longer a fixed goal post (price) and a discount but with data, both goal posts can move, creating better business models. That doesn’t mean crypto hasn’t got a role. Instead you can imagine an application building on crypto and hats doing interesting services because of the interchangeability of data and currency.

We have a HAT Innovation day coming up and some interesting ideas will be discussed there!

On the question of privacy, the purpose of the HAT is not the fight for privacy. HAT is first party data. Data is private already by default because it’s yours and leaves only through your own data debit. The point of HAT is to have better control over how it’s used so that it can be used better and for benefit of society and to get better economic power into individuals control. See articles on this.

https://medium.com/hub-of-all-things/personal-data-as-an-asset-class-2e713deedd10

https://medium.com/hub-of-all-things/the-nation-of-the-internet-1-7b6ae7d53abd

Finally, the HAT Community Foundation has a rating system for apps that take data from HATs. You can see it on the only app on HAT if you look at your HAT app, it tells you what the rating of the app is in terms of where and how data is stored.

https://www.hatcommunity.org/hat-dex-rating

While it is completely up to the hat owner which apps he wishes to give his data to, we hope to improve data exchange by making it transparent and easy to understand.

+ Are you developing a system like the hyperledger blockchain and this also provides the security control features you need but its only a private based blockchain with a single point of failure?

Indeed, we see the future as decentralised, and blockchain technologies are very exciting. Irene Ng, our executive chairman has previously blogged about the differences between the HAT ecosystem and the blockchain ecosystem: https://medium.com/hub-of-all-things/what-is-the-difference-between-hat-ecosystem-and-and-the-blockchain-ecosystem-5e4b4c8cff76

We are actively watching the space, however the key technologies do not appear to be quite "there yet" in terms of their scalability, transaction speed, stability... As you have pointed out, all data is public on blockchain/DAG solutions, and the security model focuses on the fundamentally difficult challenge of preventing unauthorised data changes and double-spend in decentralised systems, but not preventing unauthorised reading of private information. IOTA specifically combines a few "exotic" technologies that add to uncertainty and doubts around it being decentralised with the coordinator nodes currently in place, MIT-reported vulnerability in the protocol even if it has since been fixed.

We have been discussing various solutions with people heavily involved in hyperledger as well as the likes of TODA coin, so we are huge fans of the new decentralised model. The focus for the HAT is however more than a wallet or even a data locker; it can run its own micro-services and therefore allowing us as digital persons to have technological capabilities of our own with built-in software, machine learning algorithms, or even stream our own music that we create if we wish. The HAT is essentially a ‘digital-person-as-a-service’ on the Internet.

We expect there will be blockchain applications running on the HAT ecosystem for data that needs to be more accurate and where formal contracts are necessary. The outcome of a Blockchain system is to dispense with the need for a centralised trusted party whilst the outcome of the HAT ecosystem is to give true economic power to the digital person. We see them coming closer over time, but for now different goals drive different approaches.