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What is Streamr DATAcoin? Beginner’s Guide

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What is Streamr DATAcoin?

Streamr DATAcoin is an off-chain network focused on data monetization and exchange.  As an off-chain component, Streamr’s system will work alongside blockchains–at this point, it’s built on and for Ethereum. It will utilize smart contracts to allow machines and individuals to trade data across its network.

Essentially, the network will facilitate a marketplace that allows anyone to publish or consume data.  The Streamr team believes it will break the data monetization mold big businesses have set with cloud services.

Streamr project

The marketplace could stand to offer a wealth of data for an exponential number of use cases.  Decentralized application developers and users can access datastreams on Streamr’s network for data necessary to run their dApps. For IoT, machines could transmit data to each other from across the world. Or, an individual could simply input workout metrics from their Apple Watch or Fitbit, and researchers could access this information for a health/exercise study.  These are just a handful of the many use cases Streamr could fill.

How Does Streamr DATAcoin work?

Streamr’s ecosystem consists of publishers, consumers, and brokers. All data is submitted as events to the network’s datastreams.

As their name suggests, publishers commit data to the datastream in the form of events.  Some of this data is free to consumers, while other data needs be purchased using DATA (the network’s native ERC20 token).  

Broker nodes are the main architectural feature of the network. They are responsible for handling “tasks such as publishing events, subscribing to streams, handling storage, and communicating with Ethereum nodes,” according to the project’s whitepaper.

Thanks to sharding (or partitioning), every node is not responsible for all the network’s traffic.  Instead, each node is only responsible for its partitioned share of the network traffic, and they are paid in DATA for fetching and transmitting data from publishers to consumers.

To keep broker nodes honest, brokers have to submit checksums of their work for other nodes to peer review.  “If a node reports deviant checksums, none at all, or the checksums are not coherent,” the whitepaper states, “ no reward is obtained and offending nodes become less likely to be assigned responsibility for a partition in the future.”

Smart contracts will oversee most every step of the data transmission process.  They’ll be responsible for holding information in a datastream, maintaining a registry of this stream, assigning work to broker nodes, and licensing data contracts for the purchasing and selling of data.

Streamr Stack

The Streamr stack is a multi-layered technology stack that supports the network’s data pipeline.  As a top-down protocol, it consists of the following five parts:

Streamr Editor 

Streamr’s version of a developer’s kit.  In order to make developing on Streamr more accessible, the Editor will allow for efficient dApp and smart contract creation as well as provide pre-made templates for rudimentary use cases.  The team hopes that the Editor will provide “tools which allow non-experts to set up smart contracts, connect to trusted data sources, make use of secure off-chain modules for data filtering, aggregation, and refinement, deploy decentralized applications, track smart contract execution, and visualise the flow of input data and blockchain events.”

Streamr Engine

The function that drives off-chain data analysis, processing, and refining.  This Engine will be responsible for taking raw data and preparing it for dApp and/or smart contract use.  “Raw data may need to be filtered, downsampled, aggregated, combined with other data, run through anomaly detection algorithms, or processed by advanced machine learning and pattern recognition models,” and the Streamr Engine is responsible for executing these functions.  It will monitor the Streamr Network for events, and with models built using the Streamr Engine, it will process fresh data and respond to events in real time.

Data Market

Exactly as is it sounds.  The Data Market will be the hub for datastreams, a place where anyone can list or purchase data on the network.  This data could be sent from machine to machine for the IoT or from individual to individual, such as a dApp developer purchasing betting odds for a sports betting application.  Some data will be free, but data that isn’t will be purchased with a subscription license built into one of the network’s smart contracts.

Streamr Network

The stack’s data transportation component.  It houses the platform’s events, streams, and broker nodes, and it handles all the network’s messaging and data transmission.

Streamr Network

Streamr Smart Contracts

In essence, smart contracts keep the network’s functions running properly and secure its integrity: “A number of Ethereum smart contracts support the operation of the Streamr Network and the Data Market. The Streamr Network uses smart contracts for incentivization, coordination, permissioning, and integrity checking. The Data Market builds upon features provided by the Network for data licensing and monetization. DATAcoin, an ERC20 token, is used by both layers for incentivization, as a reputation metric, and as the means of payment.”

Team

Streamr’s cofounder and CEO, Henri Pihkala, served as CEO/CTO for two algorithmic trading companies and has 10+ years of experience building tools for real time data processing. 

Nikke Nylund, Streamr’s other cofounder, is a serial entrepreneur who helped to build the following successful companies: “Quartal, with Quartal Flife sold to Investis Ltd (UK), Quartal Financial Solutions acquired by KMU Capital AG, and Quartal Content Management bought by Satama Plc.”

The project’s COO, Risto Karjalainen, holds a Ph.D. in Decision Sciences from University of Pennsylvania’s Wharton School. Before joining Streamr, he served as a quantitative analysis and portfolio manager for JP Morgan and Merrill Lynch.

Roadmap

The team has no concrete milestone dates in place, a choice they’ve made to avoid setting expectations they may not be able to fulfill in time.  However, the roadmap in the whitepaper does divide project milestones into three stages:

  • Milestone 1: Broker network prototype, marketplace prototype. Developing the Streamr Engine to interact with Ethereum. On-chain and off-chain computing with the Streamr Editor
  • Milestone 2: Streamr Network and smart contract support for data monetization and encryption. Working product of the decentralized data marketplace. Decentralizing the Streamr Editor and Engine
  • Milestone 3: Location obfuscation and advanced routing for the Streamr Network. Community building for the marketplace. Product development for the Streamr Engine and Editor

Streamr roadmap

Streamr Trading History

After running up like every other coin last holiday season, Streamr DATAcoin is nearly back to its fresh-out-of-ICO price.  At time of writing, it’s ranked #186 on CoinMarketCap.

Where to Buy Streamr

Currently, DATA’s most popular market (~91%) is on Ethfinex, where you can buy it for USD, BTC, or ETH.  The second largest market (~6%) comes from HitBTC, where you can trade DATA for BTC, ETH, or USDT.

Where to Store Streamr

DATA is an ERC20 token, so any ERC20/Ethereum compatible wallet can hold your tokens for you.  This includes MyEtherWallet, MetaMAsk, Parity, Ledger Nano S, Trezor, and others.

Final Thoughts

Streamr DATAcoin isn’t lacking in ambition.  The project’s technology stack plans to cover developer’s tools, off-chain network functions, data aggregation and refinement, smart contract management, and a data marketplace for consumers and producers both.  What’s more, the project targets peer to peer transactions and machine to machine data transmission for the Internet of Things.

Ultimately, Streamr wants to provide a framework for scalable, secure, and efficient data transfer for decentralized and centralized systems alike.  Built with blockchain in mind, it will work in tandem with blockchain platforms, dApps, and smart contracts to provide reliable, real time data.

So far, the project is partnered with Golem, and the team envisions its network piping data to operators on Golem’s global supercomputer.  This application, as with others, though, is still in its theoretical stages. As blockchain matures and Streamr achieves roadmap milestones, however, we’ll see the project’s role fleshed out, and if it catches on, it could provide an alternative hub for data monetization that competes with current cloud-base, centralized models.

Additional Resources:

Website

Whitepaper

Blog

 

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Getting Started Gold Bars.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Colin is a freelance writer and crypto-enthusiast based in Nashville, TN. When he’s not speculating crypto futures, he’s probably letting his hair down and/or heading to a music festival–because stereotypes exist for a reason.