Unless you’ve been living under a rock for the past few years, then I am sure you are well aware of what crypto currency is and the many problems that blockchain enthusiasts swear it can/will solve. At the same time though, I am sure that you have also heard of countless horror stories involving Crypto-adjacent ponzi schemes, exploitative get-rich-quick tactics, and stolen funds.
Given all of the chaos that has surrounded the crypto space over the past 12 months with fiascos like Elon Musk pumping and dumping DogeCoin, the NFT Beeple bubble, and the multi-billion dollar collapse of Do Kwon’s, TerraLuna, even I (a blockchain evangelist) cannot deny that the vast majority of crypto projects are a scam.
However, these bogus projects should not (and can not) overshadow just how revolutionary this technology is… nor should it scare people off from embracing it in the same way they have welcomed (with open arms) other groundbreaking tech like electricity, the internet, and smartphones.
The amount of real world applications that blockchain technology has to offer is utterly mind blowing. I am 100% confident that the majority of the world’s digital infrastructure will incorporate blockchain tech in some way, shape, or form within the next 10 years. We do not need to wait until then to start benefiting from its many use cases though. Here are three ways that I would like to see the Market Research industry incorporate blockchain and crypto currency to their processes today:
1. Smart Contract Incentive Payments
One of the most time consuming and menial tasks in the market research industry is the processing of incentives and the seemingly endless number of participants who need help locating their money. Luckily, smart contracts can remedy all of this.
By using a smart contract platform, like Etherum or Solana, in tandem with an oracle network, like Chainlink, completion rate monitoring can be fully automated and a trigger can be set up, so that as soon as a participant completes their required activity (be it an online IDI, a Recollective activity, or an in-person focus group), their incentive can be disbursed immediately to the participant’s digital wallet.
Not only will this save a tremendous amount of administrative headache and hassle, but this will also allow for participants to easily track their payment via the blockchain’s digital ledger. Perhaps best of all though, this makes third party incentive managers and their 3% processing fees obsolete, not to mention the fact that this eliminates the need to worry about exchange rates between countries (because crypto currency is borderless).
2. Digital IDs for Instant ID Verification
Through Blockchain technology, users can create a digital identity that is fully encrypted and completely private. Be it a social security number or your blood type, this digital ID can store any and all information you would like it to… all in one place and in a way that is fully secured. But how does this benefit market researchers? Well, if you’ve ever asked a potential participant to verify some information with you (be it their age, their gender, their address, etc.) then I am sure you are well aware of just how difficult this can be.
Many potential participants view these ID verification requests as an assault on their privacy and safety…but blockchain technology can turn this problem into a thing of the past through zero-knowledge proofs (ZKPs). ZKPs allow for data to be verified but not shared so that we can rest assured that they fit our recruitment criteria and they can sleep soundly knowing that their data has not been breached and cannot be publicly shared.
3. Protected and Secure PII
One of the trickiest hoops market research companies need to jump through is ensuring that all of the data they collect is stored safely and correctly. It is absolutely imperative that this data can be accessed easily (for reporting purposes) but it is also equally important that said data cannot be compromised/leaked to the world at large.
As a result, many research companies have had to implement rigorous data security processes that are not only costly but also time consuming.. Storing data on a blockchain, however, is simple and extremely affordable. Not to mention the fact that it is the most secure way to store data in that it is the closest thing we have to impenetrable storage. As companies start to embrace blockchains, PII concerns will be a thing of the past.
It’s important to call out though that these are just three of the many ways that blockchain technology can modernize our industry. The opportunity is endless and if you look around you’ll see that the industry is desperate for change. So, buckle up… because this ship is about to set sail!