Inspiration

Civic authorities are constantly working to improve transport for their cities. Their efforts, however, often lack an important piece: access to accurate data about how current transport systems are used. A better understanding of how people commute, share rides, and take public transport today will inform how these systems can be better tomorrow.

What it does

In essence, Argonaut is a marketplace: it helps users part with any personal data that they're willing to share, in return for monetary incentives in the form of Algorand coins (Algos). Authorities can buy data packs - which are anonymised and aggregated clusters of such data submitted by multiple users, for a price, which is then distributed amongst each of the contributors equally. Here's the key: the blockchain keeps a track record of what organisation is requesting and accessing what data, even while maintaining complete anonymity on the part of the sellers.

How I built it

We used React.js to build the frontend, a Node.js/Express powered backend; Python to scrape through personal data dumps accessed via Google Takeout, and the Algorand JavaScript SDK to implement the blockchain-based transaction management system.

Challenges I ran into

The principal challenge we faced was how to implement Blockchain for managing access to personal data. Another important challenge was to do with making sure that the anonymity of users sharing their data is maintained, whilst also keeping any shared data private.

Accomplishments that I'm proud of

This was our first deep dive into Blockchain technology, and we were glad to be able to use Algorand's APIs and Dev Tools to be able to build a platform aimed at enhancing urban decision making, while simultaneously helping people like you and us take back control of their personal data.

What I learned

We learned about the power of the blockchain, and how decentralised ledgers have applications far and beyond the traditional financial markets that we've currently seen them in.

What's next for Argonaut

Argonaut can be scaled up to include the ability for users to connect Google Maps/Uber/Lyft and a lot of other apps directly to the platform so that their periodic data dumps can be seamlessly and automatically streamed into the platform, versus the current requirement of having to upload personal data dumps.

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