Uber is a staple of the gig economy, for better or worse, and a disrupter that once sent shockwaves throughout the mobility space. Now, however, Uber is being taken for a ride. The company is handling a wide-reaching cyber security breach. According to the ride-sharing giant, the attacker has not been able to access sensitive user data, or at least there is no evidence to suggest otherwise. Whether or not sensitive user data was exposed, this case points to a persistent problem with current applications. Can we continue to sacrifice our data, and therefore our privacy and security, for convenience?

Web2, the land of hackable honeypots

Uber’s record on data breaches isn’t exactly spotless. In July alone, the ride-hailing giant acknowledged covering up a massive 2016 breach that leaked the personal data of 57 million customers. In this sense, the timing of the new incident could not have been worse, and given how long it takes to establish the damage caused by such violations, the full scale of the event has yet to be revealed.

Uber’s data breach is nothing out of the ordinary: Web2 apps are ubiquitous and creeping deeper into our lives, and many of them, from Facebook to DoorDash, have also been breached. The more Web2 applications proliferate in the consumer space and beyond, the more often we will have these types of incidents in the long run.

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The problem boils down to the very architecture of applications built on Web2. Through their centralized technology stacks, they naturally create traps containing sensitive user data, from payment details to consumer behavior. As users funnel more and more data through various consumer apps, hackers have more and more traps to chase.

The only true solution to the problem is also the most radical: consumer applications must adopt Web3, restructure their data and payment architectures to give users more security and privacy, and welcome this new Internet age.

What would an Uber Web3 look like?

Web3 does not necessarily mean a change in the interfaces of the applications with which we interact. In fact, it could be argued that continuity and similarity are keys to adoption. An Uber Web3 would look and feel pretty much the same on the surface. It would have the same general purpose and function as existing Web2 shared transport applications. Below deck, however, it would be a very different beast. All the benefits of Web3, such as decentralized governance, data sovereignty, and inclusive monetization models (systems that distribute profits democratically), are designed under the surface.

Web3 is all about verifiable property. It is the first time that people can own verifiable assets, whether digital or physical, via the Web. This relates to ownership of value in the form of cryptocurrencies, but in the case of Web3 ridesharing, it also relates to retaining ownership of your data and ownership of the applications, underlying networks, and vehicles themselves.

In practical terms, an Uber Web3 will allow users to control how much data they give, to whom, and when. Web3 Uber would abandon centralized databases in favor of peer-to-peer networks. Self-sovereign identities, decentralized digital IDs that you own and control, would allow both people and machines to have decentralized digital passports that do not depend on any central authority for their proper functioning.

Drivers and passengers could verify themselves on the Web3 rideshare application with their SSI in a fully peer-to-peer manner. They could also choose what data they would like to share or sell and to whom, exercising full ownership over their personal information and digital footprint.

Decentralized governance will bring about another monumental change. It will mean that all stakeholders, be they drivers, passengers, app developers and investors alike, will have the ability to co-own, co-govern and co-win at all levels, from the infrastructure that powers the decentralized application (DApp) to the complexities of the DApp itself. It would be a user transport application, for users.

Imagine for a moment that the fares charged by Uber were voted on by drivers and passengers, not dictated by a boardroom in Silicon Valley. Ask the next Uber driver what they think of that. Users, meanwhile, will be able to vote on things like sudden price increases in times of trash can disasters. For drivers around the world, Web3’s private transportation service will mean getting paid fairly without a corporate middleman taking a cut.

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Web3 also enables a new kind of sharing economy, where anyone, anywhere can own the vehicles used by transportation apps or any other type of vehicle-centric app through machine non-fungible tokens (NFTs). , tokens that represent ownership over groups of real-world vehicles. It will be possible for the communities in which these vehicles operate to have ownership rights over those same vehicles, giving them the ability to vote on how they are used and giving them a stream of revenue. The more goods and services these increasingly intelligent machines provide to the community, the more the community earns. Web3 is turning the status quo on its head.

A shift to Web3 in consumer applications will address the root cause of persistent breaches, removing the very need for centralized data traps without necessarily complicating things for users. Although this is a huge paradigm shift in and of itself, data sovereignty is only one of the advantages that Web3 Uber would have over Web2 Uber.

In the future, blockchain will become as invisible as the inner workings of Google Pay, fully accessible to those who wish to see it. It will be something that users will unknowingly interact with when ordering a pizza or requesting a ride, but absolutely essential for a more just and democratic society in the digital age.

Max Thake is co-founder of peaq, a blockchain network that powers the economy of things in Polkadot.

This article is for general informational purposes and is not intended to be and should not be taken as investment or legal advice. The views, thoughts, and opinions expressed here are those of the author alone and do not necessarily reflect or represent the views and opinions of Cointelegraph.



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