Function X: July Hash Out


In the aftermath of 9/11, we saw an encroachment on civil liberties and privacy in the name of national security and anti-terrorism. Now, nearly 20 years later, the Coronavirus (SARS-Cov-2 Virus) pandemic presents another opportunity for “the authorities” and large corporate personal data collectors to further encroach on individual privacy — particularly personal data — in the name of public health concerns. It is this need for individuals to take back ownership of their own data that was a significant impetus behind our creation of the Function X blockchain.

Taking a step back, a major area of contention at the core of this issue is that of decentralized versus centralized systems of information management and exchange. The issues span from that of monetization and monopolization of data (alongside other socio-economic and antitrust considerations), to that of data sovereignty and the political sphere. There are inherent weaknesses in centralized platforms (a singular point of access that might be accessed by governments and/or bad actors) that may be mitigated by moving to decentralized architectures.

Not all centralized authorities are worthy of trust. It is not uncommon for online operators to abuse their dominant position over a centralized platform in order to promote their own interests, often at the expense of that of their user-base.” — Primavera De Filippi for Universite of Paris & the Berkman Center for Internet and Society at Harvard

We can no longer blindly trust large centralized platforms such as Facebook, Amazon and Twitter to conduct themselves with moral, ethical and privacy considerations in mind.

Data is assessed and monetized in a continual cycle by companies small and large:

Data can be used to produce targeted marketing through aggregation of data and even cross-referenced with other data points, such as location, to produce ultra-specialized advertising (as companies like Airbnb do).

There is a glut of information ripe for large centralized platforms to; aggregate, cross-reference, analyze, utilize, invest in and make returns on and then, adjust their targeting accordingly. This is an enormous amount of power for these companies to possess and the implications are massive. This allows large companies such as Google, Amazon, Uber and Facebook with the largest “market share” of information to monetize and monopolize the world of data to hitherto unheard of levels.

As noted, the implications are not confined to the economic sphere alone. We’re all too aware of the effects in the realm of politics, going so far as to sway elections. This was the case with Cambridge Analytica that fashioned themselves as a “behavioural change agency” by implementing a strategy combining “behavioural psychology, big data and targeted engagement” to influence potential voters.

In a more recent example, we might look to the current privacy implications with regard to the SARS-Cov-2 Virus sweeping across the globe. “Some countries are collecting anonymized data to study the movement of people more generally, while others are providing detailed information about individuals’ movements.”

We know that advertising and tech companies are often working hand-in-glove with governments in order to track the movement of citizens and/or tech-users alike through centralized platforms.

Edward Snowden posited that governments could “Send an order to every fitness tracker that can get something like pulse or heart rate…Five years later the coronavirus is gone, this data’s still available to them — they start looking for new things…They already know what you’re looking at on the internet, they already know where your phone is moving, now they know what your heart rate is. What happens when they start to intermix these and apply artificial intelligence to them?


There are some, such as Brittany Kaiser (formerly of Cambridge Analytica) that have been in the proverbial belly of the beast and see the immense amount of power that centralized data and tech companies now wield. She now champions data protection through her OwnYourData Foundation as well as co-founding DATA (The Digital Asset Trade Association); a non-profit lobbying group that seeks to raise awareness of data rights.

Edward Snowden has also raised continual alarms about the risks we face to this day, most recently with respect to the global pandemic and the powers being implemented by governments.

In the economic, social and political realms; privacy is at risk.

In turn, that begs the question; how do we empower data rights and return control of data back to users?

In short, in decentralization lies the answer. As we outlined in our Concept Paper, what we have developed at Function X is not just a public chain. It is a total decentralized solution. It consists of five core components: the Function X Operating System (OS); Function X distributed ledger (Blockchain); Function X IPFS; FXTP Protocol and Function X Decentralized Docker. All five components serve a single purpose which is to decentralize all services, apps, websites, communications and, most importantly, data.

We’re building Function X to respond to the need to develop an ecosystem upon which to place currencies, decentralized applications (DApps), mobile platforms and underlying this, a decentralized internet. This is the DNA of Function X: seeking to allow users full control of their data by using a completely decentralized ecosystem to pass and receive information without it going to or through a centralized party.

The first block on the new Function X testnet was created on June 8th this year and was open for the public to test on June 11th. We achieved 100,000 transactions in seven days, permitting our developers to further tweak and optimize the system. The Community response from those participating has been great. We remain committed to having the main net up within three to six months. That will open the door for the onward development of the ecosystem, including the rollout of Blok on Blok (aka “BoB”) — the world’s first fully blockchain based smart phone.

All existing major mobile phone software platforms (such as iOS, Android, Windows Phone, Blackberry OS, etc) rely upon a centralized architecture. With this comes the risk inherent in such platforms: loss of data sovereignty, surveillance by state and other actors (both good and bad), censorship and the lack of transparency inherent in the algorithms used to aggregate, analyse and interpret user data (“As a result, users cannot properly understand the way these algorithms ultimately affect them in their daily life”).

Function X’s BoB will be a gamechanger. Although it allows you to toggle between Android and the decentralized Function X OS, it has been developed with the core ethos of ownership of one’s data in mind. This is achieved through the f(x) operating system through which every bit of data sent when in BoB mode will go through a decentralized blockchain. Also, every BoB enabled phone will function as a node within this ecosystem, allowing “BoB owners the opportunity to contribute to the growth and development of the Function X ecosystem, and for that matter the propagation of blockchain technology itself

BoB is just an example of the potential breakthroughs that the Function X ecosystem will provide. The possibilities are limitless, but they all focus on building on a self-sustaining, decentralized system that will enable each of us to regain control of our personal data.

By Benjamin P. Kay and David Ben Kay

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