We can probably all agree that what’s been happening so far in 2020 has been unprecedented. From the pandemic, to wildfires, to the tensions around the upcoming presidential elections in the US – our control over the events around us seems to be slipping away, and power imbalances, whether from big corporations or political entities, are on the rise.

But corporate control and political power are also a matter of infrastructure and how the systems around us are designed. In today’s turbulent times, access to accurate data is one of the biggest assets for communities and businesses. This becomes increasingly harder as big corporations silo off the information we all create on a daily basis. With the revolutionary Data Union framework, Streamr seeks to turn the current information asymmetry upside down and democratise the sharing and monetising of data flows for everyone.

This is not to say that Data Unions will change all of our problems over night, but they nevertheless constitute an important building block, a tool that we’re giving to our community to start creating more open, more democratic flows of information.

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Streamr's Shiv Malik discuses Data Unions from 23:20 

Data Unions are an ethical new way to sell user data, through the Streamr peer-to-peer real-time data network. By integrating into the Data Union framework, or building a Data Union app, interested developers can easily bundle and crowdsell the real-time data that their users generate, gain meaningful consent from users and reward them by sharing data sales revenue. By building Data Unions we can create open data ecosystems.

In order to facilitate the building of Data Unions, we are launching the Streamr Data Challenge, a two month long Hackathon, in cooperation with Lumos Labs. During the program we invite more than 200 India-based programmers, designers and entrepreneurs to innovate and create utilising the StreamrData Union framework.

We also invite builders from around the world to apply for grants through the Streamr Data Fund. Currently there are 7,500,000 DATAcoins in the fund . Head to the Streamr developer forum if you want to learn more about seed funding opportunities, or share your ideas and get inspired by other Data Union builders.

Data Unions are more important now than ever. We are very excited to witness recent developments at the European Commission. These developments point to a future in which Europe will make Data Unions the new normal, rather than Google and Facebook’s oligopoly. Through the planned Data Intermediary Certification Scheme, which will most likely be introduced in a light-weight version as early as 2021, Data Unions can become official players within the data economy. This will hopefully also encourage  greater political and societal interest in new approaches to democratising access to data, and a rising demand in transparent data sharing models.

So, what are you waiting for? It’s time to build Data Unions!