Data As a New Asset Class – Are You Missing Out?

Time is money. Data is money. These two sayings may be quite similar, but you’ve probably never heard of the second one. And yet, data is an emerging asset class whose popularity increases as you read these lines. In fact, experts predict that the value of data will continue to grow, potentially exceeding the value of some long-established asset classes, such as gold, money, and property.

Data – A New Asset Class That’s Worth Considering

Nowadays, we “live” online just as much as (or even more than) we live in the physical world. Whether we connect with others on social media platforms, visit different websites, read articles, watch videos, or fill in web forms, data on who we are, what we like or dislike, what we purchase, where we are, where we plan to go, and who we know is collected every single second. But have you ever considered the value of all this data that’s being collected?

The fact that most businesses collect and analyse customer data to fine-tune their products, services, and strategies for better results isn’t a secret. But there is another type of data, which could generate new opportunities for societal and economic value creation.

For instance, demographic, employment/unemployment, financial, and even medical data is already being used to conceptualise more efficient and relevant service-delivery models in different areas, which include without being limited to education, healthcare, transportation, environment, and urban planning.

All these are possible because the proliferation of Big Data combined with the computing power of AI allows professionals to gain more useful insights and find new correlations between different data sets. As a result, professionals can identify new patterns, predict future trends, and develop innovations that may not only improve our lives significantly but also address different socio-economic challenges.

In addition to being the fuel that powers AI technologies and digital transformation, Big Data is also the new currency of the digital world. Why is data considered a currency? Put simply, the new digital era’s production and distribution networks exist as a result of data and data analysis processes. Without data, the networks and systems we currently use would most probably disappear in an instant.

Data as an Asset and the Big Players

Oracle, Equifax, Acxiom, Criteo, and Quantcast are some of the companies currently buying and selling large volumes of data. Similar to these data brokers, any company can start capitalising on Big Data. But to be able to monetise data, an organisation must find a way to transform raw data into valuable data products.

Before we dive into details, let’s take a look at the amazing characteristics of data as an asset class. Unlike traditional assets, data cannot be depleted by usage. Nor is it limited to a single owner. Moreover, it can be easily shared, duplicated, and combined to create different data products. That’s some really great news for a company interested in capitalising on this new asset class.

However, it’s important to distinguish among the data assets available on the market nowadays, which are: open-access data, closed-access data, and shared-access data. While these categories dictate who can access and analyse specific data asset classes, in practice, any organisation can allow or restrict access to its data based on the sensitivity of the data it possesses and the purpose for which it is used.

Data Storage, Monetisation, and Trading

In addition to the technologies used to collect, analyse, and transform data, an organisation also needs to opt for the right storage, monetisation, and trading solutions. Let us take a look at the best options available nowadays.


When it comes to storing and trading data assets, decentralised storage solutions, like Filecoin, are definitely the best alternatives out there. That’s because this type of storage ensures the reliability and security of information by duplicating and storing data on different nodes across a network. Additionally, the blockchain technology behind decentralised storage uses an immutable ledger that allows all parties to find any discrepancies. By ensuring that data, once uploaded, remains unaltered and accurate across the network, a decentralised storage solution will enable companies to trade data securely.”


There are two ways a company can monetise data: either by providing data as a service (DaaS) or a product, or by offering insights as a service (IaaS). While DaaS basically means providing access to raw data that users can utilise in whatever way they see fit, data products are usually delivered as standardised databases (e.g. batch files of tabular data sets in an S3 bucket). IaaS, on the other hand, involves allowing third parties to gain insights into your data, which can be manipulated with the help of different analytics solutions and presented in the form of surveys, reports, forecasts, etc. The most comprehensive monetisation solutions enable users to combine DaaS, data products, and IaaS and offer them as package deals.


Ranging from open to category-specific and B2B, there are several marketplaces you can use to buy and sell data. A few examples of data marketplaces are: AWS Data ExchangeDatarade MarketplaceOracle’s BlueKai Data MarketplaceAxon Data MarketplaceEagle Alpha Data Marketplace, and Snowflake Marketplace.

Irrespective of the industry within which your company operates, it will have a chance to capitalise on data assets. Whether you decide to monetise your internal data, which others may find valuable, or build and sell data products, trading data may become easier as more solutions will emerge to facilitate data monetisation at scale.

However, data must be traded in a compliant manner. As data has already been recognised as an asset, a range of rules, frameworks, and norms for optimising, securing, and standardising data transactions are currently being developed around data trading platforms.

Crops, livestock, precious metals, and currencies—these are some of the asset classes that have been underpinning our economies for centuries. The traders who understood the added value of these assets and decided to capitalise on them were the ones who succeeded. Big Data reveals itself as a new asset class underpinning the digital economy. The organisations that understand this and decide to invest in data assets are probably the ones that will thrive in the not-so-distant future.

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