Ocean Protocol works on an infrastructure to sanction data sharing, consumption, and monetization safely and transparently. The Ocean network is composed of data assets and services. If assets take the form of data sets and computation algorithms, services include computation execution, data validation, and storage.
Ocean Protocol relies on four different parties for network security and data exchange:
Data Providers – Supply Data
Any entity that has data, a data set, or a data stream and wants to monetize it can make it available through Ocean and get paid. When data consumers use data, data providers receive OCEAN tokens in return.
Data Curators – Data Quality Control
Data curators are responsible for identifying good and bad data. Ocean aims to become a decentralized system; therefore, curators with domain expertise can participate and earn tokens by separating the useful data from the bad one. Data curators put several tokens at stake to signal that a particular dataset is of high quality – to avoid manipulation of the system.
Verifiers – Keep Environment Secure
Verifiers are responsible for checking cryptographic proofs, hashes to avoid compromise of data and maintain a secure environment for participants. The Verifier network is also tasked with resolving disputes about the performance of a service.
Keepers – Make Data Available
The nodes in the Ocean network are called keepers. They run the Ocean software and make datasets available to the network and receive tokens for this. Data providers need to use at least one keeper to make data available to the network.
Service Execution Agreements
The Ocean protocol provides a tokenized service layer that offers data, storage, compute, and algorithms to be used in a trustless manner – all this ensured by verifiable service agreements.
At the heart of the data exchange system are decentralized Service Execution Agreements (SEAs) and decentralized access control, which together power the data service supply chain.
Ocean Service Execution Agreements (SEAs) are similar to SLA (Service Level Agreement) in traditional markets. Similar to the way legal SLAs in procurement have Terms and Conditions, Ocean SEAs have conditions that can be embedded as code in a smart contract. These conditions need to be fulfilled by the counterparties in the agreement.
Aside from legal agreements, SEAs are conceived to function in a permissionless environment with layers of cryptographic security (encryption, signatures, hashes, cryptographic proofs & attestations) and automation.
Curation Proofs Market
Ocean uses curation markets to signal how relevant a dataset or service might be. Curation markets leverage the power of the crowd, with people staking on datasets and services they believe are valuable and relevant. Previously mentioned data curators do this, and they make up the Curated Proofs Market.
They are the foundation for an open data marketplace that brings together data providers, data consumers, and service providers, allowing them to safely buy and sell data, as well as perform computations on data sets.
To avoid people gaming the reward system, only stakeholders provably making high-quality data and services available to reap the rewards. Network rewards for a given dataset/service are distributed based on the amount of stake in that dataset/service.