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Magic Leap Wants to Use Blockchain Technology to Secure Personal Data

Augmented reality startup Magic Leap is looking to use Blockchain technology to store and secure some of its user data, according to multiple job listings the company published this month. Among the positions Magic Leap is looking to fill is that of a senior Blockchain architect as well as multiple Blockchain engineers.

The senior Blockchain architect will have “overarching responsibility for the planning and execution of a portfolio of blockchain, smart contract, and Ricardian contract technologies,” and be tasked to “help develop an overall blockchain ecosystem engagement strategy,” according to the job posting. A company spokesperson didn’t immediately respond to a request for comment.

Magic Leap is looking to use Blockchain technology for what the job listings refer to as its “Lifestream business function.” Lifestream is the company’s name for its planned repository of user data — something Magic Leap CEO Rony Abovitz described as “all the data that you experience and the data of the world around you” in an interview with UploadVR.

Abovitz elaborated further on that idea during last year’s Leapcon event. “Our system can see what you see, can hear what you hear, it is where you are,” he said. “That Lifestream is an incredibly important and precious data set.”

Without naming Blockchain technology by name, Abovitz at the time already suggested that the company was looking to use novel data storage approaches. “One of our commitments as a company is to provide the tools and security, and really make it a distributed thing,” he said. “The users should really gain as much control as they need and want. It should be a data set that they have, not a data set that is centralized.”

Magic Leap executives have for some time talked about a vision for augmented reality that goes far beyond the capabilities of the company’s current device, which is still primarily made for indoor usage. Eventually, the company wants to enable users to access city-wide AR data layers, and in turn also capture user data at a much more massive scale.

And while Abovitz’s remarks seemed to focus on privacy for individual end users, the job postings suggest that the company is also looking at this as an opportunity to market itself to the enterprise. After all, some of the data captured by AR devices will likely be extremely sensitive and include not only location data, but also detailed floor plans of offices, factories, and maybe even movie sets.

Augmented reality headset makers have primarily focused on enterprise sales as device prices are still largely out of reach for consumers. Magic Leap reportedly tried to sell its headsets to the army, but ultimately lost out to Microsoft and its Hololens headset. Microsoft has focused on enterprise use ever since first introducing the device in 2016, but more recently hinted at plans to ultimately target consumers as well.

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