Use Cases and Applications

The Sovereignty of Things

Song Choi

In Part 1 of our Use-Case Showcase on Tokenization, we discussed the incoming multi-trillion dollar opportunity from the tokenization of real world assets. Today, we continue this product journey with an exploration of the potential of tokenization and BUILD.5 in enabling digital sovereignty for nation-states and its citizens. We examine how technologies like AI and web3 will have a substantial impact on regional governance and how decentralization and open source is the key to success to what we refer to as the Sovereignty of Things.

The Evolution of Digital Sovereignty

Digital sovereignty is the idea that nations (and their citizens) have the right to extend their physical borders into the virtual world to govern, control, and protect their digital assets, data, and information. Traditionally, digital sovereignty has been about centralized control, essentially shifting from rules set by private organizations to rules set by national governments and their regulatory bodies. However, in the era of AI, the dynamics of digital sovereignty are evolving due to the increasing autonomy of edge devices and the decision-making capabilities of intelligent machines. This evolution is propelled by the growing interconnectivity of devices and the ubiquity of AI-driven technologies.

The Role of Open Source Development in Digital Sovereignty

Open-source development will play a pivotal role in enabling digital sovereignty by providing nations with transparent, customizable, and locally deployable solutions without the vendor lock of privately owned platforms. This in turn will allow for greater open-source collaboration, where nations can build entire resilient and secure digital ecosystems, which many public sector leaders have been mandated to achieve. In this way, digital sovereignty will give governments the ability to choose how they deploy and manage infrastructure, data, and software. This transforms digital sovereignty into something so much more than data localization and centers it on digital transformation, which is a far more foundational component in addressing the evolving state of technology it is seeking to oversee.

An example of how processes and operations used to control and manage the digital architecture and ecosystem for a “digital-first Europe”, a leading region in the digital sovereignty movement, can be seen in the diagram below from Red Hat.


Tokenization: Incentivizing Ecosystem Collaboration

Tokenization is the representation of assets (both real world and digital) or data as digital tokens on a blockchain. Sovereign things will require a secure and decentralized method of managing and exchanging information. Tokenization will therefore be an integral component of the processes that fuel collaboration and contributions within a decentralized ecosystem. Tokenization and the platforms that enable it, such as BUILD.5 will introduce novel incentive structures, where participants are rewarded with tokens for contributing high-quality data, which fosters collaboration and network participation. Adoption and utilization becomes “baked in” to the design of the ecosystem as devices, users, and stakeholders participate in the data exchange, aligning their interests with the collective goals of the decentralized network. In addition, by integrating tokenized governance models and incentive structures, BUILD.5 further fosters a cooperative and self-sustaining environment between people and machines.

Trusted AI and the Integrity of Autonomous Devices

While current digital sovereignty initiatives seek to create clean lines around the localization of data, new AI systems will become increasingly sophisticated and operate independently, challenging traditional notions of control and governance. Autonomous devices from different providers will interact in public and private systems, in some cases with conflicting mandates. As these systems become more independent and interact with one another to solve problems, their individual mandates will create unforeseen work-arounds that could breach physical borders or predetermined boundaries. This is where novel systems of trust and security will be required to maintain sovereignty and privacy.

Distributed ledgers and platforms like BUILD.5 will serve as a cornerstone in the development of Trusted AI by addressing critical challenges related to transparency, data privacy, and accountability. Every stage of the AI lifecycle will be recorded and time-stamped, creating an immutable, unalterable record of data, its state and any and all modifications written to the ledger. This ensures a greater level of transparency and allows stakeholders to trace the lineage of data used in AI models for greater confidence in the sourcing and provenance of data in use.

Data Fabrics and Confidential Computing: A Secure Tapestry of Connectivity

To realize the interconnected vision of the Sovereignty of Things, data fabrics, which integrate data pipelines and operating environments through intelligent and automated systems, will play a crucial role. BUILD.5 and its ability to integrate dApps and tech providers will securely connect different data fabrics and ensure that devices within its decentralized network can share information efficiently and securely. Specialized data fabrics that leverage confidential computing, will enable even more security, by processing computations on encrypted data within secure enclaves. This ensures that even in decentralized environments, data will remain both confidential and secure.

Tokenization plays a crucial role here as well, providing control over data ownership and access rights. As confidential computing safeguards sensitive information within secure enclaves, and data fabrics ensure encrypted and controlled data flows, tokenization extends these principles to create unique digital tokens that encapsulate data ownership and usage rights. Digital tokens can represent permissions, ensuring that only authorized entities, devices, or processes can access specific data or functionalities. These technologies collectively safeguard the core tenets of the Sovereignty of Things, allowing devices to operate with a heightened level of privacy and security.


No generation before us has lived a life split between the virtual and the physical, where the boundaries of nations have been forced to extend into the cloud and out onto the digital edge. The utility and power of this transformation is breathtaking, as are the potential risks and dangers, as we have been left to discover through trial and error the rules to govern these new virtual territories that house so much of humanity’s problems and promise. Digital sovereignty is a critical movement that will decentralize the decision making and governance of how and where information is stored. However, with the coming wave of automated, self sovereign, intelligent devices, an even more distributed architecture is required to properly channel the relentless tides of change and disruption.

The combination of BUILD.5, tokenization, AI, confidential computing, data fabrics, and DLTs establishes a comprehensive and decentralized security and incentivization framework for this wild new frontier. While daunting, the task of taming this open landscape becomes more possible, more real, through these collaborative technologies, which will allow all of us to collectively govern our futures together. The Trust Era has begun.

For more information about tokenization, digital twins, or our NFT and other product APIs contact us at [email protected].

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