How Cannes Lions Led to the Industry’s First Blockchain Bootcamp

By Ken Brook, CEO of MetaX

Landing in Cannes to attend my first Lions event this past June was an exciting experience. We were days away from launching adChain, our open blockchain protocol built specifically for digital advertising.

Lions was one of the first opportunities I had to get out of the office and talk to industry folk about what we’ve been working hard on for the past 2 years. I had a feeling we’d encounter a lot of blank stares when answering the question, “what does your company do,” but was unprepared for the sheer percentage of everyone we talked to who had no idea — let alone heard — the word blockchain.

I would guess that out of 100 people, maybe three were familiar with blockchain development (mainly fintech), or had read about it recently. It should be noted that one of those three was an investor and the other two were senior technical leadership at major ad tech firms.

Now, to be fair, since mid-June, there’s been several industry sources who have published deep dives into blockchain and advertising, so the education has begun, and there’s surely more awareness. Comcast even announced their own blockchain initiative at Cannes. Yet awareness does not equal understanding — We have a very long way to go.

Blockchain is coming and it’s coming quick. It’s not three or five years off. For some companies, like ours, it’s a matter of months. It feels like we are the only ones with binoculars and we’re watching a 100-ft tsunami barreling towards us, and we’ve been building the lifeboat. Blockchain is the rising tide so if you want to be on a yacht at next year’s Cannes, then you better get onboard now.

Blockchain has the potential to re-wire how our businesses are run and how our industry is governed. Powerful stuff. For this reason, I’m asking the industry and its leaders to dedicate the necessary time to learn and understand blockchain and work to figure out how blockchain will benefit their business.

More importantly, understand how blockchain will save the industry. After being in digital advertising for 6 years, I feel we often forget the responsibility that comes along with financing the free internet. It’s easy to be distracted when you’re meeting on boats drinking Rosé all day, but the current state of the industry should be a sobering punch to the face.

At MetaX, we are committed to market education. We KNOW this is a heady topic, which is why we’re holding the first Blockchain Bootcamp for Advertising on September 27th, 2017 in New York.

We’ve designed this half-day event to explain what blockchain is, what it has to do with digital advertising, how it can be applied, and what it means for you — as a brand, advertiser or publisher.

This is a private event. To request an invite, visit:

This is just the start of our plans to bring the industry up to speed. If you’d like to be kept up to date, sign up to stay current at the MetaX site.