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Blockchain & Advertising — New Solutions to Old Problems

I wonder how many online advertisements you have been subjected to since you started browsing the internet? Hundreds of thousands? Millions?

  • Reducing ad fraud by creating an immutable audit trail between brands and consumers
  • Augmenting or replacing digital advertising infrastructure, allowing publishers and advertisers to buy and sell ads directly
  • Exposing or eliminating middlemen who benefit from programmatic ad deals
  • Transforming how attention is valued online (i.e. rewarding brand interactions, allowing surfers greater control over their data and the ability to sell their data to advertisers, empowering consumers to play a more active role in the digital ads ecosystem)

The current MVP in the blockchain-based advertising sector is Basic Attention Token.

BAT is the native token of Brave, an ad-blocking web browser, which anonymously monitors user attention, then rewards publishers accordingly with BATs. Recently Brave has also started trials to reward viewers for watching ads, which will be shown directly in the browser in a private channel to users who consent to see them. When the ad system becomes widely available, users will receive 70% of the gross ad revenue.

Bitclave is also working towards giving consumers full control over their personal data and providing compensation for the advertisements they view.

Bitclave aims to achieve this with a unique approach to consumer engagement, by creating a decentralized search engine with the option to reveal searches and browsing habits to interested parties, who are then able to serve targeted ads. The user gets paid with the Consumer Activity Token for their attention or for providing access to their data. It is certainly an interesting and ambitious model that aims to cut out services like Google Adwords, who make money by selling user information to millions of advertisers around the world.

A key problem which blockchain solutions aim to alleviate is ad fraud.

Bad actors find increasingly clever ways to create fake web traffic, with bot armies driving clicks rather than actual human visitors. Juniper Research estimates that advertisers will lose $19 billion to fraudsters in 2018, or 9 percent of total digital advertising spend.

AdEx is another interesting project taking on traditional advertising networks by creating a distributed marketplace that allows brands to connect directly with publishers without the need for middlemen.

In the AdEx platform, buyers are able to bid for specific advertising slots with the specific CPM/CMC they’d like to pay. Publishers can select the most attractive bids, and the whole ecosystem is set up in a transparent way where advertisers are able to directly engage with publishers.

There is no doubt that blockchain technology has a very valid usecase in the digital advertising sector.

It can work towards solving key problems like fraud, exploitative middlemen, and user attention, while increasing anonymity and trust. The ability to provide accurate, real-time information about the content people consume and the ads they receive without costly, assumptive data-sharing contracts should certainly make digital advertisers sit up and pay attention.

The ad industry is a fascinating space to keep an eye on, as old and highly lucrative practices are on the verge of being disrupted. Blockchain can return power to users and publishers, but also offer some very significant advantages to advertisers.

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Peace ✌️ + Decentralization 🌌

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