Blockchain and Mindfulness: How can we use blockchain to deepen the humanity in marketing?
By Claire Stachniewski
The world of blockchain is clearly about more than finance. With its transformative powers, the technology could arguably provide an alternative way for society to function. This is an appealing thought for a society — and especially younger generations — growing fatigued with big corps, big banks and big tech giants.
The trust in the global economy has been broken. However, there are much broader societal issues at stake. Many view blockchain technology as a way to eliminate governmental control in monetary policy. As stated in the report by the UK government chief scientific advisers Hancock and Veizy, ‘Algorithms that enable the creation of distributed ledgers are powerful, disruptive innovations that could transform the delivery of public and private services and enhance productivity through a wide range of applications.’ Whilst this increases the social possibilities of blockchain and sense of decentralization and egalitarian systems, it is also important to remember that blockchain is coded by humans and therefore needs to have fair, ethical and precise coding in place. In theory, blockchain could provide an information infrastructure that is self sufficient, thereby being decentralized, meaning no one has absolute power and no one can distort records.
The long-term potential is huge — if somewhat transient to grasp. In the short-term, however, there are already a number of more tangible utilities starting to emerge — the marketing sector is one such example.
Marketing on the blockchain
For an industry worth $237 billion worldwide, digital advertising is not without its limitations. Brands and advertisers currently compete against each other for consumers’ increasingly-limited attention using over-saturated and centralized advertising mediums. Last year over $40 billion was paid to Facebook, primarily through advertising revenue. The value of Facebook in the market today is over $450 billion. Customers have grown wise to this value in the recent privacy scandals with platforms such as Facebook. This has caused many concerned users to delete their Facebook profiles and put in place browser extensions such as Ad Blocker, Incognito mode on Google Chrome and Fluff Buster to clear Ads from their feeds. It is clear that something needs to change in the way platforms are engaging with privacy issues and selling content. The only way to move forwards is to give the marketing power to the people.
Blockchain can do this by giving people greater control and ownership over their own content. When that content has marketing value for brands and advertisers, the technology also provides a way for the people creating the content, the brands and the publishing platforms distributing the content, to all receive a fair share of revenue for the value they deliver. The content creator can be clearer in their intentions and also who they want their audience to be. This, in turn, incentivizes brands to reward customers for their content, the more people you can get to look at your information, the greater the allocation of cryptocurrency you’ll receive and that’s convertible into money. Tomorrow’s customers won’t be reached via high profile celebrity influencers or professional affiliate marketers. The honest, authentic content people share with one another has more relevance, reach and resonance with their peers than unsolicited ads on social media ever could.
Far beyond marketing
Creating a fairer form of marketing is just one compelling use case for a technology viewed by many as the most exciting thing to happen to technology since the creation of the internet. A Newsnight interview with Paxman and David Bowie from the 90’s reveals Bowie’s thoughts on the pros and cons of the internet, ‘I don’t think we’ve even seen the tip of the iceberg. I think the potential of what the Internet is going to do to society both good and bad is unimaginable. I think we’re on the cusp of something exhilarating and terrifying.’
Blockchain technology can be viewed in a similar light. The future of new groundbreaking technologies like blockchain have the power to redefine the relationships in the private sector and the relationships between the citizen and the government, in terms of data sharing, transparency and trust. This is both exciting and dangerous. Whilst building transparency between broken ties in governmental and private sectors can only be a good thing there are still luminous associations with ‘dark-web’ trading sites, such as the now debunked Silk Road. Another issue is the security of blockchain technologies and bank robberies and break-ins have taken on a new form. ‘The money is now in their digital equivalents and these are proving vulnerable to the hackers and crackers of the codes of the digital world.’ It is clear therefore, that a lot of security measures need to be put into place in the world of blockchain. That said, ledger systems are a lot more resilient to attack than current methods of monetary communications.
In short, blockchain has the power to be so much more than currencies and finance. If we look beyond the mere surface of what the technology provides, we can infer that blockchain technologies can fight corruption, bring trust to communities which need fairer systems more than ever, and even revolutionize the humanity in marketing. The future is blockchain, and its main opportunity can be seen in the potential recovery of ‘sound money’, a complete upheaval of the current fiat system. This could change the way people relate to one another, the role of government, how people envision the future and how we plan and more importantly contribute to society.