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Blockchain. The nascent technology that is championed as a “game-changer”  in industries ranging from pharmaceuticals to agriculture, shipping, retail, banking, insurance and beyond. Everybody is talking about blockchain. Some people dismiss blockchain and distributed ledger technologies as a fad or bubble, some hail it as the harbinger of a bright and prosperous future and some… well some people aren’t really sure what it is.

What is Blockchain? Explain it like I’m 5!

Blockchain is described by Wikipedia as “an open, distributed ledger that can record transactions between two parties efficiently and in a verifiable and permanent way” which is a succinct, albeit slightly vague, description.

Blockchain is essentially a big ‘spreadsheet’ that contains records of transactions between people. Nobody owns or controls the spreadsheet as it is Decentralised, which means that duplicates of the information in the spreadsheet exists across many different computers and devices. Every new transaction that is recorded on a blockchain is copied to each of the different devices, which are connected to each other to form a peer-2-peer network.

When new information is added to the spreadsheet it is packed into a block, all of which link together to form the chain. Each block is encoded and given a hash (a unique identifying number) as well containing the hash of the block that came before it, ensuring the blocks are always in the right order.

This decentralisation makes blockchain very secure. Hackers cannot target a single device or database in order to change or steal the information. The use of cryptographic hashes adds further security as nobody can change the data in the chain or add data in the middle of the chain, as the new information added to the chain would have a new hash and everybody else in the network would see that the hashes no longer match up correctly.

For a more in-depth explanation see the video below.

How can Blockchain Technology be applied to advertising?

The use of blockchain technology in the digital advertising supply chain opens up a wide range of possibilities including:

Data Transparency

When advertisers use the AdsDax platform, the data form their campaign is stored not only on AdsDax but is also verified and stored on an immutable ledger. This data can be monitored in real-time and gives everybody involved (advertisers, participants, tech providers) an exact timeline of when events happened and the value transfer between participants for those events.

The Removal of Middlemen

The ad industry is rampant with middle-men who clog up the landscape by reselling ads from other providers and taking a margin of the profits. Through blockchain the ad industry could create a transparent supply chain that shows exactly who is providing the value and thus minimise the number of participants between advertisers and content owners, increasing margins and creating a stronger pipeline for ad delivery.

Unique Reward Mechanisms

The use of blockchain would allow advertisers to on-ramp into the world of cryptocurrencies. Not only could this simplify administrative functions in the ad ecosystem, potentially enabling real-time payments between advertisers, publishers and tech providers, it also opens up the possibility of paying consumers for the adverts they see. Blockchain Technology would enable consumers to earn cryptocurrency for each and every advert they see which could then be redeemed for products or even converted into their native currency. This would be a step change in the ad industry which could see consumers turning away from ad blockers in order to view more ads and earn money while browsing the web.

The AdsDax Vision for blockchain based advertising

AdsDax has long recognised the need for an alternative use of technology to facilitate a more open, unified and transparent ecosystem that is fair to all participants.

Distributed and decentralised technologies, combined with incentive-centered token economics and the rapid adoption of smartphones and high-bandwidth internet, has created opportunities to reinvent the digital advertising industry with a simple, transparent business model that respects and rewards the consumer.  Our solution is to create a decentralised, hyper-efficient advertising ecosystem which enables co-creation and provides tools for participants and communities to take back control of advertising.

It is widely accepted that advertising needs to adapt in order to face the challenges posed by ad blocking and a growing monopoly. Blockchain, with its core focus on transparency and the immutable nature of the data stored within, clearly presents an opportunity for advertising to grow and evolve.