Blockchain is a distributed database that is used to maintain a continuously growing list of records, called blocks. Each block contains a timestamp and a link to a previous block. By design, blockchains are inherently resistant to modification of the data. Once recorded, the data in any given block cannot be altered retroactively without the alteration of all subsequent blocks and the collusion of the network. Got that?
In a world where digital creation meant digital corruption (think Napster, stolen films etc). But with blockchain a new paradigm exists where ownership of digital material can be transferred without making a copy. "Without blockchain technology, Bitcoins could be counterfeited as easily as copying computer code. The critical breakthrough of blockchain technology is the use of a consensus mechanism, across multiple entities, to create an immutable, distributed ledger -- a transcript where rules can be transferred, but never altered. This is how Bitcoin allows strangers to transfer electronic cash without middlemen."
Can blockchain address the wild west supply chain in ad tech? Many think yes. Adtech company MetaX launched “adchain,” a use of the blockchain ledger to essentially tag a piece of creative and then follow it on the internet to figure out whether it was seen, who saw it, where it actually ran, conversion rates and how budget was spent along the chain. (it was the emergence of ethereum, an open software program based on blockchain that lets you use the technology for things beyond bitcoin that made this particular use case possible)
Blockchain, best known so far in the financial space as the technology underpinning bitcoin, is essentially a massive, shared Excel sheet that can have many uses. These range from figuring out whether tuna is sustainably fished to whether the handbag you bought is counterfeit. But in advertising, the theory is turning into practice thanks to a host of different companies all using it to track ad impressions in digital media.
The key is that blockchain, and adchain, theoretically lets multiple parts of the industry work together with no dependency on one party’s data.. Right now, adchain will embed a tracker in the xml of a creative asset — and in real time, show you who is watching it or if viewability standards aren’t being met.
Here’s what that theoretically looks like in the adchain if it’s about figuring out if an impression was real: A buyer buys an impression, which is encrypted in a block, and then broadcasted to every single participant on the chain. The impression is verified by the publisher, then added to the ledger. Everyone in the blockchain gets to see the impression event and approve it.
Another use: potential use of blockchain is on ad-delivery verification. Important especially today where the drum beat is "trust but verify" and blockchain likely will be more efficient solution vs third party audit companies.
Other are also developing blockchain technology for OTT television in an effort to stay ahead of Google and Facebook. ( brands would track an ad impression in real time through video everywhere)
The problem is the need for adoption — multiple providers at different levels need to sign on the blockchain to make this work: The brand, the agency, the DSP, exchange and the publisher. Right now, most products are in beta. “In the advertising industry we’ve seen this happen a few times where the tech to measure something comes out and then there is some lag time. So the technology can make verification easier and better.