A new consortium has emerged in New York that aims to kickstart the deployment of blockchain across the online advertising ecosystem. The ‘AdLedger Consortium’ is comprised of advertising and publishing executives who are exploring the use of blockchain technology to bring increased transparency and data security to the ad tech supply chain. Founding members including IBM, MadHive and TEGNA, among others, who will be evaluating the merits and challenges of collaborating on a blockchain initiative to support the ad tech ecosystem.
The end goal for AdLedger will be to develop a real-time, blockchain-based, peer-to-peer network to lower costs for publishers while increasing transparency and ROI for advertisers. The network say they will validate ad placements and transactions to ensure brand safety through greater transparency, enable data-portability using multi-signature wallets and cryptographic keys campaign execution and measurement.
One of their core aims will be to remove layers of inefficiency in technology stacks to reduce the ‘ad tech tax’ by introducing cross-network identity management and attribution reporting, and establish a protocol around a decentralised peer-to-peer data sharing solution.
Based on existing industry standards, AdLedger will also determine rules and standards for the protocol that would apply to audience segments, regulatory compliance, data uploads, encryption via keys, and a universal language for smart contracts.
Jim Wilson, President of Premion, a division of TEGNA said, “Blockchain technology is well-suited to address many of the advertising industry’s requirements and to fix the issues of frequency capping, attribution and data quality with Advanced TV. Participation by advertisers, agencies, and publishers is essential for building a network that meets the needs of all players in the ecosystem.”
Adam Helfgott, CEO of MadHive, said that “Blockchains in the context of ad tech work best with a programmatic supply chain. As TV buying moves into programmatic, which today accounts for a small percentage of the spend – but growing quickly – blockchains come into play. Blockchain technology brings a simple innovation that has eluded the tech industry for years – trading value between counter-parties without intermediaries. Blockchains do this with a decentralized ledger as a single source of truth for data ownership, reporting impression level data, etc. With this platform, new ways to trade come into play. So we are at the beginning of a technology shift that will open up new possibilities of trading between every screen.”
An industry-wide study carried out by the IAB found that a combination of fraud and supply chain weakness costs the advertising industry an average of $8.2B per year. The supply chain describes all data transfers between industry players starting with creative and ending with the consumer’s browser. By leveraging a blockchain-powered network, the consortium say they will be able to increase the security and efficiency of data exchanges throughout the supply chain.
How Will it Be Used?
The blockchain is essentially a digital distributed ledger that chronologically records transactions in code called hashes. Each transaction that occurs on the blockchain is validated by other nodes in the network, rendering the technology near-tamper proof and dramatically increasing the security of transactions. Because blockchain makes trust a consequence of the technology, it has the power to revolutionize the way value is exchanged online in the same way the Internet revolutionized communications by facilitating the sharing of information.
AdLedger will use open source code to develop its blockchain-protocol. By making the project open-sourced, the organization enables consensus-driven workflows and cryptography to ensure security and reliability. Open source code for blockchain protocol will be made available for peer review and the organization will release an API specification.