A big statement, but there is a technology that has been lurking in the long grass of digital for a number of years and is now really starting to gain traction across all sorts of industry verticals.

With all of the noise about Cryptocurrencies such as Bitcoin, Litecoin and Etherium and the inherent volatility within this space, you could be forgiven for not really noticing that the technology that underpins all of these currencies has the potential to fundamentally change a number of industries and pave the way for a huge array of new opportunities and subsequent benefits.

What exactly is blockchain? Developed by the mysterious coder Satoshi Nakamoto back in 2008, it was designed as a transparent distributed ledger. Essentially it is a way of tracking the movement of digital currency or assets from one person to another.

This distributed ledger cannot be deleted as it sits on all connected devices simultaneously. With this we have a single measure that allows us to categorically prove an event, task or transfer. It physically cannot be doctored or tampered with unless the record is changed on every single ledger at exactly the same time.

What does this mean in more practical terms? Looking at the media industry specifically, this technology gives us the opportunity to combat some of the biggest challenges currently facing us – ad fraud, malware, bot traffic and transparency of all trades between parties.

This is such a new area that the IAB through their tech lab have set up a new working group to investigate the role that blockchain will play in the advertising industry in the US, a sign of blockchains significance and legitimacy. We are about to see a raft of new players in the market utilising the blockchain as a backbone for their businesses.

One of the most notable at the moment would be Basic Attention Token, built by the team who co-founded Mozilla and Firefox. Their new foray into browser platforms is called Brave. They are utilising blockchain to anonymously monitor user attention on the platform and reward publishers accordingly. This subsequently benefits advertisers through increased ROI, more advanced targeting and reduced fraud.

Adchain from MetaX is currently working on reducing fraud by using blockchain to define a collective baseline for what a ‘good’ publisher looks like. They will incentivise people to determine how reputable a publisher is and subsequently add these to whitelists. This will help brands decide on which publishers they should invest with.

New York Interactive Exchange (NYIE) has been looking to move into the UK and offer a futures-based model for media buying. Utilising Nasdaq Frameworks and blockchain technology, they are looking to provide advertisers a transparent and trusted market to secure and potentially re-trade future advertising inventory.

It is still early days for this technology, but initial investigations to help the industry combat its limitations are looking promising. It’s safe to say we are guaranteed to see some amazing new businesses appear with innovative solutions and a fresh view on some of the toughest challenges within the digital ad space.

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