At Altair, we have been exploring the possibilities of Blockchain on business, not just marketing or digital media buying. Over the next 6 weeks (to start with…) we will be highlighting some must-read resources for those interested in Blockchain technology and its influence on business and the world.
Here we highlight 6 resources, 1x Ted Talk, 1x TV ad and 5 short articles that are well worth a read.
To begin with, we should explain what it is and why we should be monitoring its progress.
What is Blockchain, a simple explanation:
The best way I have had it explained to me (in very, very layman’s terms) is that Blockchain is a lever arch file. The file contains every action taken by everyone involved in a transaction. Each action is a page. Each page is time stamped. You cannot be involved, if you haven’t inputted a page into the file.
Everyone involved can see what everyone is doing and precisely when they did it. Thus, it is transparent. Furthermore, the lever arch folder can be viewed by anyone, anywhere, as it is public. So, it is extremely transparent.
It is also difficult to hack. As the exact lever arch file exists across a huge number of separate and independent places, across the globe.
If you try to amend a page, it will be instantly noticeable, as that page doesn’t match any other of the same lever arch files anywhere in the world. So, everyone will know it has been tampered with and it will be disregarded.
Each page is a block. When more pages are added to the file, it creates a chain of blocks. And there you have it, a Blockchain.
Why should you care?
Well, it could fundamentally change everything. Land rights cannot be falsified or taken away, a few powerful banks and organisations will not control the flow of money and even the way we vote could be affected.
For digital media, every stakeholder from the publisher to the brand appearing in the ad will be listed. The amount of money they took would be listed. The data used to influence the purchase of the impression and the cost of that data would be listed. For everyone to see.
It could solve the transparency issues plaguing the programmatic space. Each stakeholder can be held to account and it can be seen what value they are adding to the chain and the amount of money they are taking for it.
It could help consumers as they will have total control over their digital world and their digital data. They can give brands some of that data, but the brand would never see that person’s whole data set, only what they need and nothing more.
It would be the ultimate GDPR effect.
There are drawbacks of course, as we have previously discussed before. Speed mainly, but also cost. Both central variables in Blockchain for the proof of work (PoW) needed to take part. This is designed to restrict spam, DNS attacks and other service abuses.
So let’s go in. Our first wave of resources to get everyone talking and moving:
If you are relatively new to all things Blockchain, it will be good to get a thorough overview to kick off with.
There aren’t many better places to start than a Ted Talk, especially one by Don Tapscott co-author of Blockchain Revolution.
In the Ted Talk Don Tapscott explains what the Blockchain is and discusses the potential effects of Blockchain, including how it could transform money (beyond just Bitcoin), transform businesses and even governments as well as the democratic process itself.
IBM iX and Mediaocean are to pilot a blockchain network for Unilever, Kimberly-Clark Corp., Pfizer, Kellogg and IBM's own Watson.
The aim of the pilot is to deliver what Blockchain promises for media buying, to improve transparency, eliminate fraud and to be able to do so at pace. As put in the article, to cut the ‘ad-tech tax’.
Rather than just sticking to the ad-fraud and transparency points of most other articles, this by the Harvard Business Review includes the interesting point of reducing the annoyance of ads, mainly caused by brands just smashing frequency without a care of the effect on the viewer. We’ve extensively covered this internally, as it is exceptionally lazy advertising, and we have written case studies to put the point across that knowing when not to serve an ad is more important than serving an ad.
As the Harvard Business Review puts it:
“Blockchain technology can prevent the same display ad from being over-served to anyone, ensuring the optimal frequency of ad serving for each consumer. Studies have shown that when it comes to the impact of frequency of ad exposure on consumers’ propensity to buy, anywhere from four to six ad exposures is optimal. However, it has been nearly impossible to deliver on this optimal goal due to issues of data quality (the fourth V). A smart contract on blockchain can fix this by providing a level of tracking and transparency that is currently not available to brands.”
To finish up, we will leave you with Hyundai Digital Asset Company (Hdac). Hyundai, a massive international brand, their subsidiary Hdac, is going properly mainstream and massive with blockchain.
As summarised perfectly on the YouTube video: “The Hdac commercial will air during the Russia World Cup this year. Our commercial highlights the features of our blockchain platform that is incorporated into the smart home.”
Putting smart homes, running on blockchain in front of millions (billions…?) of people during the Russian World Cup.
Read more from this article by Bitcoin News.