Some Blockchain Myth Busting
Updated: Dec 30, 2018
A quick read busting a few incorrect assumptions on Blockchain technology
1 - It is not fast enough (yet) In reference to Bitcoin or Ethereum, this observation is correct, but there are 1500+ more blockchains that we are aware of that have developed from the original Bitcoin chain in 2009 and Ethereum in 2014, and these chains work much faster. Programmatic transactions do indeed happen very quickly - and the likes of Lexicon are operating way faster than the industry needs…. Which brings me on nicely to point 2
2- It is not scalable (yet). From the perspective of the whole of the programmatic business citing 100,000,000,000 transactions per day there may be some distance to go, but first blockchain solutions are not stepping out to resolve the whole programmatic workload - just that on behalf of the clients they work with. The load is considerably less.
3- It adds new expense and technical overhead. Yes, absolutely it does add expense, but adds at the expense of other charges. In our experience clients are increasingly concerned to see that their budget is making it through to publishers more intact than when it leaves their instruction - removing unnecessary intermediaries and leaving those that operate in the interests of the client is proving a successful proposition. Yes, it needs funding, but it is a fraction of the cost savings we are demonstrating.
4- It is not ready for our complex ecosystem….And it never will be if a supply chain of 30 intermediaries is the best thing for a client ( I cannot think why this would be the case) - and here you see the issue we set out to address. The industry gets over clogged - If you are buying a house, you would quite rightly expect the vast majority of your money to go to the seller, not to the intermediaries between you and your ultimate event. The ecosystem is wrong, inefficient and slow - blockchain will help solve this. I’d argue also that we don't need thousands of publishers. The programmatic capability for efficiency is being wasted on long-tail publishers… A great solution would be : use 1 DSP and give clients access. Great start. The next step would be by discussing log level data - which is absolutely what you need to verify transactions. My question is: If you have this data, how do you verify that 1. It is accurate and 2. That it is tamper-proof? You put it into a database with permissions to write only?..... In other words a blockchain.
5- It is not well understood. Blockchain as a concept should be a lot easier for the industry to understand - in its bare bones it is a distributed ledger inviting consensus on data to be recorded to it. I feel that it is a far simpler technology than understanding predictive buying algorithms or verifying pixel counts on screen etc.
Can blockchain solve the transparency problem in media? Yes, we think it can.
Blockchain is certainly no panacea for all the ad industry’s woes but we and others have built technologies that relieve some of the concerns surrounding automated trading, and are building tools that relieve others.
Blockchains are operational, in use and proving a success. That has got to be a step in the right direction.
But let's get back to blockchain, and why we need it. It brings truth and transparency to transactions, and that sadly is what has been missing in the industry.
I have to say I struggle to see why anybody would be against anything that is simply bringing trust back to advertising.
Originally written for LinkedIn by Adam Hopkinson April 2018