An interview with Adam Helfgott, co-founder and CEO of Madhive. MadHive is a blockchain-powered data management platform that enables the secure and transparent transfer of campaign data between publishers, video networks, and advertisers. A combination of fraud and weakness within the ad tech supply chain costs the industry an average of $8.2 billion a year. MadHive’s solution to this gaping problem is to leverage blockchain and AI-backed technology to accurately track data as it travels along the supply chain from creative to consumer’s browser.
Here are the takeaways form the interview:
- The digital economy is powered by advertising dollars. That is how we can all use free services like email, search, chat, and video. Advertising is fueled by data. The problem is that certain parties within the advertising ecosystem hold the majority of data, and therefore, all the power. These parties are intermediaries.
- The advertising supply chain describes the trajectory an ad takes from creative to a consumer’s browser. Agencies use the programmatic marketplace to determine the sites, or publishers, on which to serve the ad. The marketplace relies on algorithms to make these decisions. As you can imagine, the algorithms are not always able to distinguish between appropriate and inappropriate sites, so the advertisers rely on intermediaries to verify where ads are served, and to whom, so intermediaries control all the data, which is where the value is. What would be immensely helpful to advertisers and publishers is to regain control of their data.
- This is where blockchain comes into play. By leveraging a blockchain-backed network, this advertising data can be securely recorded, shared, and accessed by cryptographic keys. MadHive is a founding member of AdLedger, which is a group of advertising and publishing executives committed to determining the rules and standards that will govern a blockchain-backed peer-to-peer network for the advertising industry.
- The timing is particularly ripe for blockchain solutions in ad tech now because it is getting more and more difficult to compete against the Google-Facebook duopoly. These two companies control so much of the data that it is nearly impossible to compete against their audience reach and targeting capabilities, but if advertisers and publishers share data, they dramatically increase their reach to the level that could be at least on par with Google and Facebook. This would be a huge win for advertisers and publishers looking to retain some of their lost margins. Additionally with the onset of GDPR, the EU’s General Data Protection Regulation, in May of 2018, there is even more urgency for businesses operating in Europe to figure out how to meet these standards, which includes giving users access to data and ceasing use of data, should a user request it. Smart contracts are great for this.
- MadHive already provides a data orchestration layer on a private, but the real promise of blockchain will be realized when the network can be enabled and the transaction speed increases, which IBM’s Hyperledger is making headway on.
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