By Richard Bush and Michael Palmer
We are excited to announce that the IAB Tech Lab is establishing a new working group with the goal of exploring ways to leverage blockchain to improve efficiency and value realization in digital advertising.
Since it was first described as a fundamental component of the Bitcoin architecture by the enigmatic Satoshi Nakamoto in the fall of 2008, interest in the concept of the blockchain and its possible uses has grown from a few members of the obscure cypherpunk community to the R&D halls of top universities and the boardrooms of fortune 500 companies.
A question is: Why blockchain in advertising?
We believe the collaboration based network effects of Blockchain are already changing the way global industries perform transactions and share data. This shift in paradigms provides mutual benefits for digital markets, advertising being one of the fastest growing industries.
With many initiatives already in the work to adapt blockchain technology in order to address various challenges present in the digital advertising industry, it is important that a framework be put in place to guide the development of a common set of standards and protocols.
It is necessary to understand some of the fundamental characteristics of blockchain to answer this question. First, blockchains create a medium by which two or more completely anonymous or semi-anonymous parties can complete various types of transactions at a low cost. This has led some to call blockchain a “Trust Machine”.
回答这个问题，有必要了解区块链的一些基本特征。 首先，区块链创建了两个或多个全匿名或半匿名方，以低成本完成各种类型交易的媒介。 这使得有些人称区块链为“信任机器”。
Blockchain essentially functions as a distributed ledger. Additionally, it possesses two critical features. First, once data is stored in the ledger, it is typically complicated (more so than with other technologies that are used today) to modify or delete. Every record on a blockchain is permanent and will last as long as the copy of the entire blockchain exists. Second, the ledger is distributed among all the participants on the blockchain, and each user maintains a complete copy of the blockchain.
区块链发挥着分布式分类帐的作用。 此外，它具有两个关键特征。 首先，一旦数据存储在分类帐中，通常难以（比今天使用的其他技术更复杂）进行修改或删除。 区块上的每个记录都是永久性的，只要整个区块链的副本存在就会持续。 第二，分类帐分布在区块链的所有参与者之间，每个用户维护区块链的完整副本。
U.S. Department of Defense to Adopt Blockchain Technology
There is no centralized controller of the data in the blockchain and no single point of failure for a blockchain’s operations. If one or more users are disconnected from a blockchain, the blockchain continues to function, and no data is lost.
In a bid to establish hack-proof digital communication lines and advance its digital environment to afford it a competitive advantage in the modern battlespace, the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) has started experimenting with distributed ledger technology (DLT), according to a publication entitled “DoD Digital Modernization Strategy”
DARPA Joins the Blockchain Bandwagon
This ability to keep a fully verifiable and immutable ledger or database available to all members of a particular group or market makes blockchain an attractive tool to address challenges as diverse as payment processing or fraud prevention. Such a fundamental technology should not be ignored, it should be embraced, and this is why we are forming this group.
As stated in a recent publication by the United States Department of Justice (DoD), its research arm, the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) has started pointing its searchlight into the revolutionary blockchain technology as part of plans to modernize and advance its digital environment.
Blockchain technology, the solid foundation underpinning bitcoin and other digital assets is fast gaining significant traction in various sectors of the global economy, including fintech, trade finance, supply chain and even healthcare due to its ability to foster transparency and immutability.
Blockchain technology is already being utilized in the digital advertising space, and here are some examples of the projects and initiatives. It should also be noted that many industries are already well underway even at this relatively early stage of evolution.
The DoD and it’s forward-thinking research arm DARPA are not oblivious to the huge potentials of the DLT and other new technologies.
The team is now weighing the possibilities of leveraging these nascent technologies to develop highly robust, secure and efficient platforms that would enable the transmission of messages in a hack-proof manner.
AdChain is an open protocol on Ethereum’s public blockchain. Its stated goal is to allow for building of decentralized applications, specifically for use in the digital advertising ecosystem.
A Competitive Edge
Per DARPA, since it’s almost impossible for data stored on a distributed ledger to be tampered with by unauthorized persons and bad actors such as enemy agents trying to do so would have to spend huge amounts of money and other resources, this gives it another key reason to explore blockchain technology.
Adex is a decentralized ad exchange that utilizes Ethereum to address problems like fraud, privacy, and consent in the digital advertising space.
The team says it’s determined to find out multiple fail-proof use cases for blockchain technology, including the creation of a DLT-based communication platform that could facilitate real-time, super-secure communication between the Pentagon and intelligence officers as well as between units in the battlefield and the defense headquarters.
That’s not all, DARPA is also trying to create a blockchain-based unhackable code base that would offer intelligence on rogue actors who try to compromise secure databases.
Amino combines technologies from blockchain, payments, and adtech to bring transparency, integrity, and auditability to online advertising.
In addition to blockchain technology, the DoD says it’s digging deep into other innovative technologies like quantum computing, big data analytics, artificial intelligence and the internet of things (IoT).
It’s worth noting that the Department of Defense is not the only U.S. agency that has joined the blockchain technology bandwagon.
Ethereum is a blockchain based, publicly available open source distributed computing platform that provides a decentralized virtual machine and its own cryptocurrency tokens called “ether”. These attributes make Ethereum an attractive base for the generation of smart contracts and serves as the foundation of other applications.
Earlier in April 2019, BTCManager informed that the U.S. Department of Energy had commenced the second phase of its blockchain-based electric grid security project which is aimed at using DLT to protect modern power grids from cyber attack.
Faktor is a blockchain-based identity management platform that can be utilized by publishers, advertisers, and individual users.