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Without a doubt, the conceptual underpinning of blockchain technology is fascinating. And if you squint hard enough, you can even see what a disruptive force it might be in the future.

Because of this transformative potential, marketers should continue to keep an eye on the technology as it evolves. However, blockchain is at a very early stage in its lifecycle, and it remains a foundational and somewhat arcane technology.

This means when it does enter the marketing landscape, it will likely appear as a supporting technology baked into MarTech platforms.

For example, blockchain could provide much needed transparency into the murky and complex world of programmatic media. Theoretically, blockchain would be the perfect solution for creating an unforgeable record of the journey of a digital ad, from insertion order, to real-time bidding, to ad serving.

In reality though, blockchain is optimized for security, not performance. Blockchain is slower by orders of magnitude than the lightning-fast speed of real-time ad bidding, making it unfeasible for AdTech.

In truth, many of the proposed use cases for blockchain — which seem to emphasize the distributed nature of the technology — can be solved more easily today with distributed cloud computing. Blockchain’s special sauce is the dismantling of the need for a middle-man (e.g. a bank) as a trusted intermediary to facilitate a transaction between two strangers.

If your business problem is that you want to exchange something of value with another party, and you really don’t want a middle man (e.g. hackers who use Bitcoin to avoid using a bank to evade capture), then blockchain is your solution.

But, the price you pay for this is steep: increased complexity, poor performance, limited functionality, immature technology and a miniscule pool of knowledgeable developers.

For most marketers, who crave simplicity, speed, and flexibility, blockchain won’t help them reach their customers in a more efficient or targeted way. Instead, marketers should wait to see how marketing technology vendors incorporate blockchain into their products in a manner that provides real value—not just overhyped promises.”