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We’re still in the very early stages. Like the early Internet, there’s technology, different applications of the technology, a commercial use case, and a grassroots use case. Simply, there’s tech and a community of people around the tech that have a specific world view.

The tech can be used in alignment with this world view or outside of it. Early Internet was used for the distribution of academic research and the perspective that content on the web should be free persisted long after it was utilized for commercial purposes.

Blockchain tech is an open ledger or database that is transparent to all users, actors and parties. In many cases, it’s a distributed ledger, meaning it lives on lots of devices with multiple copies, making it impossible to hack or control by one party. There are a few “closed” blockchains - blockchain as a service (BaaS) - from Microsoft, IBM and Deloitte.

Let’s ignore the closed ecosystems and focus on the traditional blockchain. It’s open and it’s distributed. This creates a platform that is transparent, provides and clear chain of relationships, is not hackable (you’d have to hack every node simultaneously), and is thus very secure.

The community’s ethos is to build on this. Decentralization, democratization, decentralized and distributed are all words the community loves. This was first applied to the technology and process, which loves the open source ethos. It was then later applied to the organizations around the technology, which birthed Decentralized Autonomous Organizations (DAOs).

Advertising and marketing technology will benefit heavily from blockchain. There are many centralized applications of the technology and many DAOs have been established this year. The industry’s challenges include transparency, security, waste, fraud, and siloed segmentation.

Here are questions I believe most marketers and advertisers ask: Did a vendor really send out my marketing email? What happens with my CRM data when hosted in a third-party? Can I trust a third-party to secure my marketing data? How many middlemen are in my ad supply chain? Where did this consumer targeting data come from? Why can’t I get relevant audience targeting data out of Facebook and Google?

Blockchain can solve these problems. Imagine seeing your entire ad supply chain for every impression while knowing every user can be verified as true. It kills wasted middleman fees and weeds out bad actors and shady organizations.

With blockchain, every ad impression can be verified against a graph of known users at the site level. This would eliminate fraud and remove the need for costly third-party verification and ad blocking service providers.

Finally, most consumer data is inaccurate. The places that have more accurate data, like Google and Facebook, are closed off. We’re dealing with inaccurate and incomplete data sets.

What if all consumer data was in an open, distributed, decentralized graph? Companies like Facebook and Google have turned our data into a commodity and are monopolizing it. The blockchain can tear down the walls to this garden.