Since the birth and introduction of cryptocurrency in 2009, we have seen its valuation and popularity grow immensely throughout these past couple of years. Bitcoin, the O.G. cryptocurrency, only stood at a mere 0.06 cents a decade ago but has famously risen to a valuation of over 11,400 USD in late 2017. The question that keeps being raised is how can something virtual be valued so highly and how are so many people willing to put their trust into this? 

One of the primary reasons people are willing to take this leap of faith is they see the potential applications of the technology which backs Bitcoin. All cryptocurrencies and tokens to-date are built on and running on something called the “blockchain”, which is described as a distributed ledger used to record transactions amongst two parties in a verifiable and permanent way without the need of a third party. The main objective of the blockchain is to decentralise, giving back the power of data to the people. It has made its way into every industry and it’s finally about to stand up in the digital marketing world.

We are all familiar with companies these days flooding us with questionnaires and surveys in order to collect data on us, their customers. This can present itself both as something positive and negative for consumers. One way of looking at it is, the company is utilising the collected data to help improve or tailor the shopping experiences for the needs of their customers. However, a more cynical and perhaps not so far from the truth way of thinking is they are invading your privacy and selling your personal information onto others.

With the introduction of blockchain, it is able to level the playing field for consumers by removing a company’s ability to pull data from them without offering reimbursement of some kind. An example of this is the upcoming emergence of the web browser, “Brave Browser”. It works by giving the consumer the ability to opt-into viewing online ads, thus saving them from being bombarded by them. Sounds like any other web browser you say? What makes it special?

The browser makes it a win-win situation for both parties, the advertiser AND the consumer. It does through setting up a reimbursement contract between the two parties in the form of a crypto token, “Basic Attention Token”, BAT for short. Advertisers will now need to pay using BAT to display their ads on pages. Users of the browser can choose to opt-in to viewing these ads to which they are then compensated with the tokens. And the publishers receive the most benefits as they are getting compensation from both sides. At the end of the day, the advertisers are able to receive better ad performance data and targeting, the consumers view tailored to their interests and the publishers can generate more revenue and possess more control over the ads they display. Now that consumers have some control back, what about their privacy? Fear not, “Blockstack” has your back (that rhymes…sort of). The service aims to ensure that your personal data remains at your end, away from the prying hands of some companies (I kid). Although this doesn’t heavily tie into digital marketing blockchain opportunities, it certainly deals with the data collection side of things.

Projects like the above are just the start, as more and more people begin to understand and adopt blockchain technology, the uses and applications will continue to grow. From the case studies, we can evidently see the effects it is having on the digital marketing industry. Advertisers now have to consider wisely about the content they are putting out, ensuring it is of value and provides a level of entertainment. Adoption of the blockchain is at an early stage, best to keep updated about it…or just let it die out like all other fads.