The Data & Marketing Association (DMA) has forged a closer partnership with MetaX to introduce an emerging technology meant to stop online ad fraud and bring transparency to each process in the advertising supply chain.
The alliance, announced Tuesday, introduces adChain, built by MetaX. The blockchain technology is made available through a platform called Ethereum. Both organizations are hoping that developers will jump in to start building services on the open protocol.
Along with introducing the technology, the companies released a whitepaper detailing the protocol and how it works.
The problem of fraud affects both advertisers and publishers, estimated to generate $16.4 billion in financial losses this year, according to Tom Benton, DMA CEO, citing WPP stats. He also points to World Federation of Advertisers (WFA) numbers predicting such fraud will cost advertisers between $50 billion and $150 billion by 2025.
Benton believes adChain and Ethereum offer many benefits to the digital advertising industry as it continues to delve deeper into programmatic technologies. Ethereum provides an encrypted, secure method for executing digital advertising transactions, which establishes trust, accountability and transparency. Blockchain also protects publishers from impersonation or attack from domain spoofing, but there are many other benefits and challenges.
It's important for marketers to understand how the technology works. Different transactions, known as blocks, occur when assets transfer from one location to another. Each block sent to the partners in the network validate the transaction, and when blocks are added to the chain as a permanent, record the technology is known as blockchain, according to Cisco, as detailed in its report titled Visual Networking Index (VNI) and VNI Service Adoption Global Forecast Update, 2016—2021.
The biggest challenge is that it's an immature technology. Transaction speeds tend to be slower, along with the verification process, and data limits will be crucial, per Cisco.
Despite challenges, benefits are plentiful. The blockchain does not have a central point of failure and works as a distributed system, where two parties in a transaction exchange assets or information without a third party, reducing or even eliminating risk.
Also, changes to public blockchains are publicly viewable by all parties -- creating transparency --and transactions cannot be altered or deleted. Some transactions can be made private, so data like electronic health care records are viewable by only certain parties involved in the transaction.