Blockchain and the Future of…Everything

I’ve kept a skeptical eye on cryptocurrencies since Bitcoin became a thing, waiting to see what regulators and the market would say before diving in head first myself. While we may be years away from realizing its full potential, with a market capitalization approaching $100 billion, there’s too much traction not to take a closer look.

Over the course of the past year, blockchain technology has surfaced for a myriad of business applications and new companies are being financed daily through the creation of their own tokens offered via “initial coin offerings” or ICOs, cutting out traditional venture funding methods as savvy VCs like Tim Draper embrace it wholeheartedly, lest they become irrelevant in this new economic frontier.

It’s the confidence of people like Tim and commitments by institutions like Nasdaq to create the New York Interactive Advertising Exchange that give me confidence in our blockchain future, which it appears will have as far-reaching implications as the web did two decades ago. For my part I’m focused on how blockchain might improve decades-old processes in marketing and advertising and create new ways to exchange value for attention and engagement — the only things that truly matter in marketing.

So far, the Basic Attention Token and its companion Brave Browser have captured the most attention. More recently, MetaX introduced adChain, an open protocol on the Ethereum blockchain that gives buyers a scalable, trustworthy way to track and impressions and publishers the ability to capture the full value of their content and attract premium ad spend. Both hold great promise for delivering a more transparent advertising technology ecosystem currently wrought with fraud and malware. MadHive, is a blockchain-based video advertising and data platform that allows both brands and publishers to measure customer intent data and build audiences across screens and platforms.

And all of this is just the beginning.

The newest marketing entrant, BitBounce, seeks to solve issues around spam and email access. Its Credo token, which is being offered in an ICO starting on July 17, can be used to pay a small fee to guarantee an email gets through to its intended recipient. While other companies have tackled the issue, and spam filters have mostly eliminated it altogether, there are several other use cases to consider around making a market for email (e.g. paying consumers for their attention, allowing people to pay for access to celebrities, etc.). And while Credo may be starting in email, it has just as much a chance as BAT or adChain to become the de facto currency for advertising.

Many believe blockchain is as important as the HTTP protocol, and it certainly feels a lot like 1993, when the market woke up to the promise it held for everything. Like then, there is lots of excitement and speculation for a brave new global economic future built on security, efficiency, transparency — not to mention, the potential for enterprising minds to make a whole lot of money.