Pilot programs planned to test blockchain apps in the industry

Chicken or Egg?

Which came first, bitcoin or blockchain? Did Satoshi Nakamoto, the inventor of both technologies, realize that bitcoin, the much-discussed cryptocurrency, was the perfect application to be built on top of blockchain? Or did he imagine bitcoin first and then realize that he needed blockchain’s distributed ledger system to make bitcoin work?

No one may ever know, since no one, except maybe the NSA, seems to know who Nakamoto is or whether “he” is even one person. (The rabbit hole of theories regarding Nakamoto’s real identity makes for fascinating reading).

If you’ve never heard of it or have closed your ears and hummed loudly whenever a self-proclaimed expert starts to explain it, here’s as brief a description as one can manage: Blockchain is a digital ledger that parties to a transaction of any sort use to record their interactions. The ledger itself is distributed across many servers, which means that no single party controls the record of the transaction. And it cannot be altered or edited without the knowledge of every participant.

Click here for an excellent introduction to blockchain by BakerHostetler partner Laura Jehl.

The Takeaway

Blockchain technology is slowly but steadily changing the way transactions take place online, and secure and distributed record keeping presents tremendous potential for the online advertising sector. With so many players involved in the marketing supply chain, there are myriad possible combinations of producers and outlets. Blockchain offers a new way of approaching the countless complex transactions that must take place.

The Interactive Advertising Bureau’s Blockchain Working Group is investigating blockchain applications and related standards and best practices. Recently, the group set up a pilot program whereby members can test their blockchain applications; the tests will involve agencies, publishers, brands and other related entities working together to uncover hidden value, savings and synergies. Pilot subjects include testing for automatic validation for transactions (smart contracts) and transparent record keeping. The group hopes to create a white paper that summarizes its findings and sketches out standards and best practices for using blockchain.