IAB Tech Labs launches blockchain-analysis pilot program
The effort will examine blockchain projects by member organizations, resulting in a white paper that separates wheat from chaff.
It seems like every other day a new startup is claiming it can cure the woes of digital advertising with blockchain — while doubters point to the technology’s limitations.
To help sort the wheat from the chaff so some real baking can occur, the Interactive Advertising Bureau (IAB) Tech Lab announced this week that its Blockchain Working Group is launching a pilot program.
The program will look at blockchain-based, advertising-targeted projects from the Working Group’s 100+ member organizations. It will then write a white paper that attempts to point out the actual value — and possibly throw shade on the hype — of blockchain’s potential for this industry.
So far, projects have been identified from Kochava Labs, FusionSeven, MetaX and Lucidity. Each includes a variety of ad tech participants, including advertisers, agencies, DSPs, publishers and exchanges.
The Lucidity “Layer 2” pilot, for instance, is looking to verify impressions and track the programmatic supply chain through a blockchain-based decentralized shared ledger. The company is also planning other blockchain projects to tackle fee transparency, digital publisher signature and audience verification.
The hype surrounding blockchain has obscured its key asset as a distributed and virtually immutable shared ledger. While there are other capabilities, the technology also has issues about processing speed, privacy between participants and functions that might otherwise be handled with less expense or less complexity through more conventional technologies.
Smart contracts and virtual currency, for instance, are consistently cited as unique aspects of blockchain-based systems, but both could also be offered through conventional software. Startup WildFire, for instance, launched this week a virtual-coin-based platform to support app discovery and engagement, and it doesn’t use blockchain.
IAB SVP/GM Dennis Buchheim told me that he expects the white paper will “glean insights” from the various projects in the pilot program, helping to sift which blockchain-based functions are clearly advantageous for digital advertising, which could hold promise and which have not yet proven themselves.
The paper will also attempt to determine which blockchain-based capabilities would benefit from standardization by IAB, such as smart contracts. There’s no date yet on when the white paper will be issued, he said.