The adChain blockchain launches to rescue ad tech
Introduced by MetaX and DMA, it is designed to track digital advertising’s supply chain.
Blockchain technology takes another step today toward helping ad tech solve its problems, with the private beta launch of adChain by ad blockchain firm MetaX and DMA, the Data and Marketing Association.
Developed by MetaX, adChain is an open protocol built on the public Ethereum, a decentralized platform on which blockchain-based applications can be created. Blockchains are best known as the underlying tech for bitcoins, but that is only one application.
Essentially, blockchain tech is a distributed and shared ledger that its proponents say immutably and automatically records all the steps and related data in given events.
While DMA is the first industry organization to participate in this initiative, it said that it hopes other industry organizations will also join.
adChain is intended to provide an open and comprehensive record of digital ad transactions, a repository of trusted identities and a mechanism for agreements that implement their terms (“smart contracts”).
Co-founder and CEO Ken Brook told me that adChain has been in prototype development with an unnamed advertiser, demand side platform (DSP) and publisher. It is now entering a private beta phase that is expected to last until the end of this year, with selected participants in the digital ad ecosystem.
He said that adChain will offer several capabilities initially, after which it will expand its repertoire. For instance, it will provide a registry to identify publishers and thus their inventory.
It will integrate with various ad tech providers, such as DSPs, to verify specific bid requests. An “impression event” from a publisher will also be recorded to confirm that a static or video ad has begun issuing impressions.
adChain will also have a registry to track events for publishers that implement a header bidding solution using prebid.js.
Brook noted that adChain will record and verify data about transactions, identities and events, although it won’t actually issue an opinion as to what constitutes, for instance, a “legitimate” impression.
He added that adChain is planning to publish a scientific case study describing how well this kind of blockchain-based event and identity tracking works, and that the service intends to eventually expand to track all kinds of ad formats and events.
Another major ad-focused blockchain endeavor is also underway, called NYIAX (The New York Interactive Advertising Exchange). Now in a pilot phase, it is an exchange of future guaranteed contracts for ad inventory or targeted impressions.
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