In a very simple term – a specialized and distributed set of databases is called Blockchain. It consists of blocks, which is an ever-growing series of information, duly verified by networks. These blocks are also time-stamped so that it cannot be altered once added to the chain of transactions. Because all the correlated information is automatically and continuously recorded in it, a Blockchain is said to be “a single and immutable source of truth” for both demand and supply partners.

So, we can say that Blockchain is a new type of database which -

  • maintains the security of the transaction
  • checks for accuracy of all activities
  • manages Digital Signatures on transactions and,
  • is responsible for the deployment of cryptographic keys for access control.

This database is a shared one and reconciled regularly. It is commonly called Share Ledger or Public Ledger or Distributed Ledger which allows storing, validating, authorizing, and transmitting data. In this, multiple and identical copies of auditable, up-to-date digital records of transactions are maintained.

Blockchain was developed to solve problems occurring in the storage and transfer of digital assets between two peers. It aimed to eliminate any intermediary. Here, information moves from point A to B in a fully automated and safe manner. Once a transaction is initiated (by creating a block) it’ll be verified by thousands of computers. The verified block is then added to the chain (thus creating a chain of blocks) and then stored - not stored in a single location, but it will be hosted by clusters of computers.

Since this data is easily verifiable and is publicly available, that means it greatly helps in casting out and removing questionable activities occurring from a malicious party.

Introduced in 2009, Blockchain is still an emerging technology at the moment, but...

the global blockchain technology market is expected to climb to over 23.3Bn USD by 2023


In a nut-shell, Blockchain’s 'Fantastic Four' properties are -

  • Decentralization, because it is not owned by any single entity
  • Transparency, anyone can track the data, if needed
  • Immutability, Nobody can alter data
  • Security, data is cryptographically stored

Ethereum, the world’s largest open-source blockchain community, and best-known example is Bitcoin. Other sectors that leverage Blockchain are health care, finance, and now advertising.

Blockchain for AdTech

The AdTech industry is nowadays worried about two major factors - Transparency and Privacy.

Keeping in mind these factors, Blockchain offerings for AdTech Industry, are -

1. Transparency - everyone sees everything

Blockchain provides the facility of adding new blocks only at the end of the chain. Thus none of the previous blocks can be modified. This makes any activity relatively easy to track and analyze

2. Enhancement of Privacy - give a user more control over their personal data.

Blockchain allows storing data on user devices, instead of storing it in a single place. So, when it comes to targeting, a verification mechanism comes in the picture which confirms or denies further proceedings.

3. Showing Accountability - among Publishers and advertisers

All the parties involved can see what is going where, why, and in what quantity.

4. Dependable operations - verified by all parties involved

Another facility provided by Blockchain is “Smart Contracts.” It is a reliable system, which is made up of conditions of activities, made to execute only if all the requirements are met. Its logic is regulated by a defined set of agreed rules which are able to self-execute only when buyer’s price matches the seller’s price. If something is not right - it will not proceed. This is done to eliminate RFPs and paper contracts, and other similar jobs.

5. Controlling Ad Frauds - everything is visible, and thus you can see what others can do inside the system

One of the most prominent properties of Blockchain is #1. Therefore, shady kinds of stuff like bot traffic, domain spoof, etc. are eliminated by assessing and verifying the nature of impressions and their validity.

This is a diagram showing the involvement of Blockchain in digital ad trading.


To summarize the benefits of Blockchain in the field of Advertising -

  • Cryptography – That means secured transaction of impressions (usually agreed on and enforced by Networks)
  • Digital Signature – Enforced on each impression so that they are verifiable at any point
  • Consensus – To validate and register transactions from involved parties

Big names like Unilever, Kellogg’s, and Kimberly-Clark joined a consortium for ad-buying blockchain solutions last year, to eliminate middlemen and enable buyers to audit advertising spending. Toyota managed to raise its site visits by 21% (paywall) with help from a blockchain analytics company.


On the minus side, few of the visible issues are - lack of scalability and standardization.

IAB is currently working on the guidelines because the AdTech ecosystem relies on the standard rules and agreements. Blockchain provides some custom solutions, but since there is a lack of standardization, there will be compatibility issues.

If we talk about scalability, Blockchain’s technology can’t analyze or process advertising transactions in real-time. A transaction to be validated and added to the public ledger range between 10 and 30 minutes, whereas response times required to return an ad is in milliseconds. Bitcoin is currently capable of processing around 2-3 transactions per second, whereas, in RTB, there are 2-3 million transactions!

Here below, listing out a few resources that uses Blockchain and are made for the betterment of AdTech world:

  • Datx - Blockchain for programmatic advertising
  • Rebel AI - Prevents ad fraud.
  • Koin - Leverages Smart Contracts for mobile media campaigns.
  • Lucidity - Bring transparency, consistency, and reliability to the digital advertising ecosystem.
  • BAT - Basic Attention Token, includes digital advertising exchange, attention measurement systems, analytics dashboards, and machine learning algorithms.
  • XCHNG - Provides stability, security, efficiency, and transparency in the digital advertising industry.
  • Papyrus - Provide an efficient, transparent, and mutually beneficial environment for users, publishers, advertisers, and decentralized application (dApp) developers.

And many more...

Sadly, Blockchain can’t be a tool for real-time fraud prevention and validation just yet!

However, if not a solution for real-time transactions...

Blockchain can actually be used as a tool for post-campaign reconciliation, which ultimately helps in the prevention of many malicious activities, like fraudulent parties from being paid.


Post Written By:

Vanitha R.

Software Engineer

Kritter Software Technology Pvt. Ltd

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