3 Ways Blockchain Can Help Publishers and Advertisers

Blockchain is typically associated with Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies. However, the emerging technology impacts many other industries, including publishing and advertising.1

Blockchain is a secure technology that creates self-regulating data that does not have one sole controller. Through blockchain, data becomes open, permanent, verified, shared, and does not have a central authority, adding a layer of permanent credibility.2

“It’s essentially a massive Excel sheet that operates in a decentralized network format,” says Digiday editor Shareen Pathak. The data can have large amounts of information that can be transmitted and added onto, without compromising on security.”3

According to a recent report from the Interactive Advertising Bureau, “Potential benefits of blockchain for advertising include increased efficiency, transparency, cost reduction and the elimination of fraud.”4

Here are 3 ways blockchain can help publishers and advertisers.

Blockchain can Protect from Ad Fraud
The open, verifiable nature of blockchain data can protect partnering publishers and advertisers from ad fraud in future transactions.

IBM and publisher Salon Media are partnering with nonprofit research and ad consortium AdLedger, which is developing a blockchain product that can prevent ad fraud in future programmatic ad buying transactions.

Chad Andrews, global solutions leader of advertising at IBM, says, “with a Blockchain backed peer-to-peer network, achieving transparency in the digital advertising supply chain is possible.”5

IBM and Salon are using AdLedger to improve transparency with every step of the programmatic ad buying process by using blockchain to record contractual conditions with users, track and reference publisher payments, and detail these impressions in a record with added transparency since the data is immutable and fully auditable by all parties involved.6

Since the start of the partnership, Salon Media’s webpage visitors now have the option of disabling ads or consenting to Salon mining blockchain information through the user’s computer.7

Blockchain can increase transparency for all parties involved in every step of the ad buying process—from the actual buying to user interaction.

“It’s a system that runs in parallel and complements existing ad delivery, data targeting and yield-management functions,” says Ian Kane, co-founder of Ternio, an ad tech blockchain product, “all participants in the system gain transparency into the supply chain and a clear understanding of where the advertiser’s dollars are going.”8

Blockchain can Protect from Improper Use of Created Content
Not only does blockchain allow publishers and advertisers to accurately track and audit contractual transactions behind ad buying, but it also helps content creators track the dissemination of their content in the digital space, and if copyright laws behind the content’s sharing have been violated.

Strategy consultant company Deloitte recently published a study which explored the potential impact blockchain could have in the media industry. The study reaffirms: “copyright tracking becomes more accurate, as does allocation to media copyright holders and the subsequent distribution of royalty payments.”9

Publishers are starting to turn to blockchain companies to protect their content. Maven Network recently announced a partnership with, a blockchain-based open universal ledger for digital creative assets, to provide Maven’s content creators protection from improper use of their content and ensure fair monetization.10 gives publishers such as Maven an automated licensing process without relying on third parties. Through, publishers now can timestamp and validate their content in an unchangeable system which also issues publishers digital ownership certificates.

“Partnering with advances our strategy to provide Maven publishers with the greatest tools available to drive maximum monetization, distribution, transparency and security,” says James Heckman, CEO of Maven Network, “at the end of the day, we’re working to empower and protect independent publishers.”

Blockchain can Help Publishers Explorer Models of Monetization
Recently, large publishers such as The New York Times have introduced a non-ad based monetization model.11

However, Deloitte’s recent study found: “Consumers are becoming more and more accustomed to ‘digital’ business models, expecting ‘per-use’ payment models, instead of paying a monthly to yearly fee for an online subscription to one particular newspaper.”12

Blockchain can help publishers explore a different model of monetization to their website.

Publisher sites are already partnering with blockchain platforms to explore tokenized monetization models. Recently, Dow Jones and Brave, a blockchain platform, have partnered to test ‘Consent-based ads’.13

Brave users earn tokens by engaging with ad content from verified publishers, such as Dow Jones’ and MarketWatch newsletters. Brave tracks users’ earned tokens, which can then be used to pay for premium content.14

Working with “consent-based” ads that give consumers the chance to affirm their interest in seeing the ad,” says Brendan Eich, developer of Brave and co-founder of Mozilla.15

Ultimately, by using this tokenized model of monetization, Brave and Dow Jones can cut out unneeded middlemen. “We’d like to improve the efficiency of the ad monetization system by cutting out the middle players and help publishers directly connect to their readers,” adds Eich.16

As a robust variety of blockchain products and services continue to develop, publishers and advertisers alike should understand and be open to how they can take advantage of this emerging technology.

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1 Martindale, Jon. “Without Blockchain, Bitcoin Couldn’t Exist. Here’s How It Works.” Digital Trends, Digital Trends.
2 Rossum, Joris V. “Blockchain for Research: Perspectives on a New Paradigm for Scholarly Communication.” Digital Science Report.
3 Pathak, Shareen, et al. “How Blockchain Is Used in Media and Advertising.” Digiday, 17 July 2017
4 “Blockchain for Video Advertising: A Market Snapshot of Publisher and Buyer Use Cases.” International Advertising Bureau.
5 Huillet, Marie. “IBM And Salon Media Pilot Blockchain Project to Prevent Fraud In Advertising Industry.” Cointelegraph, Cointelegraph, 17 May 2018.
7 Zuckerman, Molly Jane. “News Site Gives Users ‘Choice’ To See Ads Or Mine Crypto To Support Company.” Cointelegraph, Cointelegraph, 17 May 2018.
8 Kane, Ian. “Blockchain in Advertising: The Implications for Every Player in the System.”MarTechSeries, 2 May 2018.
9 “Blockchain @ Media – A new Game Changer for the Media Industry?” Blockchain Institute, Monitor Deloitte.
10 “Maven Partners with Blockchain-Based Media Platform to Empower Independent Publishers.” Business Wire, Business Wire, 31 Jan. 2018.
11 Genestoux, Julien. “It’s Time to Unlock The Web – Unlock – Medium.” Medium, Augmenting Humanity, 27 Apr. 2018.
12 “Blockchain @ Media – A new Game Changer for the Media Industry?” Blockchain Institute, Monitor Deloitte.
13 Zuckerman, Molly Jane. “Dow Jones Media Group And Brave Blockchain Platform To Test ‘Consent-Based Ads’.” Cointelegraph, Cointelegraph, 17 May 2018.