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Blockchain For Advertising: 24 Startups To Watch In 2019

  • 31 January 2019
  • Sam Mire

Just the word “advertising” is enough to get a groan out of people.

Can you blame them? Nowadays we have to hold our laughs for a YouTube video in order to get through a 30-second pre-roll ad for erectile dysfunction pills.

Where the best advertising is clever and subtle, the industry is usually associated with repetitive, obnoxious ads that are everywhere at once. But blockchain innovators are demonstrating a new way forward.

Blockchain-enabled advertising can take multiple approaches to improve the industry’s broken models. From compensating consumers for watching more-appealing advertisements to creating smarter ad metrics to launching new entertainment models that completely forgo advertising, the blockchain stands to make a fundamental impact on how the advertising sector does business.

Here are the relevant companies operating in the space.


WeBuyWeBuy

WeBuy is an on-demand advertising platform aimed at giving rights back to the buyers by choosing when and why they may be contacted by sellers, or whether they want to be contracted at all. Those who choose to opt into voluntary advertising may be rewarded for their participation via the WeBuy platform’s blockchain-enabled transactional capability. The platform appeals to sellers and advertisers by presenting a willing base of ears and eyes to market to, which represents a break from the scattershot methods of mailing countless coupons or posting on sites where visitors have no interest in the product or service being promoted.

Date Founded: December 1, 2017

Funding Type: ICO


lollyLolly

Lolly goes by the tag phrase ‘Shopping & Advertising Reinvented’, and they’re striving to achieve that goal using blockchain technology to alter the traditional relationship between brands and customers. Lolly allows users to follow their favorite brands, notifying them whenever a coupon, discount, or sale is available. Lolly coins – which is where the blockchain comes into the equation – allow users to benefit as they add more personal information and interact more frequently with the platform.

Date Founded: January 2016

Funding Type: Private


AB-ChainAB-Chain

Hong Kong-based AB-Chain is seeking to alter the digital advertising paradigm by creating smarter metrics and allowing advertisers to buy advertising space from publishers on a single platform using cryptocurrencies. This is a service aimed largely at companies that have issued ICOs and are reticent to convert those currencies in order to pay for advertising space. Instead of dealing with taxation, logistical, and investor confidence roadblocks due to the conversion of crypto financing, AB-Chain allows nascent businesses to advertise their brand without the headaches that come with exchanging digital currencies for fiat currencies.

Date Founded: 2017

Funding Type: ICO


BitcomoBitcomo

Bitcomo is a Polish, cost-per-action advertising network that offers its users verified metrics using blockchain technology. The performance-based platform rewards marketers with BM tokens each time that a visitor or customer is attracted via an advertisement. Likewise, advertisers only pay when proven, legitimate eyeballs are attracted by their affiliate marketers. The Bitcomo model is all about relying upon transparent metrics using next-gen technologies, and paying based on those results.

Date Founded: March 1, 2017

Funding Type: ICO


Online Blockchain TechnologiesOnline Blockchain Technologies

Online Blockchain Technologies, also known as Online.io, aims to completely change the way that users browse and engage with information on the internet, and is one of the more ambitious projects currently being undertaken using blockchain technology. Their proposition – a browsing experience without advertisements, malware, or tracking – is certainly appealing, and they claim that their system, which will be based on a website rating system, will help eliminate time spent on ‘spammy’ advertisements disguised as web pages. If it works, it will be a major testament to blockchain’s potential.

Date Founded: March 1, 2018

Funding Type: ICO


VaranidaVaranida

France-based Varanida wants to change the way that advertising is administered on the internet, replacing the current system with one that imparts greater value on all parties. Through the use of blockchain technology, Varanida seeks to be the neutral, low-commission party that provides objective statistics about the veracity of clicks, views, and other metrics that determine the efficacy of advertising campaigns. Varanida also rewards users who voluntarily view ads, so that they may derive more accurate, trustworthy metrics while ensuring that users are not kept in the dark as to how their behaviors are being tracked and used.

Date Founded: March 10, 2018

Funding Type: ICO


UbexUbex

The Ubex advertising exchange is looking to add a heavy dose of artificial intelligence, as well as blockchain technology, into the ways that advertisements are displayed, parsed, and perceived. Advertisers pay to be members of the Ubex network in exchange for advanced neural networks that process and pass along information about each visitor to the websites of the network’s members. Those neural networks use artificial intelligence to gauge users’ interests, actions, and the likelihood that they will engage in the targeted behavior that advertisers hope to achieve. The exchange will work on a pay-per-result basis, and users will be incentivized to interact with the platform.

ICO: May 21, 2018

Funding Type: ICO


SetherSether

Sether hopes to bring greater transparency to the way the advertising campaigns are run; the true cost of ads, who the agency is working with, how advertising budgets are being spent, etc. In the Sether process, all facets of a campaign are evaluated to find what did work, and what didn’t. All of this data is secured using blockchain protocols, and blockchain technology also helps to impart automation on the tracking of KPIs  to keep costs low and processes efficient.

Date Founded: 2012

Funding Type: ICO


JoorsChainJoorsChain

Swiss startup JoorsChain is a blockchain-based ecosystem for digital advertising. The company touts its existing user base as critical in its goal to bring decentralization to the digital advertising space in order to reduce waste while increasing transparency and accountability. The platform that JoorsChain employs will include features such as real-time bidding, with the aim of increasing competitiveness and fairness in how advertising is sold and administered. They hope that, in time, JoorsChain will serve as a single source of digital advertising metrics so that a trustworthy source of data can dictate fairer compensation in the digital ad space.

Funding Type: ICO


TRUTHTRUTH

London-based TRUTH is a media agency that is using the blockchain to increase transparency and, in doing so, improve trust in the value chain. Through the implementation of smart contracts technology that charges fees only once clear, predetermined milestones are completed, the TRUTH agency seeks to provide a fairer landscape for advertisers, charging all clients the same fee for the same services rendered.

Date Founded: 2017

Funding Type: Private


Lucidity techLucidity

Lucidity is a startup out of Marina Del Rey, CA that is using its protocol to increase transparency in marketing analytics so that the advertising industry will be able to ‘transact with trust’. Blockchain technology will help facilitate the rollout of their core features, which include verified impression tracking, end-to-end payment tracking, and tools that collectively lead to fraud prevention. Eliminating publisher domain spoofing and resolving data discrepancies are two of the primary ways that Lucidity delivers on the promised results of their blockchain-enabled protocol.

Date Founded: August 2017

Funding Type: Private


AminoAmino Payments

Amino Payments has the goal that many advertising reformers using the blockchain have: to increase trust in the industry, root out the scoundrels, and do so in a way that can be verified. Their Amino Lens feature ensures that all parties in the ad buying and tracking process are who they profess to be, which means a clear trail of how each advertising dollar is being used throughout the media supply chain. Amino Pay also helps clear up the opacity plaguing the payment process, with actors along the value chain being paid simultaneously and by objective, fair standards.

Date Founded: February 2017

Funding Type: Private


TernioTernio

Ternio is a scalable blockchain that seeks to meet the needs of the many transactors in the digital advertising space. Their Lexicon blockchain can handle over 1 million transactions per second, and while it can be used for several purposes and industries, it is tailored for use in the digital advertising industry where high transaction rates and large data sets are the norm. A blockchain with Ternio’s capabilities is ripe for applications in digital advertising, where volume is presently difficult to verify and individual impressions and metrics are often misleading and tough to track. Ternio is hoping to alter this landscape for the better, using a powerful blockchain as the engine of change.

Date Founded: December 2017

Funding Type: ICO


SmartyadsSmartyAds

SmartyAds is a programmatic advertising platform powered by the blockchain. By using blockchain technology, SmartyAds is able to imbue transparency and better campaign tracking into everything that they do. They seek to enhance users’ revenue potential through a number of means; multi-channel advertising approaches, programmatic advertising technologies including CPM bidding and Big Data analytics, better viewability and brand safety, etc. Their goal is to bring media buyers and sellers, Ad Networks, Data Management Platforms and Agency Trading Desks into a single, efficient, cost-effective, and transparent digital advertising ecosystem.

Date Founded: 2013

Funding Type: Private


metaXMetaX

Santa Monica, CA-based MetaX is ‘unlocking the blockchain for digital advertising’ by creating and unleashing a number of useful dApps and protocols. Their adChain Registry is a user-curated database of sites that, according to the MetaX user base, are worthy of hosting ads because their content is legitimate. Their Token-Curated Registries are used to assign tokens to users so that they may access and alter a decentralized list, whatever the content of that list might be. These undertakings rely on blockchain technology, both for the issuance of digital tokens and the establishment of secure, interoperable shared ledgers.

Date Founded: August 18, 2016

Funding Type: ICO


MAD NetworkMAD Network

MAD Network is a New York-based startup that has created a protocol to bring consumers, advertisers, and publishers closer together in a manner that removes the industry’s gateholders from the equation. MAD represents a move away from systems in which users have zero control over the privacy of their data, into a sphere in which AI pulls relevant ads to the users without sharing the profiles with outside parties. These profiles are cryptographically sealed and secured  using blockchain technology so that the abuses of information that users have discovered in recent years are not duplicated in the MAD Network.

Date Founded: 2017

Funding Type: Private


adbankAdbank

Canadian startup Adbank is an advertising platform that aims to add a level of transparency to payments between advertisers and publishers, ultimately resulting in more profit for publishers, fewer expenses for advertisers, and less ad fraud. The smart contract-enabled ad platform employed by Adbank will facilitate transparent, completely auditable payments between parties while also requiring standards of fulfillment that help reduce ad fraud. Third-party developers will also have the ability to integrate qualified platforms into the Adbank network, furthering the benefits that the platform offers.

Date Founded: 2017

Funding Type: ICO


Basic Atenttion TokenBasic Attention Token

The Basic Attention Token is an ERC20 token built on top of the Ethereum blockchain, and its use will hopefully help reform the broken model for digital advertising. The token can be exchanged between publishers, advertisers, and users to garner greater efficiency in the digital advertising space. Here’s how it will work: advertisers bestow BATs upon publishers based on the proven measurement of user attention. Users will also be compensated with BATs in exchange for their participation. The payoff: advertisers get more trustworthy metrics, users see fewer, more relevant ads, and publishers gain a greater share of rewards while experience less ad fraud.

ICO: May 31, 2017

Funding Type: ICO


WolkWolk

San Mateo, CA-based Wolk is a blockchain-enabled advertising data exchange whose protocol allows those who sell data to monetize in a performance-based manner. When a supplier uploads data to the exchange, they earn Wolk Tokens, and buyers must spend Wolk Tokens in order to gain access to uploaded data. Wolk smart contracts add a measure of liquidity, as they can be exchanged for Ethereum at any time. All of these factors come together to form a marketplace where data useful in the advertising sector is bought and sold in a manner that is traceable and transparent.

Date Founded: June 22, 2017

Funding Type: ICO


Native Video BoxNative Video Box

Native Video Box is a Russian video distribution platform that meets many of the needs facing advertisers in the digital age. Using multi-tier blockchain and deep machine learning algorithms, NVB seeks to improve on the YouTube model of video streaming and distribution. The platform is created with transparency in how video advertisements are distributed and measured as a centerpiece. By pairing websites with relevant video content and decentralizing the platform, Native Video Box aims to put more money that has been robbed by high platform fees and broken ad metrics back into the pockets of advertisers, publishers and creators.

Date Founded: 2016

Funding Type: ICO


ThriveThrive Labs

Thrive Labs is a Maltese startup that has created a decentralized ad marketplace whose selling points are low fees, paid data sharing, and thorough vetting of affiliate sites before advertisements are placed. The concept involves meritocratic, community-drive advertisement placement based on professional reviews of sites so that those who use the Thrive platform receive their full money’s worth.

Date Founded: January 2017

Funding Type: ICO


CryptoAds MarketplaceCryptoAds Marketplace

The CryptoAds Marketplace is, like many other players in this space, a decentralized marketing and advertising platform that is built upon the Ethereum blockchain. A B2C and B2B solution, the platform is aimed at virtually all internet-using parties with ties to advertising – marketers, digital advertisers, brands, etc. Users of the CryptoAds Marketplace can buy and sell ads and ad space on a number of media including native video, live-casting ads, in-app, and more. Transactions are governed by the exchange of their ERC20 token, CryptoAds, and it is the tender between advertisers offering their content and publishers who grant those advertisers space to promote their product or service.

Date Founded: 2012

Funding Type: Venture-backed.


CyteCoinCyteCoin

Hong Kong-based CyteCoin is unique not because it is a decentralized advertising platform – there are many of those. What makes CyteCoin in a rare class is that it caters to advertisers, publishers, and users in the Augmented Reality and Virtual Reality sectors. Like many decentralized platform, the key to value lies in the removal of intermediaries between advertisers, marketers, and platform publishers. Once advertisers purchase ad space, content producers and viewers can be compensated in real time with CyteCoin via smart contracts as they interact with the advertistement. Those interactions – clicks, views, etc. – are recorded using the smart contract’s VirtualCyte feature, ensuring that recorded metrics are legitimate and held on a permanent record.

ICO: June 16, 2018

Funding Type: ICO


KnowledgeKnowledge

Knowledge is a platform that allows advertisers and marketers to gain deeper understanding into web users’ thoughts, interests, and capabilities for more intelligent advertisement targeting. Users interact with the Knowledge Ecosystem and are rewarded as they contribute information and complete tasks, the results of which are compiled to form their KnowledgeScore. These immutable competency ratings are then passed along – with consent and transparency – to advertisers and marketers, who can use that information to administer advertisements that are more likely to appeal and be useful to the target audience.

Pre-ICO: January 15, 2018

Funding Type: ICO

About Sam Mire

Sam is a Market Research Analyst at Disruptor Daily. He's a trained journalist with experience in the field of disruptive technology. He’s versed in the impact that blockchain technology is having on industries of today, from healthcare to cannabis. He’s written extensively on the individuals and companies shaping the future of tech, working directly with many of them to advance their vision. Sam is known for writing work that brings value to industry professionals and the generally curious – as well as an occasional smile to the face.

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