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Despite the hype, blockchain is not yet the savior of ad tech. But for all the vague promises and white papers, there are also real companies putting blockchain technologies to work to improve trust and transparency in online advertising.
Here are seven of the most noteworthy ad tech blockchain projects right now.
This Philadelphia-based company founded in Feb. 2017 develops blockchain software for online ad tracking, payments, authentication and reconciliation. It caters to brands, agencies, publishers, and ad tech companies.
Total funding amount: $6.4M
Two seed rounds: $1.9M and $4.5M
Majority of funding is from venture capital firms, First Round Capital and Nyca Partners.
The latest funding round gave Amino freedom to double the amount of employees and pursue more customers and revenue for its blockchain software.
Last October, mobile ad measurement company Kochava introduced XCHNG, a protocol-based custom blockchain that allows mobile ad buyers to purchase ad inventory through the protocol and sellers to publish their inventory on the system.
XCHNG raised an undisclosed amount from global blockchain investment fund, Hashed, in July 2018.
In April and June, Kochava announced that Storm X, Qwil, Yield Nexus and Aura Systems were new partners for OnXCHNG, the partner program for XCHNG. The funds Kochava raised in July will be used to support ongoing R&D costs for the company’s blockchain business.
IBM and Mediaocean are piloting a blockchain-enabled advertising network that aims to make programmatic buying more transparent. The network—which uses a custom blockchain built by IBM and Mediaocean’s campaign management platform—records how digital dollars are spent across digital, TV, print and out-of-home channels.
Mediaocean’s total funding amount: $40.5
Two rounds: $10.5M and $30M
Funding is from New Enterprise Associates.
A pilot test for the blockchain network began in July, and there has already been buy-in from major brands such as Unilever, Kellogg and Pfizer.
In 2017, MetaX launched adChain, an open protocol built on the public Ethereum blockchain platform. AdChain provides three capabilities: an open record of digital ad transactions, a repository of trusted identities, and a mechanism for “smart contracts”.
MetaX completed a $10 million token sale for AdChain. Its cryptocurrency is called AdToken.
Early this year, MetaX added Ads.txt Plus to adChain, used by a site to show which sellers are authorized to sell its inventory. This spring it added adChain Registry, a community of token-holders in the blockchain that vote on the quality of publisher domains.
NYIAX is an advertising contract exchange enabled by blockchain technology and powered by Nasdaq. It allows publishers, advertisers and media buyers to buy, sell and trade digital ad space as guaranteed contracts, typically weeks in advance rather than in real time.
Total funding amount: $16 million
In June, NYIAX received $5.65 million in seed funding from WestPark Capital.
NYIAX ran pilot programs throughout 2017 with 40 companies taking part, and officially launched the exchange in October 2017. In June, it closed the $5.65 million seed round and also integrated with mesmr, a media platform for content creators and their audiences.
MadHive released its blockchain-based MAD Network in Nov. 2017. The ad tech platform consists of MADnet Books (payment system), MADnet Core (ad server and exchange) and MADnet Data (data management). Each part of MAD Network uses blockchain technology to deliver services that match advertisers with publishers.
In Aug. 2018, MAD Network raised an undisclosed amount from DCG Group and Fenbushi Capital. It raised $25 million in its ICO in March.
The funds from the company’s ICO continue to be used to build out the MAD Network. MadHive says it is doing testing and POCs (proof of concepts) for MAD Network with large agencies and advertisers.
Lucidity publicly launched its Etherium blockchain protocol in April. The protocol allows all participants in the ad ecosystem to submit data (about fees, publisher identity and bid amounts) and then the protocol verifies what events are valid and which are not. Lucidity was formerly known as KR8OS Inc., and was founded in 2017.
In Aug 2018, Lucidity received $5 million in funding from VC firms 3Rodeo, YouBi Capital, CoinUs, Cypher Group and Pithia. This is the only funding for the company so far.
Lucidity has been in beta testing since earlier this year, and it recently signed up partners including Audience Group and Digital Remedy. The company was named “The Blockchain Startup of 2018” at “The Blocks” awards program.