NEW YORK: Advertising and publishing executives have met to discuss how blockchain technology can bring increased transparency and data security to the ad tech supply chain.

The first meeting of the AdLedger Consortium – whose members include IBM, MadHive, Integral Ad Science, and TEGNA – was held in New York yesterday.

IBM iX Executive Partner of Global Marketing, Babs Rangaiah, said: "We at IBM believe that blockchain will do for transactions what the internet did for communications.

"We are particularly interested in blockchain's potential to solve many of the issues facing programmatic buying today," he added.

The overarching goal of AdLedger, the consortium said in a release, is "to harness the potential of a real-time, blockchain-based, peer-to-peer network to lower costs for publishers while increasing transparency and ROI for advertisers".

Specifically, it added, "the network will validate placements and transactions to ensure brand safety through greater transparency, enable data-portability using multi-signature wallets and cryptographic keys for unduplicated campaign execution and measurement".

By removing layers of inefficiency in technology stacks, the consortium also hopes to tackle what a recent ANA study described as a "technology tax" that effectively accounts for more than 40% of advertisers' programmatic spend.

The move comes a week after Comcast Advanced Advertising Group announced in Cannes that it intends to launch a blockchain-powered tool next year.

The Blockchain Insights Platform, Ad Exchanger reported, will allow data owners to share their assets without handing these over to a third party.

"Why you would put the most valuable thing [you have] in someone else's hands is a hard argument to understand," said Marcien Jenckes, advertising president at Comcast Cable.

With blockchain technology, however, "You never make anything available that you can't, or that you don't want to. It's always in your control, and that's the most important thing."

And, he added, it's more secure than a blind match of data, which offers potential for reverse-engineering of data and the stealing of an audience.

Data sourced from AdLedger, Ad Exchanger; additional content by WARC staff