The root cause – lack of trust, governance, tracking protocol, has led to the emergence of what is called the “trust protocol”. The potential of blockchain-based platforms relies on the ability to record and distribute a single, immutable version of the truth to multiple entities. The goal is then to improve the efficiency and effectiveness of our industry’ digital value chain. It now means that we trust a single contract, across our digital supply and demand or for that matter across any industry. The currency is the now that of TRUST.

Although, most popularized for cryptocurrency, which is a subset of blockchain for finance. Now, it’s discussed across all industry areas, like food supply chain, real estate, healthcare, jewelry business and last but least media. In the US, the largest market for blockchain development with nearly 40% of the startups in this field alone (source: Blockchain Revolution by Tapscott & Tapscott)

What does blockchain mean in our business?

The goal of Blockchain for our business is to deliver 100% viewable and brand safe, valid traffic for our clients. In effect, standardizing the billing and reconciliation across all entities in the supply chain, demand side, supply side, exchanges and reporting of valid traffic through smart contracts or insertion order in media speak.

A quick overview of where it can go

A lot of corporations are also investing in blockchain startups, for instance Comcast through its VC arm, Unilever has signed up with IBM on blockchain conciliation on its media buys with MediaOcean in USA. There is also a lot new discussion of blockchain in music, Warner Music is now developing a system to manage record keeping of Music assets on a blockchain to ensure it remains tamper free and in its authentic form.

As GroupM how we are tackling it

At GroupM we recommend at looking at it in a step by step manner

  1. Get your data strategy right in the first place. This applies on looking at your supply, publishers and data providers with scrutiny on quality, assessing the sources of data at client’s side and agency side.
  2. Transitioning from a distributed database to a distributed ledger, which forms the core of digital transformation using blockchain for its trust, cryptography and solid governance layers.
  3. Understand what cryptography means to your business, how can you avoid mutability, fraud, and leakage of data.
  4. Incentivize the consensus protocol, for better security and governance of data in a chain.
  5. And decide, if the ledger will be public or private or permissioned or permission-less.

Below is a simple mechanism, that highlights the consensus protocol across the commonly talked about distributed ledger technologies or DLTs. 

(Source: Blockchain 360 State of

Art for Professionals)


At Mindshare, we have announced a global partnership with Zilliqa forming a blockchain alliance for media. We aim to provide a way for all stakeholders to interact in a secure and verifiable manner, automate reconciliation based on viewability and brand safety through a native alliance token, therefore enable advertisers and our clients to pay only quality impressions that are viewable, brand safe and ad-fraud free. This is done through a smart contract on a blockchain across DSP, SSP and exchange partners as part our alliance. Out current pilot is with Mediamath, Rubicon Project, and IAS in our alliance with more partnerships in the pipeline.

Our WPP, global blockchain solutions architect, Gowthaman Ragothaman, spoke at the Step Digital Stage in Feb 2019 focused on Blockchain and comments that “the sooner we recognize the uses and implications of so many players in our ecosystem, what we as marketers and experts aim to achieve in investment and supply chain transparency, storage and immutability, the better it will get for our ecosystem confidence overall”


Finally, in MENA, are we open and ready?

 The initial Blockchain initiative was first launched in 2016, and later popularized by The Future Blockchain Summitnow it’s in second year with the key vision of Crown Prince to make all areas of government documentation sit in blockchain. The next installment of “The Future Blockchain Summit” is scheduled to take place on 2ndand 3rdof April 2019 at the Dubai World Trade Center.

In April 2018, the UAE Government launched the Emirates Blockchain Strategy 2021. The strategy aims to capitalize on the blockchain technologies to transform 50% of government transactions into the blockchain platform by 2021. This is a huge testament that while we still may be grappling with the definition, its nascency, let’s keep pace as its an inevitable outcome of trust and transparency frontier.  

The founder of Ethereum Vitalik Buterin says it the best “Most technologies tend to automate workers on the periphery doing menial tasks, blockchains automate away from the center. Instead of putting the taxi driver out of a job, blockchain puts Uber out of a job and lets the taxi drivers work with the customers directly” I am guessing with the latest acquisition, at some point blockchain will be part of their digital transformation strategy if not already!!