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Ivo Georgiev, CEO and founder of AdEx, blockchain-based ad exchange designed to provide secure, transparent and beneficial solution for all the parties involved, explains the idea behind the project, tells about the main caveats of building a distributed ad marketplace, and shares his insights into the online advertising landscape.
Advertising industry is in the middle of a major blockchain transformation. While many conventional advertising businesses are pushing their revenue models to the limits to hold on to the changing market, the new technologies are giving rise to the whole new spectrum of solutions. Namely, of course, based on the blockchain tech.
The brand new tools are being created from the fusion of trustless distributed ledger technologies with pieces of some conventional know-how in the given industry. One of such tools is AdEx, a decentralized marketplace for advertising inventory that has already began its action against the fraud, opaqueness, and general inefficiency of the advertising industry.
To learn more about the project, the aspirations behind it, and the main caveats of building a distributed ad marketplace, Coinspeaker reached out directly to AdEx CEO and founder Ivo Georgiev.
Coinspeaker: “What was your first acquaintance with blockchain technology? What aspects of the technology sparked your interest?”
Ivo Georgiev: “I have been following blockchain technology since its dawn, back when it was just a vague concept powering Bitcoin. It got my attention for all the obvious reasons: it was new, unknown and therefore worth exploring in more detail. I follow the rule that the world of technology moves incredibly fast and the sooner you start digging into certain tech, the better equipped you are to help it evolve for broad real-life use.”
Coinspeaker: “Why and when have you decided to go for a blockchain-based solution in advertising? What were the key problems with the traditional advertising you aimed to solve?”
Ivo Georgiev: “We started looking into the blockchain application for ad tech in 2016. We were researching different ad tech solutions for another project of ours and realized that the online advertising industry was powered by technology that was lacking in many areas: data privacy, transparency, inadequacies in terms of reporting and common standards, etc. At that moment in time, many other industries had begun adopting the blockchain concept, and it seemed suitable to apply it to advertising as well.”
Coinspeaker: “How big is the team behind AdEx? Who were the first people to join your initiative? Was it hard to find the right professionals?”
Ivo Georgiev: “Currently, there are about 10 people actively working on the different aspects of the AdEx dapp: development, testing, security, business development, marketing, etc. Most people on the team have been with us since Day 1, and we are all incredibly excited about the project. Getting the right people was not particularly hard. When you have a project that is meaningful, challenging and generally game-changing, it is easy to recruit the best people. At the same time, there are very few skilled blockchain developers, and we are struggling to expand the team.”
Coinspeaker: “What were the toughest obstacles the team faced while working on AdEx beta?”
Ivo Georgiev: “I’d say that the biggest challenge we are facing right now is the fact that we are swimming in uncharted waters: there are no established solutions that we can follow and whom we can learn from. There are, of course, similar projects in the ad tech space, but we are all discovering this brave new world together.”
Coinspeaker: “Tell us more about the deal with Ink. What were the complications of holding such an auction? Do you have plans for similar initiatives?”
Ivo Georgiev: “INK is a global leader in travel media.T hey work with some of the world’s biggest airlines, railway- and travel companies and create opportunities for advertisers to connect with a highly receptive global audience through travel magazines, online, and mobile devices. Together with them, we held the first ever blockchain-based auction for advertising property on the AdEx mainnet. This collaboration was significant as it was essentially the first real-life example of blockchain use for advertising purposes. We achieved wonderful results and we’re looking forward to similar partnerships in the future.”
Coinspeaker: “What can you tell about the market for blockchain-based advertising projects? Apart from AdEx, what are the initiatives you would like to highlight and why?”
Ivo Georgiev: “As I mentioned earlier, AdEx is not the only blockchain ad tech platform. Our competitor list includes projects like the Basic Attention Token (BAT), adChain, Papyrus, etc. We are confident that such competition is healthy as we are all able to ultimately create the best possible advertising dapps.”
Coinspeaker: “What are the main complications for blockchain projects in advertising? Is there regulatory friction for such companies?”
Ivo Georgiev: “Some of the more notable challenges we will need to overcome in the future are enabling real-time bidding in a decentralized and trustless fashion, inventing new fraud prevention mechanisms and improving the existing ones, figuring out ways to monetize social influence in a clearly measurable way, and so on.
As for regulatory frictions, because of the decentralization, transparency and privacy-enhancing design, such would be very unlikely.”
Coinspeaker: “What are the current goals of AdEx team? Can you give our readers some teasers about AdEx future plans?”
Ivo Georgiev: “There is a long way ahead of us. We are focusing on adding more and more functionalities to the AdEx dapp so that we can enhance the user experience and enable mass adoption of the platform. In addition, we will soon release the AdEx Protocol – an advertising infrastructure that includes our node and the smart contracts.”
Earlier this year, AdEx released its Beta version and upgraded the platform to version 2, moving right ahead of the previously released schedule. Right now the platform is already available to publishers and advertisers offering all the primary functions expected from an advertising marketplace. Hopefully, soon we will see even more exciting features and more impactful partnerships, as AdEx continues to change the face advertising industry.