home link https://metax.io/adtoken/
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Learnings from MetaX on Lau...
This story was posted last week on the MetaX Publication. Reminder to please follow this publication for more content related to MetaX, adChain, and adToken!Learnings from MetaX on Launching The First Token-Curated Registry (TCR)Our white paper brings to light a vision for a token based platform built on Ethereum called adChain. The idea behind it was to give people from around the world the ability to curate a single list of digital publishers so that advertisers could use it as a public utility.Why?In short, advertisers have a hard time figuring out what websites are fraudulent or not and this list would help them in determining whether a digital publisher was legitimate. The elegance of this list, however, is as much in the substance of the list itself, as it is in the form of how curation is accomplished.adChain powered by adToken (ADT)We designed a clever incentive game that leveraged a cryptocurrency called adToken (ADT). Using adToken, a community could curate a list of digital publishers based on their own set of quality standards. If they did a good job curating that list then advertisers and publishers would adopt it as part of their digital media buying campaign strategy.Adoption has always been the main goal for adChain, with token holders standing to gain the most if it were achieved.The crypto mechanism we created to facilitate curation became more generally known as Token-Curated Registries, or TCRs, for short.If you are unfamiliar with TCRs and would like to know more about how they work then we encourage you to read this before continuing.Soon after describing our TCR concept to the world it became clear that other projects in the Ethereum space had a need for something similar. It turns out, leveraging a community of token holders to curate a list could be applied to a number of verticals. TCRs began springing to life across multiple teams in variant ways.Take Civil, for example, they are using a TCR for determining what Newsrooms should be on their platform. FOAM is using a TCR for Crypto-Spacial Coordinates (CGC) and Points of Interest (POI). Even Vitalik got in on the hype when he tweeted out his VCR (Vitalik Curated Registry) of his social media accounts.Vitalik creates his own version of a TCRThe TCR codebase is open-sourced on Github under the Apache 2.0 license and has been forked a total of 96 times. Seeing the Ethereum community embrace the TCR concept with such open arms has been extremely validating. Of course, there have been detractors too. But most of them focus their critique on design considerations and/or tweaks to the mechanism rather than outright condemnation.Our team consists of people from all walks of life. And so it should come as no surprise to hear that we have deliberated internally about the nature of TCRs and the mechanisms employed in adChain extensively. The current adChain Publisher Registry is the final output of countless discussions and debates around mechanism design, game theory, UX, token voting, attack vectors, governance, and many other topics.Aside from TCR design, we were also looking to create a new future for the digital advertising industry, which was valued at $209 billion worldwide in 2017. MetaX and ConsenSys built the adChain Registry together to address issues within the digital advertising industry such as:Combatting the DuopolyDomain spoofingAd FraudBrand SafetyQuality Assurance for Media BuyersThe adChain Publisher Registry officially went live on the Ethereum Mainnet in April 2018 marking a historic accomplishment.But being the first also has its disadvantages. There are no signposts that lead to the way or lessons passed down from those who have gone before. This is something many in the Ethereum community can relate to. In a way, we are all in the same boat together plotting a course into the unknown.Leaving the safe harbor of the Rinkeby Testnet for the unchartered waters of the Mainnet has provided us with a number of valuable lessons. We feel that it is our duty to share those lessons with all of you.What We Have LearnedTLDR: TCRs are really great but they still need a lot of attention.The following are insights and learnings from our entire team. We felt this post deserved all of our attention because TCRs are forming the backbone of many Ethereum dapps and it’s important that we pass along our findings so that others can benefit from the information we provide.So without further delay here is our 4 main lessons from launching the first TCR on Ethereum:Lesson 1TCRs Need GuidanceIn the adChain white paper, assumptions were made as to how people would interact with the adChain Registry. Initially, we believed that users would form out of band communication channels to standardize guidelines and best practices for voting. We assumed users would come to an agreement on what is a subjectively good or bad digital publisher by using these standards. It was important for us (MetaX) to take a hands-off approach to offer guidance in the registry. We did not want to be a centralized entity telling participants how to vote. However, without proper guidance, many users did not know what criteria they were voting on and the token holders haven’t yet taken it upon themselves to form any out of band communication channels to form guidelines.In the absence of collective opinion, token holders have turned to personal opinions when making voting decisions. Facebook was kicked out of the registry due to data privacy concerns during the Cambridge Analytica scandal. Spankchain was voted into the registry and this sparked controversy over brand safety concerns. In both of those cases, there were token holders arguing on both sides without any clear indication as to who was right or wrong and most importantly, why?All of this led to us (MetaX) drafting a Google doc of Publisher Guidelines that we hoped would be a starting point for the adToken community to come to a consensus about what should qualify (or disqualify) a publisher from being in the registry. But, much to our dismay, the Publisher Guidelines have largely been ignored by the community.Lack of user participation in Ethereum seems to be a symptom of a larger condition. In a recent blog post by Loom Network they called attention to the fact that,“If you add up ALL the 100+ active DApps on dapp.review combined, it’s still less than 10,000 users in total who are interacting with an Ethereum DApp on a given day.”There are many reasons for this, but the main takeaway from that article is that given the complexity and bad UX of dapps right now, only a tiny minority of highly-motivated users can be expected to use dapps. Most ordinary people (non-crypto enthusiasts) don’t have the time or energy to devote to using Ethereum dapps because of transaction wait times and the high learning curve associated with using them.The cryptoeconomic model baked into TCRs places control in the hands of the token holders because they are economically incentivized to self-regulate the TCR they have a stake in.However, that assumption seems to have been made in error, at least with respect to the adChain Publisher Registry up to this point. Token holders are largely content to sit on their laurels and wait for somebody else to do the work. This is known in game theory as the free rider problem.So how do we solve for that? Hint, hint.. it involves rethinking the role token holders play in curation. We have been working on some new ideas for that and we will be revealing more about that in the coming months. But rest assured we are working hard on the problem.Lesson 2Token-Weighted Voting is a Two-Sided CoinToken-weighted voting is the principle of one token having the same value as one vote. When token-weighted voting is introduced to a TCR that hasn’t yet defined standards or guidelines, whales can wield a lot of arbitrary influence. If a whale uses the power of their token-weight to vote something into the TCR that falls under the umbrella of “questionable” for the quality of the overall TCR, and there is no court for the community to rely on for a ruling or standards to reference, then the community is at the mercy of the whales broadcasting signal being louder and more powerful than theirs.Again, other projects like Civil are looking to mitigate this by having a constitution and a governance council. That approach may work. But it still doesn’t solve the issue of tiny rewards for voters. If it takes 2 weeks to commit and reveal a vote for one specific candidate, pay transaction fees in ETH to the network, and only win $3.00 (because you are not a whale), it is not very enticing to participate as a voter in a TCR. If your reward is less than the MetaMask transaction expense paid to submit the vote that is also not very ideal.Problems with token voting is not an issue unique to TCRs, it seems nearly all projects that have tried to implement some form of token voting on a blockchain fall victim to lack of voter participation. But nonetheless, it does beg the question,Is token-weighted voting the best we can do in the TCR community?Vitalik’s great blog post about token voting and blockchain governance addresses many of these concerns and we highly recommend reading if you haven’t done so already.The concept of Futarchy is an interesting way of addressing voting issues. In futarchy, votes are made based on prediction markets rather than personal opinion, providing some validity to those who have no background in the digital advertising industry. But it is still untested.Another idea that we find intriguing is quadratic voting “where participants cast their preference and intensity of preference for each decision (as opposed to a simple for or against decision).”Any way you slice it, token voting on the blockchain remains unsolved. Token-weighted voting is Sybil resistant, and for now, it is the best solution we have, but we need to find better alternatives. As part of the TCR working committee, it is one of the things we plan to address.Lesson 3Token DistributionThe token distribution audience for a TCR is critical. Currently, we cannot say with confidence that the main adToken holders are our “target market”. Our ideal target market would include advertising operations professionals, content creators, publishers, and ideally any stakeholder in the digital advertising industry.A consideration for would-be TCR pioneers is to think about how to get your tokens into the hands of the people who have an additional incentive to contribute to your TCR. Either because they are professionally qualified, or otherwise, to curate effectively. The reason being is that if the people holding tokens are merely crypto enthusiasts, and aren’t all that interested in your specific TCR or the problem it’s trying to solve, that may present an issue down the line when it comes time for them to actually do real curation work.If we had to do it all over again we would redistribute the token in a way that aligns incentives with the ideal token holders. That could include a process of screening potential token holders before they purchase the token through a test about digital advertising or by only selling to players at premium advertisers, publishers, or agencies.Of course, at the time we did our token generation event on June 26, 2017, no project had successfully implemented any type of alternative mechanism to mitigate whales accumulating a lot of tokens. Hindsight, as we know, is always 20/20.Our goal to address this issue now is to build a complementary platform where advertising industry professionals can audit domains in the Registry.This will ensure that the domains have been vetted in accordance with current industry standards and guidelines. Furthermore, a scoring mechanism will also be provided to parse domains in the Registry into well-defined categories. This will take the binary element out of the TCR. It will no longer just be about whether a publisher is in the registry or not. If all domains in the registry have a quality score then even domains in the registry have a ranking. This is much more valuable to advertisers and agencies in the digital advertising industry.Lesson 4TCR EcosystemTCRs (and Ethereum dapps as a whole) need to focus on user experience. When presenting the adChain Registry to advertising professionals, we have often encountered the complaint that there is a high barrier to entry, such as acquiring ETH and adToken, as well as, installing basic tools like MetaMask. There are also a high number of transactions and wait times. These issues can be addressed through second layer solutions or perhaps even delegated voting. But one thing remains certain, TCRs need more user-friendly interfaces.TCRs may also need some bootstrapping mechanism to get started such as incentivizing early adopters and users of the TCR. Without those first movers, there is no way to test TCRs and understand human behavior surrounding them. We have learned that people make emotional decisions in lieu of rational ones. Perhaps this is the new way to look at TCRs, not as logical decision makers but rather as examples of human behavior.ConclusionWe are excited to introduce new mechanisms into the adChain Publisher Registry based on what we have learned and to provide better signaling to the adToken community. Through continued research, we will work to remain leaders in the TCR space and to improve the user experience for the benefit of the entire TCR community!https://medium.com/media/4f3c8986ae0cc010fd9bc2b484b7214e/hrefLearnings from MetaX on Launching The First Token-Curated Registry (TCR) was originally published in MetaX Publication on Medium, where people are continuing the conversation by highlighting and responding to this story.
18. 10. 01
The Road to the Mainnet and...
By Hunter Gebron, Director of Strategic Initiatives at MetaXA brief recap of our journey to the Ethereum Mainnet and where we’re heading.Follow the yellow brick roadThe road to launching the first token-curated registry on the Ethereum Mainnet was long and winding and has taken us through all types of terrain. Here is a brief recap of some (but not nearly all) of our adventures along the way.Our journey begins on the open plateau of the conceptual landscape where fresh ideas began to take shape. In this stage, we wrote our white paper and began to formalize what came to be a new cryptoeconomic primitive called Token-Curated Registries (TCR’s.)5/31/17White Paper publishedFrom there a steep incline took us up to the token launch event. At the top of that summit, our goal was reached, and we successfully distributed 500 million adToken (ADT) into the hands of a global community.6/26/17adToken Launch Event concludedWith funding secured and a clear vision of what to build next, the engineers began coding at breakneck speed. After many miles, the joint MetaX and ConsenSys adChain team were finally able to pull into a rest area and deploy their code to the Rinkeby Testnet. The adToken Lunarscape was a soft launch of the adChain Registry smart contracts on the Testnet and enabled the community to get their hands on what we had been laboriously working on post token launch.11/1/17The adChain Publisher Registry smart contracts were deployed to the Rinkeby TestnetThe glow of the community cityscape could now be seen on the horizon. We hosted numerous meetups and events including two at the Microsoft Technology Center in New York, and we embarked on a publicity campaign that resulted in MetaX/adChain being featured in some of the most prominent publications in the world.11/27/17First event at Microsoft Technology CenterBut for the engineers, it was already time to gas up and hit the pavement again. This time their sights were set on the Emerald City of the Ethereum Mainnet and their foot was pedal to the metal all the way until April 23, 2018, when the release candidate for the adChain Publisher Registry officially went live.4/23/18The adChain Registry Publisher Release Candidate goes liveThe adChain Publisher Registry Homepage from Live on the Mainnet!So where are we now?The Emerald CityWelcome to Life on the MainnetIf the Ethereum Mainnet is the Emerald City, then the Great and Powerful Wizard of Oz (after he is revealed to be not so great or powerful) is the underwhelming transaction times and poor user experience the Mainnet currently has to offer.That transaction should go through any moment now…The adChain engineers are working on various hacks to alleviate the slow transaction wait times to the degree that they can. But we are still at the mercy of a global blockchain that is only as fast as the slowest node on the network. Scalability tradeoffs, what can you do?Fortunately for us, the Ethereum foundation realizes that scalability, along with the transition to proof of stake, is their number one priority and are working tirelessly on first layer solutions like sharding, and second layer solutions like Plasma.Launching the adChain Publisher Registry on the Mainnet is an essential step for us, but it is not the last. We are currently working on building out an infrastructure to enable advertising operations (Ad Ops) professionals to provide detailed analytics about publisher domains and to house that information in the adChain Publisher Registry UI. This would make the Registry more actionable for the digital advertising industry and would give adToken (ADT) holders more detailed information about domains to help guide them during the curation process.But the Emerald City of the Mainnet is merely one destination on the map, and we have many more places that we want to visit. We have some exciting things in store for the rest of 2018 and moving into 2019.Looking Beyond: aDS and the Advertiser Registry6 Month Product RoadmapFeatured above is our recently published six-month roadmap. It reveals our next significant joint initiative with ConsenSys; The adChain Decentralized Server (aDS) — a Peer-to-Peer Bidder and Ad Server that supports cryptocurrency payment and settlement.For aDS to work correctly, it needs to be facilitated by a two-sided marketplace. So in late Q3 2018, we are rolling out the Advertiser Registry, a token-curated registry for advertisers. Once it’s live, publishers from the adChain Publisher Registry and advertisers from the Advertiser Registry will be able to buy and sell ad placements through the adChain Decentralized Server (aDS) peer-to-peer.aDS will be a revolutionary way for digital ad placements to be bought and sold using the blockchain. With the gateway for gaining access to the aDS marketplace being the Advertiser and Publisher Token-Curated Registries (TCR’s).Open Collaboration in EthereumOpen collaboration is a hallmark of the Ethereum community.One of the most exciting aspects of being an Ethereum based initiative is the amount of open collaboration and camaraderie amongst different projects in the space.Airswap integration on the adChain Publisher RegistryOur Airswap integration is a prime example of this. Airswap is a decentralized marketplace for purchasing cryptocurrency which allows users from within our Dapp to buy adToken (ADT) at the click of a button.We are also leveraging GovernX to provide users with email updates about the relevant actions taking place in the Publisher Registry. Users can opt to receive updates daily if they choose.You can expect to see more collaborations as we work to expand the adChain Advertiser and Publisher Registries in Q3 and Q4.That’s all for now! Stay tuned for more updates and announcements. We have a lot planned for the rest of 2018.
18. 07. 13
Opening the adChain Publish...
See the guidelines here.Since going live on the Ethereum Mainnet on April 24, 2018, the Release Candidate of the adChain Publisher Registry has seen 49 publisher domains voted in by adToken (ADT) holders across the community.And we have already seen a fair bit of controversy!Facebook was rejected from the Registry on May 6, 2018 and a heated debate ensued as to why. It was even alluded to by Joe Lubin during his closing key note at the Ethereal Summit in New York last month.Reuters was also rejected from the Registry due to political reasons. It seems the deep divide in American politics can seep its way into any discussion these days.But the vision for adChain has always been about adToken holders battling it out on the basis of curating the most valuable list of publisher domains, “But of value to who?” That is something that was implied but perhaps understated. The obvious answer is, “of value to the digital advertising industry, and specifically of value to advertisers.”Do advertisers value Reuters and Facebook? Well, duh, of course they do! So then what is going on?Through much discussion with adToken community members it has been concluded that the evaluation process regarding how to judge the validity of adChain listings is still unclear. It is not a phenomenon that is new to token curated registries (TCR’s). Civil — a platform for decentralized news rooms, is using a TCR for governance that utilizes a constitution. The constitution will serve as the basis for determining what news rooms will be included or rejected from their TCR.We have always taken a hands-off approach with respect to mandating to adToken holders about how they should evaluate adChain publisher listings in the Registry. Blockchains and crypto are largely about censorship resistance and circumventing centralized power hierarchy’s. So the last thing we want to do is impose our views as a company onto the adToken community. The adToken community is a diverse, global, disparate group of individuals that all have equal opportunity to voice their opinions and make decisions with regards to the Registry and their adToken.But, as a company (MetaX) steeped in the digital advertising industry for many years, we thought it might be beneficial to offer up a draft of guidelines for the adToken community to use (or not) to help aid in the process of vetting publisher domains when determining if they should be included or rejected from the Registry.And so…The adChain Registry Publisher Guidelines are now open for public comment in a Google doc. We welcome any and all feedback and contributions from the adToken community and digital advertising professionals. You may send all of your suggestions, improvements, or critique to email@example.com or join in on the discussion in Reddit, Telegram, Twitter or any of our other social channels.To reiterate, these guidelines are by no means definitive or authoritative. They can be disregarded or utilized to the discretion of the adToken community. Some may find them useful, others may not, and that is OK. The hope is that these guidelines will be adopted and re-drafted to suit the needs of the broader adToken community. They can be amended as many times as deemed necessary. The end goal is still to curate the best possible list of publisher domains. These guidelines are meant to be a helpful tool for achieving that objective.Sincerely,MetaXOpening the adChain Publisher Guidelines for Public Comment was originally published in MetaX Publication on Medium, where people are continuing the conversation by highlighting and responding to this story.
18. 06. 12
adChain Registry Dev Update
By Eddy Muñoz, MetaX Product ManagerAs the adChain Registry reaches its first month on the Ethereum Main Network, the engineering team at MetaX has been heads-down developing features at the community’s request.The adChain Registry on Toshi Mobile AppWe’re happy to announce that the adChain Registry is now mobile-friendly! Users can view the Registry on normal mobile browsers and can interact with the registry on Ethereum-based mobile web browsers such as Toshi, Cipher Browser, and Status. As the Registry matures, we will continue to add features to the mobile view.Along with the mobile-friendly development of the adChain Registry, we have added a translation widget to the desktop-version of the Registry to cater to the global user audience. Because we see the adChain Registry as a global registry of non-fraudulent publishers, we will continually have our international users in mind when adding new features.To continuously receive adChain updates, feel free to join our Telegram or follow our Twitter. For automatic updates regarding domains that have been applied, challenged, and accepted into the adChain Registry, follow here.adChain Registry Dev Update was originally published in MetaX Publication on Medium, where people are continuing the conversation by highlighting and responding to this story.
18. 05. 29
Welcoming the Public Releas...
Written by Hunter Gebron, Director of Strategic InitiativesToday, it is with great pride that we announce the public release candidate of the adChain Registry. This will mark the first time in history that a Token Curated Registry (TCR) will be deployed on the Ethereum Mainnet!The adChain Registry is the culmination of years of hard work and represents a technological breakthrough for cryptoeconomic protocols. It is a self-sustaining system that uses an intrinsic token — adToken — to align incentives for users to coordinate their efforts towards the shared goal of curating a high-quality list of publisher domains.The adChain Registry will provide the digital advertising industry with its first genuinely dynamic and open whitelist. But even more than that, the adChain Registry will foster an ecosystem for harnessing sentiment from both Ad Ops professionals and ordinary Internet users about their experience as it relates to specific domains.The information shared about these domains will be open for everyone to view and categorized into a honeypot of actionable information.Advertisers will also have access to the contextual data surrounding each domain in the registry and can leverage that data to make sophisticated buy-side decisions in real time.We would like to thank our technology partner, ConsenSys, for helping us to realize this shared goal. Building blockchain applications is hard, and having the steady guidance and support of ConsenSys has been instrumental in reaching this milestone.We are also grateful to our community for their continued support! We look forward to taking this significant next step in the adChain journey together.Pioneering Token Curated RegistriesThe deployment of the adChain Registry to the Mainnet marks the beginning of a new chapter for Token Curated Registries. We will be stepping out of the realm of theory and into the realm of reality. Users will be able to use Mainnet adToken (ADT) to apply, challenge and vote domains both in and out of the registry. For the first time, we will get to see how a TCR on the Ethereum Mainnet behaves in the wild.The public candidate release period will last several months. During which time we will carefully monitor the smart contracts and collect user feedback. If there are any critical bugs or other complications found along the way we will make the necessary fixes and re-deploy the smart contracts once we are confident we have addressed any and all concerns.The adChain smart contracts have been rigorously tested and audited by ConsenSys diligence. However, we advise caution when using real adToken in this public release candidate.We must reserve the right to re-deploy the adChain Registry smart contracts in the event of any unexpected or unforeseen error. Blockchains, in general, are on the bleeding edge of the technological forefront and TCRs, like adChain, are at the tip of the spear.
18. 04. 24
Spotlight Series: Sneak Pre...
Written by Hunter GebronOur new UI is finally finished! We streamlined the design, built in additional features, and added a guided walkthrough to assist first time users in becoming more familiar with how to use the dapp aptly titled How Does This Thing Work?But rather than tell you about it, how about we show you? So without further ado, here is a screenshot of our new and improved UI!The adChain Registry Main DashboardNotice we have linked our MetaMask account to the dapp and this serves as our user login.At the top of the page is displayed the wallet address, adToken balance, network, time zone and ether balance associated with the MetaMask account.In the middle of the page, you will see Domains listed in their various stages.To the left of that, you can filter domains based on your search preference in the Stage field.On the bottom left of the page, you will notice that you can enter your email address to receive notifications about the adChain Registry. For example, if you want to be alerted when new domains are applied to the registry, or if a challenge against a domain has kicked off, you can be alerted via email here.The adChain Registry ‘My Dashboard’My Dashboard is where you can pre-approve adToken for various uses. This pre-approval process was implemented to reduce the number of MetaMask transactions and to save you money on gas fees. You can also claim Voting Rewards and unlock adToken that was used in previous voting polls.The Domains You Applied field lists all of the domains that you have applied to the adChain Registry and their current Stage.Similarly, the Domains You Challenged field lists all of the domains that you have Challenged in the adChain Registry and their current Stage.Lastly, the Claim Rewards section on the bottom right of the page is where you can claim adToken rewards for domains that you voted for and were on the winning side.The adChain Registry ‘Governance Module’The Governance Module is where adToken holders are empowered to govern the adChain Registry dapp.adToken holders can Create Proposals to change any of the parameters in the registry, and the community can vote on whether to implement them or not.Core Parameters set values for all parameters that pertain to the registry and Governance Parameters set values that pertain to proposals.ConclusionWe are excited to bring our new UI to the Mainnet very soon! The adChain Registry dapp and the new UI will bring a much-needed community element to the digital advertising industry. Furthermore, the new functionality we’ve incorporated will make it easier for adToken holders to interact with the dapp and to reduce the number of MetaMask transactions they are required to make. Stay tuned for an update about our launch to the Mainnet!Spotlight Series: Sneak Preview of our NEW UI was originally published in MetaX Publication on Medium, where people are continuing the conversation by highlighting and responding to this story.
18. 04. 03
Spotlight Series: A Domain’...
Written by Hunter GebronIn this spotlight article, we will follow a domain’s journey through the adChain Registry. The domain is a fictional blog called thetopic.io that caters to the latest trends and Hollywood gossip. Thetopic.io serves online advertisements to generate revenue and its owners, Stacy and Steve have heard about the adChain Registry and would like to apply their domain.Being that Stacy and Steve are well-versed in the blockchain world, they already have Ether and have used it to purchase some adToken (ADT).But when they arrive at app.adchain.com, they quickly realize they need a MetaMask account. MetaMask allows the adChain Registry to interact with the Ethereum blockchain. Luckily for Stacy and Steve, MetaMask is a Google Chrome extension and, it’s very easy to install.With MetaMask installed and funded by Ether and adToken (ADT), Stacy and Steve are ready to apply thetopic.io to the adChain Registry!By typing in thetopic.io into the Domain URL field and staking minimum adToken deposit amount required (160 ADT) all that is left to do is click the green “Apply Domain” button.Now, thetopic.io is in the ‘In Application Stage,’ shown in blue on the Stage Map below.During the In Application stage, any adToken community member can issue a ‘Challenge’ against thetopic.io if they feel it is not a good candidate for listing.If thetopic.io makes it through the In Application stage without being challenged, they will be included in the adChain Registry, as shown in green in the Stage Map below.However, it just so happens that a savvy adToken community member named Gregorio thinks that thetopic.io has way too many ads crammed onto one page. It slows down the page load time and hinders his browsing experience. So he challenges thetopic.io by matching the application deposit amount of 160 ADT.Gregorio states the reason for why he is challenging thetopic.io so the rest of the community can evaluate if what he says is true or not.After being challenged, thetopic.io has now entered the Voting Stage of its journey through the adChain Registry, as shown in blue in the Stage Map below.During the Voting Stage, adToken holders can vote to Support or Reject thetopic.io from the registry by using adToken.It turns out Gregorio’s assessment that thetopic.io has too many ads on one page is right. The community votes to Oppose thetopic.io in large numbers. thetopic.io’s application is rejected from the registry and Stacy, and Steve loses their adToken deposit. Meanwhile, Gregorio and the winning voters that sided with him earn a special dispensation adToken award.Thetopic.io is rejected from the adChain Registry, as shown in red in the Stage Map below.ConclusionIn this example, the domain thetopic.io applied to the adChain Registry and was rejected by the community because it was deemed to have too many ads loading on the page. Stacy and Steve lost their adToken deposit but, they have gained some valuable information from the community. They can now take action to improve the quality of thetopic.io by removing some of the ads on their page. Once they do, they can re-apply to the adChain Registry, and this time the community will be much more likely to vote thetopic.io into the registry.
18. 03. 27
Spotlight Series: adChain G...
Written by Hunter GebronThe ability to make changes is essential. Sometimes we make a change as an improvement to our lives and other times it is to yield to an outside force (like slowing down when a police officer pulls you over for speeding). In our personal lives making a change means making a decision and then taking some action.In large centralized organizations made up of many people, there needs to be a method or protocol in place before implementing something that will result in a systemic change to the organization as a whole. Sometimes the CEO will make the decision or perhaps its a board of directors. If an organization is more democratically oriented, it could hold a vote amongst all of its members to decide what to do.But in the absence of any centralized, hierarchical leadership to guide the decision-making process, how can a decentralized system like adChain provide a way for its participants to come to an agreement on what changes to make to the system?It would need to have a mechanism in place that provides the participants with a way to come to consensus on whether or not the change should be made, and the means by which they can implement it.This is why we built the adChain Governance Module.The adChain Governance Module provides a mechanism within our Dapp where all participants can propose changes to the adChain system and can vote on whether to implement those proposed changes or not.What changes can be made to the adChain Registry?There are a number of parameters that can be changed in the adChain Registry by using the Governance Module. The full list can be seen here.But taking one, applyStageLength, as an example, let’s say that the application stage length (the period of time an application is eligible to be challenged) is currently set in the adChain Registry for a duration of 2 weeks. However, if you feel that 2 weeks is much too long and would, therefore, like to see the length reduced to 24 hours. You can head over to the Governance Module and create a proposal to change the application stage length to 24 hours.If you are not alone in your thinking, then others will agree with you and join in to vote your proposal into effect. If your proposal receives a majority of votes, then it will be implemented, and the new application stage length will be set to a duration of 24 hours. This is decentralized governance in action!What are the means used to vote?The Governance Module relies on the same PLCR token-weighted voting system that the adChain Registry uses for curation. So, 1 vote = 1 adToken. New proposals to change the Registry’s parameters are proposed by using adToken. If the community considers a proposal to be bad, then they can issue a challenge, at which point a voting period will kick off where the community can vote to either support or oppose the proposed change.ConclusionBuilding a robust governance mechanism is a key step towards fostering a truly open and decentralized community. The adChain Governance Module ensures that the community has full control over the Registry’s parameters and can autonomously operate the Registry independent of any other entity. This is important because it removes the traditionally centralized decision making processes most organizations rely on.To see a full list of the parameters which can be changed in the adChain Registry and a more detailed breakdown of the Governance Module, please click here.Spotlight Series: adChain Governance was originally published in MetaX Publication on Medium, where people are continuing the conversation by highlighting and responding to this story.
18. 03. 20
Spotlight Series: adToken R...
Written by Hunter GebronThis Spotlight Series highlighting important aspects of the adChain Registry will be published weekly until the April deployment of the adChain Registry to the Ethereum Mainnet.The idea of Token Curated Registries (TCR’s) is starting to gain traction. A token that’s value is tied directly to the contents of a curated list makes sense to people. The contents of the list could theoretically be anything:The best colleges in the countryThe worst restaurants in New York CityThe most attractive dogs on the planetOr in adChain’s case, a list of websites best suited for serving digital adsBut aside from the primary goal of the adChain Registry — to arrive at a curated list of top quality websites serving digital advertisements. There are more immediate benefits for users actively engaged in the curation process, such as adToken rewards.Rewards Make People HappyThere’s no denying it, whether it be in the form of airline miles or discount points at the grocery store, earning rewards make people happy. That is why we built a rewards system into the adChain Registry.Because if you play the game well, you should win something, right?Here’s how it worksApplicants and Challengers battle head-to-head in the adChain Registry.Applicants are vying to get into the registry and Challengers are trying to keep them out!The prize that is up for grabs is the adToken deposit each has staked. We can think of it in poker terms as their buy-in. Or in Western times as a good old fashion bounty.Lets Vote!The bout between Applicants and Challengers is ultimately decided by the adToken community through voting.By using adToken, anyone can vote (1 vote = 1 adToken). So if you vote with 1,000 adToken, then that counts as 1,000 votes.After the timed voting period has ended, it’s time to reveal the winner. Will it be the Applicant or will it be the Challenger? That depends on which of them received the most votes.If the Applicant has the most votes, then they are the winner, and the website they’ve applied is added to the registry. As their reward for winning, a part of the Challengers deposited stake is forfeited to them as a bounty.Likewise, if the Challenger wins, then the website the Applicant applied gets rejected from the registry. As their reward for winning, a part of the Applicants deposited stake gets forfeited to them as a bounty.Do the voters get anything!?Of course! Voters receive adToken rewards if they voted on the winning side. A part of the deposited stake forfeited from the loser is also dispersed proportionally to voters on the winning side.The below illustration shows how adToken is dispersed following a Challenger victory:Remember To Vote Judiciously!As a final reminder, while earning adToken rewards is great; applying, challenging and voting should not be taken lightly. The overall value of adToken is dependent on the quality of listings in the registry. So do your homework and make sure that you play smart! The most important thing is curating a high-quality list of websites for serving digital advertisements, one that the industry can use. All else should be considered secondary.To learn more about earning adToken rewards click here!To access the adChain Registry in beta on the Rinkeby testnet click here!Spotlight Series: adToken Rewards was originally published in MetaX Publication on Medium, where people are continuing the conversation by highlighting and responding to this story.
18. 03. 13
Going Peer-to-Peer: Dramati...
On February 27, 2018, Mike Goldin delivered this talk at the Blockchain Xplore educational conference at the Microsoft Conference Center in New York City. It covers his vision for the adChain project as it approaches its mainnet launch date in April, and the necessity of a public blockchain to realizing that vision.Who here is an advertiser or someone who works on the demand side? Keep your hands up if you think you have ever bought a non-human impression. Okay, thank you. Now who is on the supply side? Keep your hands up if you think you have ever sold a non-human impression.In web advertising, billions of dollars are stolen every year. Probably tens of billions. Perhaps a greater share of the overall ad spend than anyone in the industry is willing to admit, because if advertisers knew what was really going on they would stop spending so much money in this way and many of us might be without jobs.Increasingly, advertisers do know what’s going on. Or at least they seem to be developing the same terrible feeling in the pits of their stomachs which I began to develop relatively early in my involvement with this space: that programmatic supply chains are completely untrustworthy, that the scaling up of web advertising since its inception cannot be fully accounted for, and that the proportion of that scale deriving from non-human traffic might be terrifyingly substantial.There’s this thing going on right now where advertisers are telling their suppliers to shape up, because they don’t want their family-friendly brand content showing up on offensive properties, or next to offensive content. They’re gonna pull the budget! This sudden moral crisis spurred by the rise of fake news I think is the convenient malady which executives controlling advertising budgets can point to while standing on moral authority as to why they suddenly need to control their ad spend much more carefully. In reality, everyone has known for a long time that the web is a super gross and messed up place, but CMOs can use this moment as an excuse to reign in their ad spend dramatically without admitting that they have been throwing billions of dollars into the void for decades buying impressions for non-humans! Suddenly, they’re worried the boss is going to find out!Most people here are probably not advertisers, most of us are downstreamers. Downstreamers as in downstream from the money. The advertisers toss dollars into the river, we all fish out as many as we can while leaving just enough for whoever’s downstream of us that we can credibly claim, should an audit ever be conducted, that we actually used the funds in service of sourcing impressions. In exchange for us letting some money float downstream to the next party, they pass back a little “unverified truth” about what they did with the money. At the end of this river are publishers. The publisher’s role is to return the ultimate proof that an impression was viewed by a real human, but nobody can really audit these attestations, and they’re all we have to rely on. This isn’t like telephone where we start with the truth and then lose it — we often will start with a falsehood, and then it’s still telephone anyway.Because advertising is a volume business for downstreamers, however, a lot of the supply chain turns a blind eye to this. For them, it’s better to collect a 1% rent on a billion dollar spend than a million dollar spend, regardless of how inefficiently that spend is being allocated.If you’re an executive with an ad budget, and you want more budget to increase the size of your corporate fiefdom, you need to prove that the million dollars you spent last year exceeded the KPIs and that untapped mindshare is being left on the table because the spend isn’t big enough. In a way, you don’t mind turning a blind eye either because it lets you provide inflated numbers to your CEO with plausible deniability. But you’re also nervous the CEO might find out what’s really going on, and then you either have to admit you knew you were throwing money into a pit all along, or pretend that you’re just incompetent.Publishers drive all this. If you’re a publisher and you can make a penny per thousand impressions, and it only costs half a penny to buy a thousand impressions worth of traffic from a bot farm, and the odds of you getting caught are one in a billion, and the odds of facing any consequences if you are caught are miniscule because you’re in a country that isn’t going to be bothered to prosecute international cyber crime when the victims are mostly from countries your government has poor relationships with anyway and so to them it just looks like a nice cash transfer into their own economy… You’re going to do that all day.A criminal (or “alternative entrepreneur”, you might say) can spin up some website that looks like a news website. They’ll even run a little daemon on the server that generates new content periodically throughout the day. These bots are pretty good! They can generate timely stories based on what’s happening on Twitter, say. But everything they generate is just artificial regurgitation of whatever else is trending on twitter, which means they artificially regurgitate a bunch of fake news. That’s a different problem. The point is you can generate a website that looks real but which in reality has zero human readership.With this website you’re going to join some ad network, which might have like 5% real traffic, and this ad network is plugged into a few exchanges. The ad network isn’t going to audit you very carefully because they’re making money on volume. If you’re not egregious, you can play. If you as a buyer go through a US-based exchange, they’re completely unregulated and making money on volume also. They might do a cursory audit of whatever ad network wants to join their supply pool, and if it looks real enough and will add volume, they’re happy. Now advertisers are buying it.And if you don’t like this version of the story, do you know how easy it is to get a Google AdSense account?This is all about incentives, so let’s just briefly notice what user incentives look like here. You’re enjoying free content on the web, but these terrible advertisements are annoying you, slowing your computer down, chewing up your data, playing sounds, creeping you out by stalking you with reminders to buy whatever you left in your Amazon cart, mining cryptocurrency in your browser… Ads are malware. So you block them. You still get the web for free, but now your privacy isn’t being invaded and your computer doesn’t get hot when you go to forbes.com.Ad blocking is an existential threat to web advertising. It happens on the client, so at best you’re gonna get endless cat and mouse if you want to devise a technical workaround. Blockers for the most part have the moral high ground, because ads are so invasive. So real humans are going to be running ad blockers, and you’re left with the bots. Nice market. Self-regulation has worked really well here.This whole industry might be a house of cards. It’s potentially massively fraudulent.I think regulation is a lazy answer. In web advertising in particular, a lot of regulation would be hard to enforce since the web is huge and international. Governments of the world aren’t going to come together to fight click fraud. But that’s okay, because technology exists now with which we can actually change the underlying incentive system of web advertising by completely reimaging how supply chains work.Quick recap, what are the problems in supply chains today?Opacity means everyone can plausibly deny knowing that there was fraud in the supply they sold.Because there are so many black boxes between a buyer and a seller, advertisers can’t effectively audit publishers because they simply don’t know who they are.The structure of programmatic ad commerce aligns incentives against social goods in this way. It makes fraud not just easy but rational. You don’t want to know how the sausage gets made in ad tech.Let’s imagine a different world. What if advertisers always knew, with perfect certainty, exactly who they were buying from on a per-impression basis? What if publishers could be held accountable to the quality and veracity of data they provide?If an advertiser knows who they are buying from, they can price risk. This is something that their intermediaries should be doing for them right now, but because of the bad incentives we talked about earlier, they’re not. If they were, DSPs would never ever buy ad networks and exchanges would never list ad networks. Because of the plausible deniability thing and the volume-centric profit motive, there’s really only going to be a bare minimum of that. That chief marketing officer who wanted to increase their budget and was willing to turn a blind eye to fraud to do that? In the fantasy world where advertisers do really know exactly who they’re buying from there would be no remove between a CMO and accountability for what is being purchased. Plausible deniability is gone. The CMO cannot say they were deceived in choosing exactly what impressions to buy. The CMO now has nobody to blame if the CEO finds out they’ve been buying bot traffic. Malfeasant or incompetent, which will it be?So in this fantasy world where we have both really good information and a really good incentive to use it, what happens? Incentives have changed. Advertisers begin discriminating in what sites they’ll buy impressions from. As a thought experiment, what’s a simple filter you might apply just as a first pass to start eliminating fraud in the supply you buy? Maybe you only serve ads to the Alexa majestic million. That seems reasonable to me. Any site not in the top million is a mom and pop at best. Not saying they’re all fraudulent, but there’s gonna be a lot of fraud in that category. First pass.You can do as many passes of this as you want, trying to apply filters that will omit fraud while blacklisting as few high quality sites as possible. If you want to be really good at this, you would still use filters, but you might introduce exceptions to make sure that certain sites you know are high quality which might otherwise get filtered out keep their spot on your list. Advertising will still be a volume game, but the dominant incentive will be for advertisers to find volume rather than for suppliers to fake volume, since when publishers know that their buyers know who they are, that one in a billion billion discovery chance becomes only as good as their scam artistry. The jurisdictional thing would still be a problem, but attribution would not. Weighing these factors is part of the risk pricing advertisers would be empowered to do.Doing this filter research is work, and data about site credibility would certainly be a hot commodity since advertisers do still want to broadcast their messages to as wide an audience as possible. The best list would be the whitelist of sites that report impression data with the highest degree of accuracy, such that decisions about what categories and consumers to buy could be made by the advertiser at the impression level. Building these lists or acquiring them from service providers is a cost of doing business for advertisers, but they’re still going to be saving a lot of money in this new world because there’s far less fraud.For publishers, the game now becomes to proactively endeavor to get listed in the most important whitelists, which would probably be a small number of baseline known non-fraudulent lists produced by large firms as products or curated in an open-source manner. What would it take to get a listing as a publisher? Well, the market would decide. If you’re a firm producing one of these lists, that list’s quality is your product, and you’re going to do your best to balance rigor and the drive for reach in curating your list. Advertisers will decide based on a firm’s reputation what lists they want to buy, so these firms will always be in competition with one another to produce the best lists. An open-source list could exist, provided there were proper incentives for the curators to curate it well.So as the free market competes itself into a frenzy to produce the best whitelists possible, new best practices will emerge in reporting standards. There will be a natural drive for publishers to satisfy those standards so that they can get listed, and charge a premium for their CPMs. We get a market for honesty.Could we do this? How could we get to a place where advertisers know exactly who they’re buying ads from? How could we dramatically simplify programmatic supply chains?Well, what if we could get rid of supply chains entirely and connect advertisers to publishers directly? That would let advertisers know exactly who they were buying ads from, and would dramatically simplify programmatic supply chains. Could we do that with lists? Sure we could.Imagine you’re a publisher. You subscribe to a list of high-quality advertisers who aren’t going to serve inappropriate or invasive content to your users. What does this list actually contain? Say you trust the list at face value, what you need then are DNS names (ads.coca-cola.com) where you can send RTB bid requests. RTB is real-time bidding, it’s just a standard way of serializing or formatting bid requests. The list you need is a list of DNS names for trusted advertiser bidders, where when I say “bidder” I mean a bidder server that’s going to be listening for bid requests on some known port or route. So you’ve got the numbers for a bunch of advertisers, and now you can call them up whenever you have an impression to sell them!If we stop here, we’ve just created a new direct route for botters to scam advertisers. Botter calls up, says “hey, this is the New York Times, I have an impression for you!” and the advertiser immediately has to hang up because it’s probably not really the New York Times. Advertisers would never consent to being cold-called in this way, because 99% of those calls would be fraud. Simple domain spoofing. We need to give advertisers a means of authenticating that the inbound bid requests they are receiving are non-fraudulent. There would be two steps to this.First, the advertisers themselves need a list of non-fraudulent publishers. And to be specific, they need a list of DNS names for publisher ad servers. So Coke is running a bidder at ads.coca-cola.com, and the New York Times is running an ad server (the thing that makes bid requests and processes bid responses) at ads.nytimes.com. This way, when Coke’s bidder gets a call from some random ad server, it can say “is this caller in my contact list? Do I know them?” and if they do, if the publisher is in the trusted list, they can pick up the phone. That’s step one.Step two, we need to make sure the person calling is who they say they are. For this we can do some sort of mutual TLS scheme. We could establish a convention where, for example, publishers who want to participate in this scheme store a “CERT” record in their DNS listing, and have to sign a challenge message provided by the advertiser. That’s just an example, there are a number of ways authentication could be implemented.So now we have a system where advertisers get to talk directly to publishers, and where both sides have strong cryptographic proofs of authenticity on all the messages that they exchanged. There is no more blind faith in opaque supply chains with track records of lying. We know exactly who we’re dealing with, and both parties have mutual records of exactly what the other said on a per-impression basis.Just to round this story out: the publisher blasted out bid requests to all the advertisers on their list. Advertisers authenticated the publisher who sent the bid request, and some may have chosen to send responses. Others may have said, “you are who you say you are, and I trust you, but I don’t want this impression anyway”. The publisher selects the bid they like best, serves the ad and the tracking beacon fires.A lot depends here on the quality and maintenance of these lists. It would be bad if a company providing a list was taking kickbacks to admit fraudulent sites. It would be bad if the company was not responsive in investigating allegations of misbehavior by entities that it was listing. It would be bad if the company went out of business and its customers were left with stale lists until they could sign a new contract and integrate with a new list provider. This system works if we have really high quality lists that are continuously curated, and reliable.Earlier, I talked about firms competing to produce the best lists. The presence of competition should itself mitigate some of these bad behaviors or outcomes. If one list provider is putting out a low quality product for any reasons, its customers will go somewhere else. What would the peak predator of list-making look like in such a market? Who could put anybody else out of business providing the ultimate list? How do we build the best list possible, that would work for web scale? Let’s imagine a system, lets talk about building a list of publishers.As a list provider you need to make money so that you can have employees to continuously curate your list, vet new applicants or maybe go out and hunt for candidates depending on how your business is structured, and you probably need to bill either advertisers who are consuming the list, or publishers who want to be on the list, or both. I think the provider which wins the market here is the one which gives away its list for free to consumers, and bills publishers to apply for consideration. Advertisers are the ones who pay, and if we can give them something for free some of them might try it out, and that will entice publishers to apply for consideration because if they get listed, then long term they can make back their application fee in the new revenue they otherwise would have been locked out from. So the winner here I think is giving their list away for free, totally open-sourcing it, and billing publishers to apply for listings because they have an incentive to be listed.Now, this business may have something of a problem. Let’s say it’s super successful, and all of the credible properties have been listed. After that initial glut, if you’re not billing advertisers, then your revenues are reduced to a trickle as new credible properties emerge slowly over time. You might start billing advertisers for access to the list, or you might start billing publishers on a subscription basis to stay on the list, or if neither of those worked you might just choose to go out of business. Which would suck for your customers, because then the list goes stale. Listed entities can start defrauding people and there’s nobody to investigate claims or coordinate a response. It’s every advertiser for themselves… Again.We want a list that never goes stale and never becomes unavailable, and which ideally drives costs as close to zero as possible, because that’s how capitalism works and we might as well just rush to the endgame now. So let’s create an organization that can’t go out of business. Lets create an organization that has no employees, no operating costs, not even server costs to host the list. That sounds easy, right? How would that work?Well, let’s imagine such a list exists. Advertisers are using it to authenticate publishers, and publishers who are listed are getting a premium for their CPMs relative to publishers whose impressions are only exposed through opaque supply chains. So if such a list existed it would be valuable to advertisers, because it helps them source credible supply, and being listed on it would be valuable to publishers because they can charge a premium for their CPMs. Publishers are willing to pay to be considered for listing, but who is the curator here if there’s no company?Just for kicks, let’s say that once upon a time when the list first began, I was the curator. And what I did was I made this kind of monopoly money which I would sell to anyone who wanted some. The reason someone might want some is that it’s the only payment I will accept to consider you for curation into this list. So at time zero my fake money isn’t worth very much because this system is very experimental, maybe I’ve convinced a few advertisers to try it out and maybe I’ve fronted some of my monopoly money to a few publishers to convince them to try it out.But after a few months, it looks like this is kind of working. Its created a reliable revenue stream for listed publishers, and advertisers are happy with the transparency of this supply chain. Now interest is becoming more organic. It appears less risky, so there’s more demand for my monopoly money, and I can charge more for it. The price to actually apply I can adjust down. So if it cost 100 monopoly money to apply when I first started doing this, and I was charging one dollar per fake money, but now demand is such that I am charging two dollars per fake money, I can adjust the application cost down to 50 fake money. So the USD cost of an application stays the same, but my net worth on paper is going up. The pile of monopoly money I created is now valued at twice as much as it was originally.I’m pretty happy. If I keep doing a good job by keeping fraudulent publishers off my list, interest in my list is going to continue growing. Demand for my fake money will continue to grow, and my net worth will increase, which makes me feel good. Now it’s worth mentioning that publishers might not be the only entities interested in acquiring this fake money. This fake money is appreciating in value as I do a good job of curating the list. Somebody might look at this project and say “man, this thing is going to be huge and it hasn’t even penetrated one percent of the market yet! I want some of this fake money today because it’s going to be more valuable tomorrow!” And I’d be happy to sell to them. I don’t care who owns the money. Fundamental demand comes from publishers, and as long as I keep advertisers happy by curating the list judiciously, they’ll keep buying. If other people want to buy also that’s fine by me. I just like making money.Then I get hit by a bus.But that’s okay, our list is going to be just fine! Because those people who bought my fake money have an incentive to see their fake money continue appreciating in value rather than go to zero, which it would if the list went stale because it would stop being useful for advertisers and so publishers would stop acquiring monopoly money to apply to it. There won’t be any more fundamental demand if the quality of the list doesn’t stay high. So these purchasers have an incentive to step in and take up the mantle if they weren’t participating already. This is why we have to use an application-specific monopoly money, because it decentralizes the incentive to maintain the system over a large number of people who can coordinate around a single idea: protecting and growing the value of their holdings.But I’m dead, so how do they come in and take over my system? Well, I architected my system in a certain way, you see. The monopoly money I was using was all digital. I signed one billion unique files with a private key, and my server will actually accept input from anybody who has valid monopoly money. If you bought monopoly money from me, I signed them to you, meaning you can now sign them to other people, or to the server, which itself can sign them back to other people. And anybody holding the monopoly money can follow the signature chain all the way back to the original signer, me, to prove that they’re not forgeries. So as far as my server is concerned, you’re just fine. It never cared about me, it only cared about my monopoly money.Quick recap: we have unforgeable digital monopoly money which anybody can verify the provenance of without needing to access a central banking server of any sort. We have a server that anybody possessing this monopoly money can interact with, either as an applicant or as a curator. And we have this incentive scheme where people who have purchased the monopoly money want to use their curation rights to keep the list quality as high as possible such that demand for their money stays high and its value appreciates, or at least doesn’t decline in value. That’s what we have so far.But now I’m dead, so my AWS bill stops being paid and the server eventually goes offline. Also, when I was alive, nothing would have stopped me from secretly creating more monopoly money. Only I could do that, because I had the private key with which it was originally created and against which it is authenticated, but people who were buying this monopoly money as investments, thinking they were getting some defined slice of a finite pie, would be unhappy to discover that I had been secretly inflating the money supply behind their back. This is how the US Dollar works.So we don’t want our server to go offline, and we don’t want anybody to be able to create new money, not even me if I hadn’t been hit by a bus. That second problem we could encode as software rules. I could have had the server create the money and give it to me at time zero, and then not have included any logic for creating more, and open-sourced that software for all to see. But even if I did that, you can’t actually prove that’s the software which is running on the server itself.So we need some kind of compute platform where our software will live forever, and where the software is totally transparent to anyone using it, meaning you can read the source code and verify that program is the one you’re interacting with. For that we can use something called a blockchain, in particular a programmable blockchain, and even more specifically a programmable public blockchain. Blockchains are computers where anybody in the world can compete to get to make an update to the computer’s state (this is called “mining”). Blockchains have this very useful incentive game where every time a miner wins the game and gets to make an update to the computer, they also get to create a small amount of their own monopoly money that all the miners share which, if you as a user want to update the computer, have to include some of this monopoly money as a fee. And so miners have this nice incentive where they want the computer to behave reliably such that people want to use it and the value of their monopoly money goes up. Interestingly, the more miners are participating in this, the harder it is for any of them to misbehave. If we use a vibrant public blockchain that hosts lots of applications, users of our applications can be assured that it will always be available even if I gets hit by a bus. And I mentioned that anyone can be a miner, absolutely anyone, and that means anyone can inspect the state of this computer and see exactly what any particular program on it looks like at the source code level.So let’s put our list on that instead. Now we can prove things about the money supply and if I get hit by a bus there’s no interruption of service. This is pretty good so far, and I think we’re hashtag winning, but we can do even a little bit better in creating the master list. So for good measure, as a final step, let’s drive the costs down as close to zero as possible. No subscriptions, no rents, no recurring fees, just the bare minimum of money moving necessary to incentivize people to make this work.So what’s up with these application fees that I’ve been talking about? We have no employees, so who collects these fees? I’ll be honest with you, I’ve been saying fees just so we could defer thinking about something until this moment in the talk. Let’s drop the whole idea of fees. Holders of the monopoly money are realizing upside by seeing demand for their money increase, they don’t need arbitrary revenue. At the same time, we can’t just let applications be free, because then publishers would just spam us, why not, it’s free, and that’s going to give the token holders trouble curating the list. Also, it would be nice to provide people with no capital to buy the monopoly money some means of acquiring it in exchange for useful work.What if instead of fees, applicants (publishers) made deposits? They make an application by putting down a deposit in monopoly money, and if they’re credible and would make the list more valuable by being in it, they can just keep that deposit locked up in the software for the duration of the listing, and if they ever decide being listed isn’t useful for them they can exit the list, withdraw their deposit, sell it and recoup some of their costs, or even make money depending on the market for the money. But to prevent spam we need to make it painful, financially, for people making ill-considered applications. What happens when somebody applies massivefraud.com?The way this application process actually works is that the publisher locks up some monopoly money, puts it at stake, and then people look at that applicant and say “Do I personally believe the list is more valuable with this applicant on it, or off it?” If I think the candidate would detract from the list’s quality, and I feel pretty confident that other people would agree with me, I’m going to challenge it by putting down a matching deposit using the same monopoly money, so now there’s two pots of money at stake. With the challenge initiated and two pots of money at stake, the money can vote. Now this is not one person one vote, this is one money one vote. People with more exposure to the money’s value have greater say in the curation process. People with the most to gain or lose by the list’s curation quality have the most say. What’s powerful about this is that only loose coordination is necessary, since all of our financial incentives are aligned. Any actor can take rational actions based on how they imagine other actors will rationally respond.So the vote happens and the loser’s deposit is going to be forfeited. This goes to the winner as a reward to compensate them for the capital they put at risk, and voters have defended the quality of their list and thereby the value of the money they hold. Notice too that the capital risk in this process that prevents application spam also prevents challenge spam. And remember that a publisher who gets listed has their deposit locked up for as long as they are listed, which means we can challenge them even after they’ve gotten their listing. If they get a listing and they decide to go rogue and abuse it for profit, we can challenge them out and confiscate their deposit. In fact, advertisers who might believe they have been defrauded by a listed entity can do this, and if they are justified, they can recover some of their loss totally in-band to the program without ever having to get a lawyer involved.This is how AdChain works. It is the peak predator of list-making powering a peer-to-peer ad economy. It extracts no unnecessary rents, and requires no trust in anybody’s honesty or goodness. It aligns the financial incentives of participants towards curating the highest quality list they can and making it available to anybody at no cost, and operating on an immutable, incentivized ledger which will outlive any of its applications.Now notice: we’re not putting any impressions on the blockchain, this is a low-throughput system that works well at blockchain speed. We’re not requiring end users use a special browser or have any idea that any of this is going on behind the scenes. We’re not requiring that publishers or advertisers use cryptocurrencies to pay one another, they can keep using US Dollars! Publishers just need a small amount of monopoly money for a one-time application process. And notice that we do this at the lowest possible cost, with zero overhead. If another list enters the scene it could compete by coming in with a lower deposit requirement, and if that deposit requirement suffices to incentivize curation, token holders can vote to lower their deposit requirement to match it.This simple thing, making lists in a transparent, trust-minimized way, opens the door to a peer-to-peer ad economy without middlemen, without opaque supply chains, and without tens of billions of dollars in fraud!We’ve talked a lot about publishers, there’s no time to talk about advertisers, but we’re going to curate that list with the same transparent, public process. That means users can have a say in what kinds of ads they are okay with seeing. If users don’t like coca-cola tracking them all over the Internet, they can form a coalition and summon the funds to boot them off! They can run ad blockers that permit only ads from listed advertisers because those advertisers serve ads that support publishers but are small, respect privacy and don’t mine cryptocurrency in users’ browsers! And if they violate that trust users can remove them and receive a financial reward for doing so!A system like this could be the people’s fist against surveillance capitalism. There could be a peer-to-peer ad network, owned by the Internet. There could be an ad network accountable to its participants. There could be an ad network that admits no fraud. There could be a people’s ad network, and this is how I would build it.Going Peer-to-Peer: Dramatically Simplifying Programmatic Supply Chains was originally published in MetaX Publication on Medium, where people are continuing the conversation by highlighting and responding to this story.
18. 03. 08