The term "blockchain" has gone mainstream in recent months with the remarkable, record valuations of Bitcoin, the world's first cryptocurrency, dominating financial headlines. Blockchain, the cryptology technology behind Bitcoin, has spread beyond currency and is steadily disrupting other institutions such as healthcare and government. And when it comes to the global advertising industry, blockchain could represent the most groundbreaking change since the emergence of smartphones and social media, if not the internet itself.

The Opportunity in Advertising

Led by Google, Facebook and other internet giants, big data has dominated advertising trends over the past decade. Google reigns over paid search advertising market, and Facebook leads the game in display advertising. In fact, these two giants together own 60 to 70 percent of the digital advertising market share.

Despite the many advantages it has over traditional print and broadcast advertising, digital advertising, as it stands, isn't without some glaring flaws. The online advertising industry as a whole has garnered some negative attention for being less transparent than it should be. Computer bots also raise concerns, as they could be the ones viewing and engaging with ads rather than actual potential customers. In this environment, it's difficult for ad agencies or business owners to know if their ads are genuinely getting in front of their intended audiences. Could blockchain change that?

The simple answer is yes, and there's a strong case that blockchain will benefit both consumers and advertisers alike. First off, consumer data will be better protected because of added security with blockchain technology. This will limit demographic information from being sold without authorization, and consumers may even be able to own and sell their information to authorized companies.

For ad buyers, blockchain could eliminate much of the guesswork required to mount a campaign. Blockchain is transparent and encrypted, so it can stamp out empty bot clicks and other threats that can saturate a campaign. Advertisers will know that it's real people engaging with their ads, protecting the integrity of their campaign data and preventing wasted money in the long run. Trust and transparency are two elements vital to digital advertisers, and blockchain is likely the game-changing solution they need.

Trend is Already Beginning

So when will the blockchain revolution infiltrate the advertising industry? It's already here.

Just last month, agency network The Marketing Group launched the very first blockchain-enabled advertising agency. The company says their goal is to eliminate the spam-filled advertising tactics that dominate the current market.

Other companies see opportunities to promote more radical change. Algebraix Data, for example, has announced it's creating a Personal Secure Vault that will give consumers more choice on who has their data and what advertisements they see. According to the company, their vault will store consumer information securely and allow those consumers to sell their information to select advertisers.

The goal of blockchain-fueled advertising agencies is to put power back in the hands of consumers. Ad-blocking software has over 200 million users and counting, but blockchain technology could make these tools obsolete. Blockchain will allow consumers to take control of the ads they see and, hopefully, give advertisers a modern, sophisticated means to producing high quality leads.