by Amy Biemiller
Cryptocurrency may or may not be on your radar. But blockchain — the technology behind cryptocurrency — should be.
Blockchain has important implications for business and communication, outside of its impact on the financial sector. Content marketers need to be prepared. Here’s your quick tutorial:
What is Blockchain?
Blockchain is an advanced record-keeping technology. It was built as a self-auditing log to keep track of Bitcoin digital currency. Because transactions are recorded and stored cryptographically in a decentralized network (there is no middleman that can alter it), it provides a transparent and unalterable way to keep track of who owns a given Bitcoin. A block is a piece of digital information. A chain is the public data base the block is stored on.
How Does Blockchain Work?
Blockchain guarantees the validity of a transaction through a record on a main register. The main register is connected to a distributed system of registers, which are all connected through a secure validation mechanism. It is a self-auditing ecosystem that checks and rechecks itself every 10 minutes. Because it is widely distributed (there are about 5 million computers on the Bitcoin blockchain), it is considered unalterable. It would take a massive amount of computing power to override the entire distributed network.
How Could Blockchain Be Used in The Real World?
Blockchain technology has great potential in revolutionizing banking, healthcare, supply chains and more. That’s because it is a:
Consider this futuristic application. Chicken A is hatched and its birth data (hatching location, date, time) are recorded on the block chain. Each time it is fed, that food type and amount is recorded. The chicken’s health data (vaccinations, weight, age) are recorded on the blockchain. Each egg it lays is recorded, as is when the egg is collected, processed, shipped and arrives at the local grocery store. By logging into the blockchain, you could trace the transport of your breakfast egg and check if is truly organic and fresh.
Aside from supply chain utility, blockchain can also make patient health records more easily shareable by patients, doctors and healthcare workers, while more securely guarding patient privacy. It can enhance transparency in government services. It can decentralize news journalism to prevent government control. And, it can support content marketing.
How Does Blockchain Relate to Content Marketing?
Blockchain is all well and good for logistics scenarios as in the example above. But how could it be used in content marketing? Blockchain will likely first disrupt the current digital display landscape. That’s because blockchain will provide consumers full control of their personal data, which will be encrypted and protected. Today that data is collected by ISPs and web browsers and made available to marketers at a price.
In the new blockchain landscape, consumers could voluntarily decide what content and ads they want to see and marketers will contract with consumers directly for access to their personal information and approval to serve them ads. Content will need to deliver real, authentic value to consumers. And there is an upside for marketers: Blockchain will enable better consumer profile building and assure marketers that their ads are being seen by actual consumers and driving conversions.
Similarly, blockchain could decentralize the influencer marketplace, allowing marketers to connect directly to social media influencers. It would allow marketers to directly verify an influencer’s status as a true ambassador of the brand. It would also verify that social media followers are actual consumers and not bots.
Sound confusing? Remember that in 1994, most people couldn’t really define what the internet was, or think how they could use it in daily life and business. Blockchain has promise to follow the same path, offering numerous advantages for both marketers and consumers.