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Banking on Blockchain

Banking on Blockchain

Natasha Smith

Natasha Smith

April 24, 2018

It’s a major, major opportunity

As Head of Havas Blockchain, Fabien Aufrechter makes bitcoin, initial coin offerings, and blockchain more digestible topics and explains how Havas will leverage these new technologies for brands.

 

Many people see blockchain as an alternative to traditional banking, but how might blockchain be an alternative solution in advertising for brands and marketers?

A blockchain is a digitized, decentralized, public, and transparent ledger of peer-to-peer transactions. Although commonly associated with Bitcoin and viewed as an alternative to traditional banking, blockchain technology has many other applications because it promises to build models without middlemen.

Among its use, is that blockchain technology will provide secured ecosystems for data, like digital vaults that will renew the usual trusted intermediaries, for example, between advertisers and their targets. Also, smart contracts will allow a full traceability of transactions: for example, advertisers will therefore be able to identify precisely where ads are positioned (even when positioned automatically), to measure the audience reached, and to fight against ad fraud, e.g., bots—all through display systems restricted to verified users.

Blockchain technology will allow marketers to build customer profiles directly from customers by obtaining whatever information they are willing to share. This will improve marketing plans because clients will no longer pay with actual money but with their time and attention.

In simple terms, what’s an initial coin offering (ICO)?

ICOs are fundraising mechanisms for new projects that sell tokens in exchange for cryptocurrencies. The tokens do not mean an ownership stake in the project, but rather are like a key to the service after it is built. Therefore, crypto investors are participating in funding projects in exchange for being able to use them after they have been created.

Why might a company want to enlist outside expertise to launch an ICO?

When launching an ICO, several supports are needed. The first is a strategic one in preparation for the project. Second is a technical one, for building the blockchain infrastructure or, at least, developing the smart contracts on which the project will be based. Third is a legal and audit support to ensure that the project respect, the law in all the markets where it will be deployed. Fourth is a communication support (PR, E-PR, social-media, bounty…) for building the reputation of the project and driving crypto-investors to buy your tokens. Last but not least, a KYC support to ensure the source of funds.

While teams launching ICOs are always experts in the business they are developing, they are usually not PR professionals, lawyers, or ICOs experts. So they are looking for such complementary supports. That is why we are giving these teams full complementary support on an international scale.

"It has an application for advertising, but it can also be helpful for securing supply chains in all sectors..."

What positives might the world of cryptocurrency bring to advertising?

Potential benefits of blockchain for advertising include increased efficiency, transparency of the supply chain, cost reduction, and the elimination of fraud. This is huge when we know that today (2018) 40% of ad traffic is from bots resulting in $19 billion in fraudulent business.

Are “blockchain,” “cryptocurrency,” and “ICO” more than just buzzwords? Are they fintech revolutions?

Blockchain is driving a revolution way beyond fintech; it is a transition from web 2.0 to web 3.0. It has an application for advertising, but it can also be helpful for securing supply chains in all sectors (for example, Carrefour Group secured the supply chain of its meat), for securing votes or cadasters, for certifying diplomas, for accelerating and improving reimbursements from insurance companies, for transforming loyalty programs, and so forth.

Cryptocurrencies and ICOs are also elements of a token economy, which is also creating a revolution because it allows with its new model for businesses and their funding ($5.6 billion raised in 2017 through ICOs).

What are the main challenges faced by the token economy?

The main challenge already faced by the token economy is one of regulation. Chinese and South Korean restrictions on cryptocurrency have had a major impact. And the US’s SEC has issued some of the most violent criticism about the token economy. Some countries are pioneers in passing flexible regulations (France being one). But the key to establishing sustainable national regulations for the token economy has not yet been found, so pedagogy remains very necessary.

How does the team at Havas Blockchain plan to impact this space?

Havas Blockchain is the first international and global communication solution for ICOs and blockchain projects. Our aim is to support initiatives developed in the token economy. The key to the token economy is reputation (because token prices are based on reputation). Our support is, therefore, one of a global and international communication agency: PR, E-PR, social media, roadshows, events, digital creation, and more. We are also able to support projects from their beginning (with strategy, technical support, legal accompaniment, etc.) with our partner, Blockchain Partner.

Advice for anyone wanting to learn about cryptocurrencies, blockchain, and ICOs?

First: don’t be scared. Blockchain is easy to understand when it is well explained. If you don’t understand,  that’s the fault of the people pitching you its concept.

Second: don’t believe any experts. The very best of them usually have very little experience because the token economy is brand new.

Last: start with easy readings about it that will simplify the concepts before starting to read more technical or biased information.

Any recent examples of how the world of cryptocurrencies can impact advertising?

I would just like to give you a short overview of our two first clients: Talao and SandBlock.

Talao is the first public Ethereum-based decentralized and autonomous platform dedicated to freelancing talent. It aims to give talent access to a huge panel of companies asking for their expertise, enables them to benefit from smart contract-based payments, and allows them to build a strong community-based reputation, thereby disrupting the traditional way the industry works by eliminating middlemen. We supported the $60M ICO of Talao by creating its messaging and its global and international PR (in Japan, Korea, Russia, Singapore, and the US) and its roadshow.

SandBlock is a tokenized service aiming at balancing and redefining the relationship between businesses and their customers by building a decentralized protocol to define, measure, and improve customer satisfaction for the benefit of both parties. We provided this $8M ICO (hardcap) with PR support.

As Head of Havas Blockchain, Fabien Aufrechter makes bitcoin, initial coin offerings, and blockchain more digestible topics and explains how Havas will leverage these new technologies for brands.

 

Many people see blockchain as an alternative to traditional banking, but how might blockchain be an alternative solution in advertising for brands and marketers?

A blockchain is a digitized, decentralized, public, and transparent ledger of peer-to-peer transactions. Although commonly associated with Bitcoin and viewed as an alternative to traditional banking, blockchain technology has many other applications because it promises to build models without middlemen.

Among its use, is that blockchain technology will provide secured ecosystems for data, like digital vaults that will renew the usual trusted intermediaries, for example, between advertisers and their targets. Also, smart contracts will allow a full traceability of transactions: for example, advertisers will therefore be able to identify precisely where ads are positioned (even when positioned automatically), to measure the audience reached, and to fight against ad fraud, e.g., bots—all through display systems restricted to verified users.

Blockchain technology will allow marketers to build customer profiles directly from customers by obtaining whatever information they are willing to share. This will improve marketing plans because clients will no longer pay with actual money but with their time and attention.

In simple terms, what’s an initial coin offering (ICO)?

ICOs are fundraising mechanisms for new projects that sell tokens in exchange for cryptocurrencies. The tokens do not mean an ownership stake in the project, but rather are like a key to the service after it is built. Therefore, crypto investors are participating in funding projects in exchange for being able to use them after they have been created.

Why might a company want to enlist outside expertise to launch an ICO?

When launching an ICO, several supports are needed. The first is a strategic one in preparation for the project. Second is a technical one, for building the blockchain infrastructure or, at least, developing the smart contracts on which the project will be based. Third is a legal and audit support to ensure that the project respect, the law in all the markets where it will be deployed. Fourth is a communication support (PR, E-PR, social-media, bounty…) for building the reputation of the project and driving crypto-investors to buy your tokens. Last but not least, a KYC support to ensure the source of funds.

While teams launching ICOs are always experts in the business they are developing, they are usually not PR professionals, lawyers, or ICOs experts. So they are looking for such complementary supports. That is why we are giving these teams full complementary support on an international scale.

"It has an application for advertising, but it can also be helpful for securing supply chains in all sectors..."

What positives might the world of cryptocurrency bring to advertising?

Potential benefits of blockchain for advertising include increased efficiency, transparency of the supply chain, cost reduction, and the elimination of fraud. This is huge when we know that today (2018) 40% of ad traffic is from bots resulting in $19 billion in fraudulent business.

Are “blockchain,” “cryptocurrency,” and “ICO” more than just buzzwords? Are they fintech revolutions?

Blockchain is driving a revolution way beyond fintech; it is a transition from web 2.0 to web 3.0. It has an application for advertising, but it can also be helpful for securing supply chains in all sectors (for example, Carrefour Group secured the supply chain of its meat), for securing votes or cadasters, for certifying diplomas, for accelerating and improving reimbursements from insurance companies, for transforming loyalty programs, and so forth.

Cryptocurrencies and ICOs are also elements of a token economy, which is also creating a revolution because it allows with its new model for businesses and their funding ($5.6 billion raised in 2017 through ICOs).

What are the main challenges faced by the token economy?

The main challenge already faced by the token economy is one of regulation. Chinese and South Korean restrictions on cryptocurrency have had a major impact. And the US’s SEC has issued some of the most violent criticism about the token economy. Some countries are pioneers in passing flexible regulations (France being one). But the key to establishing sustainable national regulations for the token economy has not yet been found, so pedagogy remains very necessary.

How does the team at Havas Blockchain plan to impact this space?

Havas Blockchain is the first international and global communication solution for ICOs and blockchain projects. Our aim is to support initiatives developed in the token economy. The key to the token economy is reputation (because token prices are based on reputation). Our support is, therefore, one of a global and international communication agency: PR, E-PR, social media, roadshows, events, digital creation, and more. We are also able to support projects from their beginning (with strategy, technical support, legal accompaniment, etc.) with our partner, Blockchain Partner.

Advice for anyone wanting to learn about cryptocurrencies, blockchain, and ICOs?

First: don’t be scared. Blockchain is easy to understand when it is well explained. If you don’t understand,  that’s the fault of the people pitching you its concept.

Second: don’t believe any experts. The very best of them usually have very little experience because the token economy is brand new.

Last: start with easy readings about it that will simplify the concepts before starting to read more technical or biased information.

Any recent examples of how the world of cryptocurrencies can impact advertising?

I would just like to give you a short overview of our two first clients: Talao and SandBlock.

Talao is the first public Ethereum-based decentralized and autonomous platform dedicated to freelancing talent. It aims to give talent access to a huge panel of companies asking for their expertise, enables them to benefit from smart contract-based payments, and allows them to build a strong community-based reputation, thereby disrupting the traditional way the industry works by eliminating middlemen. We supported the $60M ICO of Talao by creating its messaging and its global and international PR (in Japan, Korea, Russia, Singapore, and the US) and its roadshow.

SandBlock is a tokenized service aiming at balancing and redefining the relationship between businesses and their customers by building a decentralized protocol to define, measure, and improve customer satisfaction for the benefit of both parties. We provided this $8M ICO (hardcap) with PR support.

Natasha Smith is the strategic communications manager for Havas Group. She happily represents 404 in the 212.

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