Thursday, March 30, 2017
Interview with Ken Brook, On MetaX And How Blockchain Can Save Ad Tech
What's wrong with the online advertising industry? Transparency, fraud, and a lot of other problems--all of which can be fixed, says Ken Brook, the CEO of Los Angeles-based MetaX (www.metaxchain.com), which is using Blockchain--the protocol behind Bitcoin--and applying it to the ad industry. We spoke with Ken to learn more about the company.
What is MetaX?
Ken Brook: MetaX is a development studio, where we build Blockchain-based protocols and decentralized applications. Our team has transitioned to MetaX. Initially, we were focused on adtech, but we have split up our team and initiated based on deploying our Blockchain-based protocol, called adChain.
How did you get involved with Blockchain?
Ken Brook: We got involved two years ago, in an exploratory way, more than anything. We were just launching one of our previous startups, VidRoll, working on video training and video advertising, we started seeing all of the problems that the video and general ad industry was facing. They were facing problems with transparency and fraud, just to name a few of the problems. What drives our team, and what our passion is, is to solve problems. We started looking at different kinds of technology to solve the problems were were seeing in the online ad industry, and started looking at Bitcoin and its underlying technology, Blockchain. Because Blockchain's technology is deigned to solve unique problems like transparency and security, using cryptography, we started to explore that as a solution, and we began figuring out how we could bring Blockchain to the online advertising industry.
Ken Brook: Essentially, it's appealing, because it allows everyone to use the ad chain to ally incentives. What I mean by that, is the way the adChain protocol works, is it works with existing ad-tech systems, by tracking performance and data. Because adChain is decentrally owned, when you are tracking data using the protocol, you don't have to trust a centralized, for-profit business for the information on an advertising campaign. The fundamental advantage of using Blockchain, is you are referencing data that is secure and immutable, and is not ownd by anybody. We like to call it a coordination platform. Everyone in the industry is able to coordinate using this Blockchain-based protocol.
Is there a need for this, given there is already a very well established ecosystem there in the ad world which doesn't understand how to use Blockchain?
Ken Brook: Part of our job at MetaX is educating the industry. We just started the conversation. We've just started talking about our initiative, and how to bring Blockchain to the industry. We've been back channeling and navigating this for awhile, ever since we started to tinker with this two years ago. We've been coding for the past twelve months, and talking to major industry players for the past six to eight months. We have a number of partnerships I can't disclose yet, and where we'll be making announcements in the near future, but there's a lot of support around Blockchain and adChain, because of the value it brings. We've been talking about that value, and we fell that will drive adoption. If we don't change things, and if you're not Facebook or Google, then you'll have a tough time to survive in this ecosystem, because of issues like fraud and the lack of trust, changing standards, interoperability issues, and billing discrepancies. It's a nightmare. This is a protocol that allows not only for coordination, but efficiency, and gives you the ability to trust the industry you operate in, and be successful and independent of Google and Facebook.
Tell us a little bit about your team?Ken Brook: We mainly consist of a team of engineers with a background in gaming, finance, and adtech. Our CTO, James Young, was at Zynga, and was an early engineer that launched Farmville. He was one of the pioneers of social gaming and scaling infrastructure. He had previously also been at the startup Playviews. Myself, I am on the business side, and I'm not an engineer. I have been in adtech for about five years now, and had previous startups in streaming media, with VidRoll, and now MetaX and adChain. We have a lot going on, but we have a great team.
How are you funding this?
Ken Brook: We're self funded, and we're currently looking for potential outside capital, through a traditional institutional round or a new more unique fund raising opportunity where we could actually do what is called token launch. That's a method, you probably haven't heard of, for raising money for launching cryptocurrencies like Bitcoin.
Finally, what's next for the company?
Ken Brook: We just announced MetaX, and we are currently in private beta with our adChain protocol. We are working with a few partners, and will be making future announcements around the value of the protocol. We'll be looking to on-board new partners, and in the near future, showcase the value of the protocol, and hopefully continue to gain industry adoption and awareness of what Blockchain really is, and the value of the Blockchain protocol for the online advertising industry. It's all about increasing awareness.