The Privacy Revolution is Coming

Here at DMN we’ve covered data privacy a fair bit, and with good reason: as more and more companies become increasingly adept at gleaning customer behavior from data, it places consumers in an awkward position. How well do they want to be known? Is it right that brands know you better than you closest friends and family members? What does it say about society that we might not remember that 3AM purchase, but that transactional data lives forever?

It all boils down to this — do customers have the right to keep their data private? This question is being tested by the courts, but in the meantime, some companies seem to be committing to privacy on their own. DMN sat down with Luke Mulks, Director of Business Development at Brave, a new ad platform that doesn’t upload any customer data into the cloud.

Brave seeks to disrupt the ad-tech space as we know it, by only paying for attention paid by the consumers. By using blockchain technology, the new currency is not dollars but the Basic Attention Token, or BAT. Instead of middlemen soaking up the profits of web advertising, which slows down browsers and data with ads and trackers, the BAT is only issued to companies that get actual views on their ads. To ensure the experience is truly decentralized, none of this information is stored in the cloud.

Advertisers are showing early interest in this product, likely anticipating that this idea will take off in the near future. A wait list of over 500 advertisers to use Brave has sprouted up since January, with a cluster of active users who are currently testing out Brave’s capabilities through a developer channel. Mulks felt that this was a promising start, largely because of the innovative idea behind it.

“It’s really kind of turning the existing model on its head…if you have a platform where the user opts in and then can give data at will, you’re in a different situation than the current one where a user has to rely on opting out of things and remembering that when they clear their cookies that all those opt-outs are gone, and they gotta go do it all over again.”

Privacy is an integral part of Brave’s model. It’s not all about implementing shiny new technology for the sake of edging out the competition. Compliance with data regulation like GDPR is very much on Brave’s mind.

“There’s this macro movement of privacy going on around the world…I think there’s a real need for solutions that are private by design and compliant,” Mulks continued.

Blockchain has already made an appearance in the finance world, and that industry has made the necessary adjustments to accommodate it. But it may be increasingly relevant to marketers. It is quite possible that consumers may not only make purchasing decisions not only based on the best possible experience, but on the best possible experience that protects their privacy. Blockchain is relatively new, and the products surrounding it are still developing, but it may behoove marketers to learn more about its capabilities and applications from both the perspective of the advertiser and the consumer. As with most new technologies, blockchain doesn’t seem to be going anywhere, and will only become more entrenched in more and more products and services over time.

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