Blue Thinking: Cryptocurrency - Why Creatives Should Care

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INFLUENCER: JCDecaux's Nicola Spera explores Bitcoin and its place in the world of advertising in 2018
Blue Thinking: Cryptocurrency - Why Creatives Should Care

JCDecaux has added some more creative Italian flare to its Team Blue in the form of Nicola Spera, who joined as a Media and Creative Partner towards the end of 2017. In this article, Nicola looks at the most googled term of 2017 - ‘Bitcoin’ – and its place in the world of advertising in 2018. 



Cryptocurrencies: What the hell are they?

'Bitcoin', is one of the most googled terms of 2017, and the capital gains that the currency has delivered since its conception have so far attracted the attention of many investors. In spite of its recent price plummet, its forks and the numerous concerns raised about its actual usability in the real world, Bitcoin is undisputedly the most known and owned digital currency (as well as the most expensive), but it is worth noting that it’s not racing on its own. Indeed, as I am writing, there are over 1447 digital currencies being exchanged at any given time and that number just keeps on growing.

The proud owners of crypto looking for some long term gains (the HODLERS, as the crypto lingo goes) as well as the sceptical, should at least agree on the fact that we are indeed on the verge of a remarkable change. I am not just talking about the digital currencies per se, I am mainly referring to the technology empowering most of the currencies like Bitcoin, the blockchain. 


Blockchain is breaking the system - here comes the revolution.

In a nutshell (thank you, Wikipedia), the blockchain is a distributed digital ledger containing a continuously growing list of records (called blocks) which are linked and secured by cryptography. Once recorded, the data in any given block cannot be altered retroactively without the alteration of all subsequent blocks, which requires collusion of the network majority. So, in other words, whatever information is stored on the blockchain is validated by all the machines connected to the network and gets stored for good.

In the last couple of years, we have witnessed the birth of more and more real life applications for the distributed ledger. Asset management, cross-border payments, social media, insurance claims, smart contracts, identity backup and education are just some of the sectors that have experienced various attempts to get enriched by the new technology. Blockchain does possess the potential to solve existing problems, but only time will tell if any of these realities will eventually take off.


Advertising is under attack.

Advertising has not been spared by the blockchain charge, and quite frankly, the solutions it could provide are not to be underestimated. For instance, the digital ledger could help preventing fraud within online advertising by recognising bots simulating impressions in favour of real traffic. If a brand is, for example, paying for a certain amount of impressions to be achieved by an online campaign, the expected traffic should be made up of real people looking at the ad rather than by bots tinkering with the number of visits. Knowledge.io for instance, is one of the start-ups trying to solve this problem. 

Brave.com, a new browser created by the inventor of Javascript and co-founder of Mozilla, is also trying to shake the online advertising world by trying to get rid of the middlemen and allowing advertisers to pay their target audience directly rewarding their “mental effort” while viewing an ad.

Another way blockchain could prove useful within advertising would be by helping to build trust for brands through transparency. Buyers could easily check a product history before buying, from production, to storage and all the way to the retailer. This record would be open to everybody, set in stone and impossible to alter. Some companies, such as VChain, Babyghost and CarVertical, are already leveraging the blockchain technology to tell a true story about their products.

These above are just some of the paths currently explored within advertising, and I am really curious to see what the future holds. Of course, the bigger the adoption, the more disruptive the blockchain revolution will be.


OOH strives in revolutions.

The first Out-of-Home campaign for the first British cryptocurrency ever made has been recently launched in London. New blockchain companies are being launched as I write and as the technology behind them is getting more and more traction, I believe it is just a matter of time before we will see an increase in the number of campaigns launched via OOH. 

One of the obstacles cryptocurrencies and blockchain companies have to face before they can reach a true mass adoption is to become more user friendly and easier to access. More and more regular people need to understand cryptocurrencies and recognise the value of blockchain in order to adopt these technologies in their everyday life. Due to the way it is structured and its presence in the real world, OOH could really help fill this gap as it will be the perfect (and decentralised) tool to carry the message from the early adopters to the rest of the people going about their day in the outside world.

I am really looking forward to seeing what is going to happen next. Whether a tech company wants to promote an ICO (initial coin offering) to get crowdfunded, advertise their new tokens, launch their blockchain-powered services, make a statement, spark conversation, disrupt the industry or simply get noticed OOH is the ideal platform to do that because you simply cannot ‘skip it’. 

Team Blue is embracing this revolution as we strongly believe that chaos fuels creativity! Want to carry on the conversation? Email Nicola.Spera@JCDecaux.com. 



Nicola Spera is Media and Creative Partner at JCDecaux's Team Blue
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