Four to being financially compensated for their

Four Ways the Blockchain Will Disrupt Digital MediaBy Alex LielacherDigital media is one of the fastest-growing industries in the world. The integration of technology with content creation and mass communication has resulted in a new form of media that is global, social and easily accessible.However, there are challenges plaguing digital media, with concerns ranging from data security, infringement of privacy and massive financial losses due to increasing advertising fraud, among others.Blockchain technology is being recognized as a revolutionary technology that will impact a wide range of industries by increasing operational efficiencies, decreasing costs and enhancing transparency and security. Digital media is one of these industries that the blockchain will impact.1. New Monetization Avenues for Social Media PlatformsSocial media platforms have enabled businesses and individuals to create, publish and distribute content for anyone in the world to see. However, more often than not, digital content creators find themselves at the short end of the stick when it comes to being financially compensated for their work.The integration of blockchain technology and cryptocurrency micropayments into social media platforms can create new monetization models for content creators who are often not fairly compensated for the publishing of their intellectual property, as demonstrated by YouTube’s recent ad revenue structure change.The leading blockchain-powered social media platform Steemit shows how the combination of blockchain technology and cryptocurrency can benefit content creators. Steemit is a platform that combines social media and intellectual property protection. The blockchain-based platform allows people to publish content for which they can be rewarded in cryptocurrency if other users like and upvote their content. This ensures that content creators posting articles, videos and images receive an adequate reward in relation to how popular their content becomes.2.Enhanced Data Safety, Privacy and ControlWith the general public becoming more and more wary about their privacy, concerns over the data collected through search engines and smart devices are at an all-time high.It is no longer a secret that large technology companies such as Google and Facebook are making a fortune selling user data to companies that require customer insights, while users are not entitled to any of the profits made from these sales. In addition, a large number of people are dissatisfied with the methods that are being used to collect the data and would like to have control over which data, if any, is shared with third parties.Due to the ease of use and free nature of large search engines, social media platforms and email service providers, massive amounts of data are collected and shared, and users have no control whatsoever with what is being shared.To enhance data safety and to allow digital media users to regain control of their data, blockchain technology can be deployed.The blockchain can introduce a level of transparency into the data space that is currently not available. Because the blockchain is a decentralized ledger that is immutable, transparent and easily auditable, it can enable users to have control over their data, including what data is being shared and who it is being sold to. Enabling users to regain control over their data also creates a new revenue-generating model that allows users to be directly compensated for the personal data that they choose to share.An example of this is the blockchain startup BitClave. The project is a decentralized search engine that aims to allow individuals to access the internet on their own terms.”BitClave is the next generation of search data privacy,” the company states on its website. “You should have control over who can use it — and how. Our decentralized search engine helps you truly find what you’re looking for and get compensated for your data, making third-party advertising networks unnecessary. Powered by blockchain, you can rest assured your data is protected.”3. Easier Cross-Promotional EngagementsWe find ourselves living in the age of the digital influencer. Influencers are individuals who have a large social media following and are paid by brands in an effort to direct some of their traffic to said brands. Though it is a common practice, it has its challenges since the terms of the contracts vary from brand to brand and influencer to influencer.Blockchain-based smart contracts can be written to reduce potential conflicts arising during cross-promotional engagements. These self-executing smart contracts can automatically pay the influencer once he or she has published the agreed-upon promotional content. This would alleviate any potential issues between the advertiser and the influencer as the terms of the contract and the payment obligation would be coded into the smart contract.4. Decreased Ad FraudCompanies pay substantial amounts of money to run digital ads, but the advertising space is fraught with fraud. It has been estimated that for every three dollars spent on digital advertising, one dollar is lost to fraud, with total losses estimated to reach $16.4 billion by the end of 2017.Companies are largely unable to quantify if the ads they place and pay for convert into sales for their products. In addition to this, it is unclear how many views and clicks of the digital ads are generated by bots.Blockchain technology can be introduced to enhance accountability and transparency. The ads that are placed can be recorded on the blockchain, thus ensuring that the metrics of the ad are verifiable. The blockchain can record how many times the ad was viewed as well as the nature of the traffic. Implementing this technology is likely to reduce the rate of ad fraud and lead to advertisers getting value for their money.Los Angeles–based tech startup MetaX is among one of the first to introduce the blockchain into the battle against ad fraud. MetaX has developed the first protocol for the advertising supply chain, called AdChain, which utilizes blockchain technology to record and store ad impressions in real-time to ensure advertisers that they are only paying for ads that are being viewed by real people.Through the implementation of blockchain technology into digital media, content creators, publishers and advertisers can all benefit, which is why it is hard to imagine that the digital media landscape will not be disrupted by this innovative new technology in the near future.The views and opinions expressed herein are the views and opinions of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Nasdaq, Inc.Blockchain: Shifting From Internet of Information to Internet of ValueThere is a growing trend of Blockchain implementation in the social media industry. This development is changing how the public approaches an ecosystem which has before now been at the mercy of a few individuals in terms of security, commerce, functionality and general control.The significance of social media to everyday life keeps growing with each passing day. In the areas of education, politics, e-commerce and even relationships, the social environment built upon cyberspace is continually proving its relevance as a tool for effective communication between individuals and groups across different parts of the world.Blockchain can overhaul social mediaThe emergence of Blockchain technology brings a revolution to this industry which is already visible in the areas of improved reliability and earning opportunities. Derin Cag, founder of Richtopia says:”With the rise of Blockchain technology, socio-economic transactions are improving and becoming more democratic as we shift from the Internet of information to the Internet of value.”According to Cag, there are numerous benefits of having Blockchain technology frameworks within social media platforms.First, it could help tackle fake news through establishing a rewards-based ‘credit ratings system’ for journalists and bloggers, which then could get embedded to all websites.Second, it could improve user data privacy by providing people an option to opt-in for sharing programmes where they automatically get paid in cryptocurrencies when their data gets sold to third parties.Third, it could improve automation through the use of smart contracts where Blockchains could interact with multiple platforms simultaneously on a user’s behalf. For example Facebook could speak with Twitter, could speak with Instagram, could speak with Reddit and so forth on a much deeper level than available at the time of writing.Fourth, if the social media platform itself is based across distributed ledgers, this could help improve security because for example Bitcoin is one of the only valuable things online which has never been hacked itself.One major problem that exists within the social media ecosystem and cyberspace, in general, is the significant lack of privacy and indiscriminate sharing of personal data across major social media platforms.Be careful what you signIt may not be particularly accurate to assume that these platforms make use of the data of individuals without their permission because almost every single one of these platforms have a ‘Terms and Conditions’ documents which most users agree to without even reading a single line of the usually extremely long document.Most of the time, the ambiguous statements within these documents empowers the platform owners and administrators to exercise the level of control that we see today. However, this extensive control by the centralized platform owners does not only enable the indiscriminate exposure of users, but it also shuts them out from any possible benefits that they could achieve by the use of their personal data and identity. These are some of the problems that are already being addressed by Blockchain implementation in social media.The five-year forecastAbhishek Bhandari, co-founder and VP of Bloomatch tells Cointelegraph that Blockchain is revolutionizing each and every industry at the moment. He notes that the major attraction of various sectors towards Blockchain is the basics of Blockchain for maintaining data on multiple and decentralized nodes.”I assume in next five years most of the platforms in digital space would use Blockchain.”Bhandari affirms that Social Media has become a very important and indispensable part of human existence and Blockchain technology would give a sense of protection and satisfaction to all users. He explains that current social media platforms have many drawbacks in terms of data security and cyber crimes, problems which he is certain that Blockchain technology will eventually address effectivelyAll about attentionDor Konforty, CEO of Synereo elaborates that the primary purpose of the marketing, content, and features of Facebook, YouTube and most other modern media platforms is to increase the number of hours each user engages with the platform, to the point where it may disrupt their lives, so that they can capture and sell more of their attention as well as information about their behavior.However, Konforty explains that without a centralized entity profiting from this, and with value generated flowing directly to users through intermediary-less interactions, new platforms will adapt their business models to rely on added-on services rather than on practices which have already been proven to be harmful to the health of their userbases.Konforty also notes the complexity of monetization on social media:”Monetization is another deep trouble; creators of original content are in a position where the method they chose for publishing their creations defines their method of monetization, if existent. While YouTube shares some of their proceeds with creators, Facebook, Twitter and the like don’t do even that.”Ultimately, without intermediaries shaping the discourse and being in full control of the available content, all geared towards their bottom lines, the space of possible social and economic interactions will expand greatly, benefiting all involved. Likewise, without huge datastores immediately available to centralized entities, dystopian scenarios such as allocating scores to citizens based on their online activity and adherence to the mandated way of living may be averted. This is the promise of the Blockchain.Blockchain’s 2018 Goal? Human Rights Over Financial GainsThessy Mehrain is director of product and innovation at ConsenSys, where she works on dapps and protocols to enable social innovation via the ethereum blockchain. She is also the founder of “Women in Blockchain” New York, a distributed global network building diversity and inclusion.The following article is an exclusive contribution to CoinDesk’s 2017 in Review series.2017 was an exciting year for blockchain.Despite the fact that the world today is rife with discord and polarization, there are those who are passionate about building a better future, one where people are empowered to self-organize and the institutions that underpin society actually work for the people they serve.That is why as we reach the end of the year, it is a good time to step back and review the progress we have made towards those goals. Blockchain enables a world in which every human being has their needs met and has a voice, an open world, where we can collaborate globally on what is meaningful to us and where we benefit from our diversity of experiences.By shifting data ownership and control, once passive consumers can become active participants in society as a whole. Equipped with tools to audit supply chains, values like labor safety, fair trade, organic production and other values can be verified, replacing advertising jargon with proof, replacing trust with auditability.Being involved in the blockchain space today feels like being part of something larger, grander, something with a socially valuable purpose. That is why blockchain meet-ups are overflowing, conferences are sold out and the difference between personal and professional interests, for many, are blurring.Not just ambitious, these goals should serve as reminders that we HAVE to get this right.In 2017, we saw:The rise of new tokens and fundsThe largest increase in the global blockchain participant pool we’ve seen to dateValuation bubbles.In 2018, we need to:Educate new participants in the blockchain ecosystemWork intentionally on diversity and a representative cultureUnderstand the opportunities as a matter of empowering human rights.Attracting money and massesIn 2017, blockchain leapt into the public conscious by ways of forks, CryptoKitties and token launches, also referred to as ICOs. Driven by investment opportunities and media attention, traditional businesses and consumers started to take active interest in cryptocurrencies and their underlying blockchain technology.But, we should remember this expanded participant pool joined primarily for financial gains, drawn in by newly generated tokens that have given buyers expectations of positive performance.For those already involved, confidence in a blockchain future was validated and fueled by the high volume of crowdsourced funding. To date, an estimated $3.6 billion was raised for token projects created just on the ethereum blockchain, an amount that justified calling token launches themselves the platform’s “killer app.”With it came a sense of a modern day gold rush, but also an expansion of what is possible.Compared to the phases of the previous internet boom which rang in the information age, the age of blockchain, of direct, disintermediated value transfer and automation, just reached 1998-levels of interest. Just like then on the back of bubbles, the crypto world invited the mainstream to join.Laying the groundworkAnd the arrival of an Apple-spoiled consumer audience lacking the passion and patience to adjust to developer jargon and unusable workflows has also brought new product requirements.To make it easier to onboard new customers, an emphasis emerged on simplifying complexities of blockchain-based applications with delightful user experiences, appealing designs and consumer friendly language. Everyone loves CryptoKitties, the tradeable and breedable representations of value.They are denominated in ether and have been bringing the network almost to a halt, being the cutest motivators to scale transaction throughput and liquidity.2017 also brought a focus on making blockchain workplaces more inviting.How better to create a more inclusive and equitable society than with diverse creators?  A notable PBS study demonstrated that diversity is instrumental to building better products and systems.The smarter companies have already well established diversity efforts (ethnicity, cultural, age, orientation…), while Women in Blockchain meet-ups and Social Impact initiatives popped up across the globe, expanding the blockchain story with female narratives.What’s next? Opportunities in 2018But with all this achieved, now what?In 2018, we must:Redirect already captured interest to create equality – Bubbles are signals of a market demand, and represent mostly expectations of monetary returns. Let’s embrace them as opportunities for growth. But if we stop here, we might easily continue to centralize wealth, repeat traditional power structures, and miss the real opportunity.Educate new participants about the value proposition of public blockchains – and reposition ‘profit’ to include monetary and social value.Create a safe environment that supports innovation – Inevitably, some of the bubbles will burst, some of the milestones will be missed, and some of the projects will evaporate and investors will get burned, leading to calls for regulations. But if we regulate based on old structures and paradigms, we will stifle innovation.Take responsibility to self-regulate – This includes expanding efforts like those of Consensys’ “Brooklyn Project,” which has the mission of providing market participants and regulators with powerful tools to protect consumers and enhance the integrity of token-based networks.Intentionally build diversity and inclusion in the creator space – We are early into the blockchain era and still struggling with figuring out the technology. That focus is one of the reasons why the creator space is so young, white male dominated. Even with the best intentions and demonstrated intelligence, this doesn’t create an inviting environment for diverse people, needed to build robust global products.Involve diverse communities in the creation of all blockchain products – education efforts to aggregate diverse intelligence and ensure that solutions serve everyone.Enable the core promises of blockchain to empower human rights – We have experienced systematic failures in the globalization of society. Entire populations have been left behind in poverty, lacking education and basic services, without a voice to stand up for themselves, bereft of  mobility and freedom, while the right of corporations has been expanded and been protected, often benefitting from the misery of the poor.Promote and protect the right to freely exchange value between any two parties. The freedom to exchange is essential to participation in the future world. It is equivalent to the freedom of speech in the digital space. It is a matter of equality and has to be protected and considered as a human right.For many, the initial draw towards the blockchain and crypto world might be financial gains.But for a more just future, we must expand the definition of profit to include both monetary and social gains, and understand that blockchain alone is a technical solution that enables social innovation.A diverse creator pool and innovation-friendly regulations are essential to building mechanisms in line with equality and human rights.It is our responsibility and opportunity to get that right in 2018