Attendees were selected from over 300 that registered to ensure that we had a balanced audience for the discussion, and we were delighted to have representatives from GroupM, Publicis, J. Walter Thompson, Google, Christie’s, QVC, Neuberger Berman, Disney, Unilever, Deloitte, Starcom, and many more in the room.
Jeremy Epstein, former VP of Marketing at Sprinklr, CEO of Never Stop Marketing and a recent advisor to the Pentagon, opened the morning session drawing on his 20+ years of experience bringing innovative technologies to the mainstream. Followed by a panel session and audience Q&A which featured:
- Moderator: Jeremy Epstein, CEO, Never Stop Marketing
- Ben Feldman, VP of Technical Operations, NYIAX
- Nick New, Managing Director, North America, AVADO
- Jennifer Usdan McBride, Director of Digital, J. Walter Thompson Worldwide
Here were some of the key highlights:
1. Blockchain vs Cryptocurrencies
While cryptocurrencies like Bitcoin and Blockchain are making the headlines. Blockchain, the underlying technology that enables the decentralization of these currencies is empowering a wave of disruption similar to that of the internet in the early 90’s.
2. Blockchain enabled companies are here and already starting to disrupt
In Nick’s presentation, he touched on the companies that are currently investing heavily in adopting blockchain technology into their businesses.
Jeremy supported this with examples of new blockchain enabled companies that are starting to pull customers from the confines of a centralized system into a decentralized system. Interestingly some of the companies that are investing heavily in this space are also the ones currently being disrupted in the list below.
Here are a few of those examples:
- Decentralized social media – Facebook and Twitter vs Mastodon and Steemit
- Decentralized reputation – LinkedIn, Uber, Airbnb vs kudos
- Decentralized data marketplace – acxiom and Equifax vs IOTA and Ocean
- Decentralized messaging – WhatsApp and Facebook Messenger vs Kin
- Decentralized DNS – Coudfare vs Gladius
- Decentralized storage – Amazon Web Services vs Sia, Filecoin and StorJ.IO
- Decentralized ERP – SAP vs DAOstack, ARAGON, COLONY, district0x
- Decentralized middleware – IBM vs ARK.io, metronome, AION
- Decentralized events – Eventbrite vs kickcity
- Decentralized search – Google vs CHLU
- Decentralized ecommerce – Amazon vs OpenBazaar
- Decentralized identity services – Salesforce vs uport and Peer Mountain
- Decentralized conversation bots – Alexa vs Seed Token
- Decentralized gaming marketplace – Xbox and Playstation vs Flip
- Decentralized exchanges – CME Group vs DCORP and 0x protocol
While this is already a long list, Nick also touched on the current adoption rates of new technologies and made a prediction to the trend line that Blockchain could follow.
3. Blockchain marketing technology landscape has grown 400% in the last 6 months
While blockchain is most commonly associated with cryptocurrency and financial services, marketing sits at the intersection of customers, experience and data, making it primed for disruption. Just take the advertising industry where roughly 50 cents of every dollar is lost to intermediary or fraud – a problem that our panelist Ben from NYIAX has been working to solve alongside Nasdaq.
Jeremy also shared his tracking of the blockchain marketing landscape which by his count has grown over 400% in the last 6 months.
4. The skills required to operationalize blockchain
Whilst blockchain is a technology that acts as an enabler, many businesses are still struggling to adapt to mobile let alone AR/VR/Voice/IOT and certainly not blockchain.
Jeremy listed the skills that an individual should look to develop to harness and understand blockchain.
While Nick covered the wider challenges that can be met internally.
5. Agencies will retain a key role in creating brand voice
The foundational concept of blockchain is based upon decentralization, which puts agencies into the firing line as the use of the blockchain reaches critical mass.
Jennifer Usdan McBride, Director of Digital at J. Walter Thompson Worldwide made the case during the panel session however, that what differentiates agencies is their specialism in being able to create and manage a brand voice which the other panelists agreed.
Jeremy built on this during his session showing this slide which highlights dApps as the user experience layer. i.e. the customer-facing interface of a blockchain. Agencies would, therefore, sit one layer above this to balance the technology enablement with the creativity and brand message.
6. The genesis block
The first block of a blockchain is referred to as the Genesis block. Why? On the first block of Bitcoin, Satoshi Nakamoto left a hidden message which hardcoded a parameter that links to the front page of The Times (London) on January 3, 2009 with the headline ‘Chancellor on the brink of second bailout for banks’.
Jeremy highlighted that this was a possible indicator that Bitcoin and the underlying blockchain was created out of a social responsibility vs a financial gain, making it an even more powerful and disruptive technology.
Stay tuned as we release the full event video over the next few days.