Although the concept of a “blockchain” has been around for about a decade, there has been a sudden awareness of how the idea could transform all sorts of industries.

One industry that seems poised for a blockchain disruption is digital advertising. A white paper published by IAB in February created a buzz with its predictions of how blockchain could completely alter the field within a few years.

“A major attraction of blockchain for digital advertising is its potential to enable consensus, collaboration and trust between buyers and sellers,” the paper concludes. “Media inventory suppliers and buyers spend an inordinate amount of time reconciling campaign discrepancies, be they for raw impression counts, viewability, brand safety or quality of traffic.”

A blockchain is a database stored in a peer-to-peer network with decentralized control. It is key that each interaction is stored and immutable in what essentially amounts to a giant spreadsheet. The concept became famous because of cryptocurrencies like bitcoin, where every transaction ever is recorded by a network.

Many industry insiders now believe blockchain will disrupt advertising just like artificial intelligence and over-the-top media systems have changed the industry in the past five years.

Companies including IBM and MetaX, as well as cryptocurrency and blockchain company Ethereum, are currently investing vast amounts of money and energy into blockchain advertising.

“As the technology advances, you may see more applications from these companies to help blockchain marketing streamline and become more transparent,” Sheila Kloefkorn, CEO of KOE Marketing, wrote in Forbes. “Expect engineers and others to vigorously test new methods to make sure they are reliable and trustworthy before adding programmatic ad processing transactions to the mix.”

Advocates for blockchains in advertising say it will improve efficiency and transparency, with programmatic advertising likely seeing some of the biggest gains.

“Combined with the evolution of AI, the opening of secondary data markets, the advent of new ad formats… and growing demand for ad inventory in developing markets, including India and China, it’s easy to see how demand and inventory for blockchain-powered programmatic ads could soar in the coming years, if and when these new channels achieve scale,” Lindsay Rowntree of ExchangeWire believes.

Early adopters have a chance to be on top of the game. At &THEN this October in Las Vegas, attendees will be treated to plenty of blockchain information, especially at sessions like “BC & The Future of The Media Industry.”

“Adtech companies should contact leading blockchain providers to discuss the process of integrating with their systems,” states Ian Kane of ad firm Ternio. “Without a doubt, first-movers in this area stand to garner attention and new business by proactively adopting a transaction model that will increasingly be demanded and leveraged by leading advertisers and publishers.”

Advertising is, in the end, a relationship between buyers and sellers and consumers – a natural ecosystem that already looks like the concept of blockchain.

“If you standardized blockchain and the smart contract in the blockchain around the insertion order, you are now at the kernel of the workflow for how buyers and sellers engage, how things are confirmed, how they are measured, how they are rated, and how they are paid,” Charles Manning, the CEO of ad firm Kochava, told the authors of the IAB white paper.

This article is brought to you by &THEN, DMA’s annual event. Click here to join the leaders of the marketing community and advance your data and marketing mastery in Las Vegas, October 7-9.