Regardless of the mixed opinions about cryptocurrency and the hype around blockchain, it is undeniable that they will play a huge role in the next few years for a growing number of industries.

There is already a large push to integrate the blockchain into digital advertising, especially with how the blockchain has the potential to improve transparency. IAB published a white paper in February containing a series of predictions about blockchain’s place in advertising.

“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.”

The paper created a lot of buzz in the advertising world, but many questions remain. Many marketers would likely not even be able to explain what a blockchain is if they were quizzed. However, it is crucial that the industry educates itself, especially for those that want to be early adopters and take on the competition right away.

In basic terms, 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 can be thought of as a giant spreadsheet. The concept became famous because of cryptocurrencies like bitcoin, created in 2008, where every transaction ever is recorded by a network.

How can the blockchain impact marketing? It is mostly related to the fact that online advertising is ever-increasingly dependent on user data.

“Blockchain can make data-driven marketing more transparent by validating and analyzing every consumer’s journey through verified ad delivery, confirming that a real person saw the ad as per the specifics of a media contract,” Anindya Ghose wrote in a report this year in the Harvard Business Review. “Marketers will able to control how their assets are delivered by monitoring exactly where their ads are being placed, alleviating ad fraud from automated bots by ensuring that real followers and consumers are engaging with their ads, and ensuring proper ad engagement tracking that will lead to more precise digital attribution.”

Right now, education is key for anyone wanting to best the competition. At &THEN next month in Las Vegas, an entire track will focus on blockchain and marketing. The sessions are for both newcomers to the realm of blockchain as well as experts. For the uninitiated, the conference has sessions such as “Blockchain: A 101 Introduction for Marketers” that will provide succinct discussions about how blockchain will impact the future. The blockchain primer will feature Louisa Wong, the chief transformation officer at ad firm Carat USA.

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.