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AdEx is a blockchain-based ad exchange aiming at disrupting the existing online advertising landscape and address its significant problems: advertising fraud, privacy and consent to receiving sponsored messages, etc.

AdEx is completely transparent and built on top of Ethereum smart contracts.

We believe we can empower advertisers and publishers with a platform that is secure, transparent and beneficial for all the parties involved in the process, consumers included.

Team Connections

Ivo Georgiev, is CEO at Stremio and Dimo Stoyanov, is COO at Stremio.

Ivo Georgiev

CO-FOUNDER

Ivo has extensive experience as a software engineer with a particular interest in the video-on-demand industry. Since 2012, he has been heading Stremio, a video entertainment startup. Well-versed in cryptography and crypto currencies.

Dimo Stoyanov

CO-FOUNDER

Dimo comes from a background in UX and UI design, and front-end development. Together with Ivo Georgiev, he runs the VoD entertainment hub Stremio. Dimo is experienced in project management, product design, and brand strategy.

Vanina Ivanova

MARKETING & AD TECH

Vanina has more than 12 years of experience in advertising, and online marketing, as well as in ad tech. She has ran and managed huge digital marketing projects in the fintech industry, and has been a part of the team of a major cloud storage provider.

Shteryana Shopova

SECURITY EXPERT

Shteryana is a well-seasoned software engineer and software architect. Throughout her career, she gained noteworthy experience in cybersecurity. For the past 10 years, Shteryana has been contributing to the FreeBSD project as a committer.

Alexandru Branza

DEVELOPER

Alexandru is a software / web developer with more then 8 years of experience specializing in: video players, p2p, blockchains and web services. A strong believer and contributor to open source communities and part of the Stremio Team.

Ivo Paunov

DEVELOPER

Ivo is a software developer with experience in the following fields: mobile and web development, and Javascript. He is part of the Stremio team and helps develop the company’s video entertainment hub.

Allesya Ivanova

GRAPHIC DESIGNER

Allesya is a creative graphic designer who has been contributing to the Stremio project where she is responsible for UI and UX. She holds educational degrees in graphic and product design and has more than 10 years of experience behind her back.

Jihan Wu

STRATEGY ADVISOR

Jihan is one of the founders of BITMAIN Technologies, one of the most recognized and valuable bitcoin mining hardware provider. Wu is a supporter of Bitcoin Unlimited, a solution to solve bitcoin’s scalability issue.

Stas Oskin

TECH ADVISOR

Stas has over 10 years of experience in engineering, development and management of software, cloud, healthcare, cryptocurrency, social products and services. He is an entrepreneur, crypto-enthusiast and a life hacker.

Sebastian Stupurac

STRATEGY ADVISOR

Sebastian is an entrepreneur, visionary and a husband. He’s a big believer in crypto and blockchain technology, in which he has been involved since 2013. Sebastian has vast experience in information systems and product management.

Lior Zysman

LEGAL ADVISOR

Lior is a corporate lawyer advising startups and investors on crowdfunding and cryptocurrencies, and working on decentralized autonomous non-profit organizations (Runner-up at Consensus 2016 Hackathon with a Charity DAO).

Guy Corem

STRATEGY ADVISOR

Guy has a versatile professional experience - he has worked for major companies like Intel, Boxee and Voltaire. Along with that, he has background in funding startups, cybersecurity and cryptocurrencies/bitcoin.

Dominik Zynis

MARKETING ADVISOR

Dominik has been involved in the cryptocurrency scene since 2012. His background includes top sales rep for Oracle Corp., cofounder of State Software known for discovering JSON, and Head of Comm's & Bizdev at Mastercoin (Omni) Foundation. He leads PR and comm's at WINGS Foundation.

Nikola Stojanow

BIZDEV ADVISOR

Nikola is a Business Development executive with experience in Germany, Eastern Europe, MENA and Asia Pacific. During the past 10 years, he has developed and consulted a number of international projects, including the Aeternity blockchain platform.

Vladislav Dramaliev

COMMUNITY ADVISOR

Vladislav is a digital marketing analyst & Bitcoin entrepreneur. He is the founder of BitHope.org, CryptoCrowd.org and the Bitcoin/Blockchain meetup in Sofia, Bulgaria. Vladislav is also co-founder of the Bulgarian Bitcoin Association.

Vincent Zhou

Strategy Advisor - China

Vincent is the general manager and founding partner of Fintech Blockchain Group. He has a successful career in high tech and blockchain companies, and is considered to be one of the most influential blockchain venture capitalists in China.

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Whitepaper

Abstract

The AdEx team is building the next generation online ad exchange that is based on blockchain technology. Our goal is to provide a more efficient, intuitive and transparent advertising platform.

Our aim is to disrupt the existing online advertising landscape and address the significant problems it faces such as advertising fraud, privacy and consent to receiving sponsored messages, and the rise of ad blockers. With digital surpassing all other advertising mediums and accounting for close to 40% of global marketing and ad spend in 2017, we see the need of innovation in this area.

We believe we can empower advertisers and publishers with a platform that is secure, transparent and beneficial for all the parties involved in the process including consumers who have been left out by existing advertising networks

Our expertise in the fields of software development, blockchain & cryptography, video streaming and online advertising give us the confidence in creating an ad exchange that will be superior to all existing solutions used around the world.

Introduction

AdEx is a decentralized ad exchange built on Ethereum blockchain and smart contracts. The AdEx platform is designed to disrupt and replace the traditional digital advertising models by providing a transparent, focused solution for advertisers to collaborate with ad publishers and reach the best potential clients.

The core feature of AdEx will be the so-called AdEx User Profile - a personalized page that allows every end user to understand and control the ads delivered to them. Giving more control to the user is highly beneficial for advertisers since users voluntarily provide more information about their preferences and consumer behavior, about their shopping habits and purchase preferences. This means that with the help of the user’s AdEx Profile advertisers achieve surgical precision for ad targeting and ensure a high Return On Ad Spending (ROAS).

The technology of AdEx leverages blockchain and smart contracts, thus eliminating the complexity and confusion of existing ad serving networks. The network is regulated by the users and the users only, taking care of the most common issue advertisers today are facing: lack of transparency and incorrect/unclear reporting of advertising campaign results.

Business case

Why are we building the AdEx Network? We are creating a token of influence that solves the current problems of online advertising

Global advertising and marketing investments continue to grow exponentially around the world, and since last year we see a significant shift in the importance carried by different advertising mediums: while TV has always until now been king for advertisers, it is slowly being outrun by online & digital channels.

In 2017, global online advertising will outspend the ad king - television for the first time. Zenith’s Advertising Expenditure Forecasts report (September 2016) predicts an average growth of 14% for internet advertising in the period 2015-2018

The report stipulates that by 2018, the internet would account for 38.6% of all global advertising investment. In 2018 alone, advertisers are expected to spend more than $220 billion, up 11.7% from the 2017 projection of $198.8 billion.

Despite its huge growth, however, the online advertising industry struggles with a lot of issues. We have identified the ones that affect it the most.

Problem #1: Lack of consumer consent

While popular advertising networks like the ones of Google and Facebook allow for some extent of consent and control over what ads users see, this functionality is very limited. Furthermore, it is directly bound with the targeting parameters of each campaign, launched by an advertiser - if an advertiser makes a mistake when defining these, the ad will be broadcast to people who may not be interested in it and may not want to see it.

Solution:​ The AdEx Profile

As we mentioned earlier in this paper, each and every user, to whom AdEx serves ads, will have their own profile where they can be as precise as they want outlining their interests and preferences. This profile will ensure that consumers only see ads that are relevant to them. For advertisers this means more precise targeting, less opportunities for mistakes when setting their campaigns, and higher conversion rates.

Problem #2: Privacy concerns and data misuse

Major ad serving networks and exchanges operate with huge amounts of centralized data that can easily be traced back to the consumers’ identities. Despite legal disclaimers, consumer have no knowledge of the purposes, for which their data is used, which is a threat to their online privacy - a threat the end users can do nothing about.

Solution:​ Blockchain ensures anonymous use of big data

The blockchain technology, which AdEx utilizes, allows to anonymize large chunks of data so it is only used for statistical purposes. Put simply, with the help of blockchain, advertisers still get to receive and process data about their target audiences and consumers in the form of statistics only - without compromising the privacy of these consumers.

Problem #3: Lack of bidding transparency

Existing real-time bidding (RTB) platforms offer no information about ad bids whatsoever. This means that an advertiser is told the maximum bid for a particular ad property is $X but is not given the opportunity to verify this.

Solution:​ A decentralized exchange that can be audited

Due to the fact that AdEx is based on blockchain, advertisers can easily trace every click/view and verify every component of a campaign (participants, ad placements, impressions and clicks, etc.). The information is decentralized so it can’t be hogged or manipulated by the ad exchange so advertisers are only paying for actual results.

Problem #4: Unclear and/or misleading reporting

Online campaign reporting is every advertiser and marketer’s nightmare. Each and every existing advertising network measures different metrics - one would report on clicks, another one - on sessions; one would give details about invalid clicks, another wouldn’t; and so on. This prevents advertisers from being able to cross-check data and results, from using unified KPIs across all networks, and from accurately tracking return on ad spend (ROAS).

Solution:​ Unified real-time reporting

Blockchain provides a universal data set that every advertiser can understand and use to analyze campaign performance. Further to that, AdEx will allow real-time reporting (existing networks require at least few hours to aggregate the data and show it to the advertisers). This way, advertisers can quickly spot trends and adjust their campaigns for maximum conversions. With real-time reporting they can also easily test if a campaign is set and tracked properly.

Problem #5: Ad fraud

The current online advertising ecosystem is flawed. It enables fraud committed by advertising networks, by advertisers and by malicious third parties. According to reports from ad agency The&Partnership and the Adloox audit verification company, in 2017 brands will suffer losses in the amount of $16.4 billion due to ad fraud (bots, exploiting backdoors in ad serving networks, etc.).
The question of advertising fraud should also be addressed by ad publishers. The global media supply chain also needs to change to ensure ads viewability transparency, reliable measurement, compliance rules and common standards for advertisers.

Solution:​ The AdEx anti-fraud mechanisms

AdEx will equip advertisers with technical mechanisms to trace and prevent fraud and invalid ad traffic. This technology in combination with the transparency, real-time reporting and audit accessibility of blockchain helps deliver a platform where advertisers know exactly how much and why they are paying for advertising inventory.

Problem #6: Ad blockers & ad blindness

Ad blocking software rose 30% in 2016, reaching a total of 615 million devices worldwide where ads and sponsored messages are blocked (308 million of these were mobile devices). Users are deliberately choosing to install ad blockers, growing weary of ads that are too intrusive and/or irrelevant.
On top of this, users are also prone to developing ad blindness - a condition of consciously or subconsciously ignoring any piece of visual information that resembles an ad or a banner. These two phenomena cause revenue losses to advertisers as the latter are unable to fully reach their target consumers.

Solution:​ Clever, meaningful ads that people want to see

AdEx will deliver unintrusive ads that are precisely targeted. Through this, the end users will be seeing ads that are facilitating their consumers habits rather than annoying them. The exchange will also offer advertisers to select for their ads visual design that resembles native content as much as possible .

Solution:​ The AdEx anti-fraud mechanisms

AdEx will equip advertisers with technical mechanisms to trace and prevent fraud and invalid ad traffic. This technology in combination with the transparency, real-time reporting and audit accessibility of blockchain helps deliver a platform where advertisers know exactly how much and why they are paying for advertising inventory.

Problem #7: Central regulation

Most of the existing ad exchanges rely on central regulation, in some cases from tech giants like Facebook and Google. While this has advantages, it’s also extremely limiting, restrictive and authoritarian. It’s not uncommon to see ad campaigns, or even advertisers/publishers getting banned unfairly, with little to none ability to appeal, let alone quickly
Even considering those restrictions, scam/malware ads still exist to date, even on Facebook and AdSense.

Solution:​ User-powered governance

With AdEx, the consumer determines what’s right or wrong. The power of crowdsourcing has proven itself over the recent years, and the “consumer is always right” statement has never been more true. Furthermore, we believe that giving users the power to essentially filter out bad advertisements will be beneficial for overall conversions, and therefore advertisers and publishers.

Problem #8: Payment methods limitations

All existing ad networks require advertisers to use verified payment methods such as bank accounts, credit cards, etc. However, for many advertisers (especially micro businesses in developing countries), that’s an issue.

Solution:​ Cryptocurrency

Blockchain and the use of cryptocurrencies allows literally anyone to take advantage of advertising possibilities to grow their business.

Problem #9: Lack of focus

General ad networks and exchanges act as mediators between advertisers and ad inventory providers - and usually cater to very diverse ranges of both groups. This is why there are often issues like inappropriate ad formats, wrong audience targeting, etc.

Solution:​ Focus on one niche industry

The AdEx team comes from a background in VOD and video streaming - and this is why the network will initially work with publishers who are exclusively video entertainment providers. We know this market and we know how to best serve it so advertising there is beneficial for all the involved parties. This does not exclude the possibility of AdEx opening up to other types of publishers in the future with AdEx V2 ( see Roadmap ), or developing multiple sub-divisions of AdEx, each catering to a specific niche

Summary

As you can see, there are way too many things wrong with the current state of the online advertising industry. That means that the time has come for an impactful disruption of that landscape, and this is where decentralized ad exchanges such as AdEx come in. With these new solutions, advertisers​ will be able to regain control over their advertising spend, they will be able to limit their exposure to potential ad fraud and will be empowered to achieve higher return on their marketing spending. Publishers​ will benefit from more interest from advertisers, more targeted ads and higher level of end user satisfaction and ultimately - higher advertising revenues. Last but not least, end users ​will finally have an online environment where they can receive targeted, tailor-made ads without compromising their privacy and personal data.

Competitive landscape

Traditional ad networks There are currently hundreds of traditional local and global ad networks available on the market; however, Google and Facebook are the main players there. Both companies support their own advertising networks that are very popular among advertisers because of the large amounts of data both Facebook and Google collect about the end users. However, being advertising giants, these networks do very little to please the advertisers. They bring unclear reporting that is easy to be misinterpreted, as well as too many restrictions as to what and how can be advertised. Furthermore, there is plenty of room for ad fraud left by these networks and as a result, advertisers are exposed to humongous losses.

Traditional ad networks А couple of other similar projects related to advertising with smart contracts have been announced recently: Brave Software’s Basic Attention Token (BAT), NASDAQ’s NYIAX, qChain, adChain. While all these ad exchanges come from strong teams, the truth is we are all sailing in uncharted waters here. This is why it is extremely important to have exceptional understanding of both cryptography and ad tech, as well as to stay as open in possible in terms of platform and device availability. On top of this, the more decentralized ad solutions, the more viewpoints will be introduced to solving the issues of existing ad networks, and the more the different networks will be able to learn from each other. By doing so, we will accomplish a positive and empowered ecosystem. Last but not least, some of these solutions are restricted in one way or another: for example, BAT is limited to the Brave browser only; NIYAX is targeting the financial industry, etc. This will have a negative impact on their adoption speed and range. We are excited about the fact that we do have competition as this will push us to deliver a service superior to the others. The AdEx network will be universally usable on all devices and operating systems; the ADX token will be used for trading advertising property rather just for governance, and will thus be easier for advertisers and publishers to understand and adopt.

AdEx Adoption Once the AdEx is fully operational, it will kick of with Stremio as the exchange’s first publisher. The expertise in the video entertainment industry that we have will help us quickly attract other similar publishers looking for an efficient way to monetize. Advertisers will be attracted by the platform’s merits - clear and transparent reporting, limited to no possibility of ad fraud, cross-platform/device availability, exceptional user targeting, etc. Further to that, AdEx token holders will be incentivized to bring more advertisers to the platform as they would benefit from a more active ad property marketplace. Last but not least, we will invest a significant effort working with ad blocker providers in order to get AdEx ads whitelisted. We are positive that this effort will be rewarded as AdEx will stand for “clean”, targeted and meaningful advertising, and will offer ad blockers the option to monetize whitelisting the rewards via smart contracts.

Token Within the AdEx ecosystem, the AdEx token (ADX) will be used internally to buy or sell advertising space and time. Advertisers would be able to create ads, and then place bids for them, setting the bid in ADX token. The advertisers may bid for a specific number of impressions, clicks or conversions (e.g. sign-ups, purchases, etc.). Once the Publisher accepts a bid, the token will be frozen until the Publisher proves that they have completed the goal. When that happens, the token is transferred to the Publisher’s balance. Certain actions within the network would be incentivized by the creation of additional tokens, which will be received by whomever committed that action. This will ensure slow, on-demand inflation of the token so that there’s enough in circulation for the network to be healthy and usable.

Technology

Overview The AdEx token itself (ADX) will be based on Ethereum, a blockchain-based distributed computing platform. Ethereum allows smart contracts - distributed computer programs that can facilitate online contractual agreements in a cryptographically secure manner. Ethereum is open-source and adopted by institutions like JP Morgan, Deloitte, IBM, Santander Bank, Microsoft, the Luxembourg Stock Exchange and Toyota. Smart contracts are what enables the existence of AdEx as a truly transparent and decentralized ad serving exchange. Smart contracts are essentially computer programs that run on a distributed public ledger, therefore ensuring their result is always consistent, transparent and cannot be manipulated. This technology also ensures that AdEx removes the need for intermediaries and having a central authority you need to trust - through smart contracts, the complex process of choosing ads, tracking ads and facilitating bidding/payment can be described in the contract itself, while still running on the distributed Ethereum network and taking advantage of the blockchain qualities. The fundamental philosophy of AdEx is it's balanced/correct use of blockchain. The AdEx Network only uses the blockchain for mission-critical data, such as accomplished conversion goals* and payments. That way, it eliminates the opportunities for fraud and lack of transparency when it comes to the critical events; this, in its turn, removes the incentive to manipulate statistics, which will be kept off-chain to allow for bigger volumes of analytics data. We call the critical set of smart contracts facilitating the most important interactions between publishers, users and advertisers “the AdEx Core". The AdEx Core will be kept small and highly modular to mitigate the possibility and impact of potential bugs in smart contracts.