The unwitting purchase of bot traffic in digital advertising markets defrauds advertisers of over $16+
billion annually.1 Opaque supply chains provide cover for botnet operators who hide behind the black
boxes of exchanges and deep within unauditable ad networks.2 Because supply chain entities downstream
from the advertiser are generally paid on a cost per mille (“CPM”) basis, their incentive alignment is
towards maximizing impressions irrespective of whether those impressions are from human eyeballs or
bots. Because botting is cheap and hard to detect, it may even be economically rational for downstream
entities to knowingly serve ads to bots.
Ad buyers are increasingly frustrated by having their money stolen.3 While programmatic ad buying is
undoubtedly the path forward for quantifying the value of ad buys relative to direct dealing and is the
highest growth area of digital advertising, programmatic is, at present, a morass for quantifying efficacy in
advertising non-installable goods.4 The behaviors of humans on web pages are easily mimicked by bots
and the flagging of bot network signatures is essentially a cat and mouse game.5 This leaves advertisers
mostly powerless against the incentive structure of the downstream supply chain.
The adChain Registry is a decentrally-owned domain whitelist being launched as a collaboration of
ConsenSys, MetaX, and Data & Marketing Association (DMA), an industry group with 1,400 active
members and over 100,000 participants. adToken holders play an incentivized voting game to determine
whether an applicant to the registry is a legitimate and reputable publisher or not. Token holders realize
no upside for the volume of impressions served to publishers in the registry; rather, they realize upside by
seeing the number of publishers applying to and renewing listings in the registry increase. So long as the
registry is kept clean of bot traffic, advertisers will want to service bid requests from its registrants. So long
as advertisers desire to service bid requests from registrants, registrants will desire to renew their listings
and unlisted publishers will desire to apply for listings. Token holders are incentivized to keep fraudulent
applicants out of the registry by voting judiciously to maintain this virtuous cycle.