Fighting Fraud, Improving Campaign Performance “Tangible Benefits” of Transparency in Advertising – Sam Kim CEO, Lucidity
We speak to Sam Kim, CEO and Founder of blockchain-based eco-system, infrastructure and operational platform: ‘Lucidity’.
Lucidity is an open-source blockchain advertising protocol seeking to supersede and overcome current conventions and market leaders in the digital advertising sector. Core tenets advertised include total transparency and “authenticity” for all data stored and transacted, to its distributed ledger-based foundations.
What Lucidity is, is an Ethereum-based ‘Layer-Two’ solution which implements a combination of unique internal and tested external technologies. One of these is the Ethereum scaling solution ‘Plasma’, which allows for the satisfaction of huge-scale transaction processing requirements. This in particular benefits the field of programmatic advertising, which strongly incorporates real-time data gathering, processing, and responses.
According to Kim, the team is working “on a Lucidity version of Plasma Cash which is the most efficient, cost effective, easiest to use and simpler than the other versions out there.” Which they have made “available to the entire community.”
“we built our own flavour of Plasma called Plasma Bank. It supports generalized state transitions and is account based. Unlike other versions of Plasma, our Plasma Bank relies on a Proof of Stake consensus rather than on-chain proofs and challenges. This implementation allows us our platform to operate at the scale of digital advertising.”
It also includes a dashboard that offers a graphical representation of these metrics across various marketing events or campaigns, ensuring that the advertiser is constantly informed with the most up-to-date information.
Key features as listed on the website are impression verification, payment tracking, and fraud prevention, while the site also lists an achievement. At the 2018 Digiday Technology Awards, Lucidity recognised was recognised as the ‘Best Marketing / Analytics Attribution Platform’ of the year.
Defeating Advertising’s Adversities
Sam Kim states that “The primary goal of Lucidity is to bring transparency to digital advertising” with a philosophy shared between himself and the company that “transparency is the most pressing need of the industry today.”
“In fact, it’s been the most important issue since programmatic advertising started. Advertisers today have to trust that they are getting what they paid for. But it’s very clear that it is not happening today. It’s like ordering steak at a restaurant but getting a salmon plate instead. And, they insist you pay for it anyway.”
Advertising has always faced controversy. Concerns have resulted in government-imposed censorship or outright bans, to voluntary free-market regulatory bodies and user-friendly practices.
Today, the problems with digital advertising count: intrusive pop-ups, the threat of viruses or malware and even spam mail have contributed to a public perception of advertising as playing it loose and fast with laws and ethics.
More specific examples of this include the use or abuse, and inter-company sharing, of private user data – and the transparency of how this information is used and stored.
“Fighting fraud and improving campaign performance are simply one of the more tangible benefits of transparency… The other goals of transparency include: 1) supply path optimization, 2) elimination of discrepancy reporting and billing reconciliation, and 3) data activation”
How It All Started
Whilst Kim “wish[es he] was the brains of Lucidity” he concedes that the core idea behind it originated from the mind of fellow executive team-member Miguel Morales, who acts as CTO. Prior to involvement with the MetaX ICO and TCR: Kim and Morales met fellow co-founder (and company President) Sam Goldberg whilst working together at ‘The Mobile Majority’. As such they have a shared history and assumed level of comradery.
Kim has had conflicted opinions about blockchain in the past. Whilst (like for many others) he first heard about it from “one of those Bitcoin enthusiasts back in 2013 who steered all conversations towards Bitcoin” who “dragged [him] to an event” at which he was “blown away by the enthusiasm of the audience”.
Sam Kim is a Korean born American who possesses academic credentials from Columbia University. He is the foounder of a firm called ‘Edgepoint Group’ which trades Vietnamese commodities in the US market, and more recently founded ‘The Mobile Majority’ (now Gimbal), and ESDF Management. ESDF operates partially in the video-games market and recently received investment from Bluehole, developers of popular title ‘PlayerUnknown’s Battlegrounds’.
Miguel Morales on the other hand is a systems and application software architect with over 10 years of tech experience, including the development of blockchain based attribution systems; full stack development (including automated cloud infrastructure and machine learning systems), and DApps.
Sam Goldberg has strong entrepreneurial credentials having founded multiple companies at this point, in addition to being a licensed patent attorney. Whilst working at Mobile Majority with Miguel and Kim, Goldberg successfully raised over $20 million in capital investment. He also contributed heavily to revenue growth, and the establishment of key strategic relationships.
One of the later additions to the team has been COO Nikao Yang, who is perhaps best known for his role at AdColony (a company which he co-founded). He was picked by the team because:
“the three co-founders were always big fans… we were incredibly excited by the opportunity to bring in a really experienced leader with experience building high growth businesses through product innovation.”
Other Examples of Blockchain in Advertising
There are examples of other blockchain based solutions with the superficially similar purpose upending the status quo of digital advertising.
According to the website marketing of the BAT, there is an unresolved issue concerning the relationship between the advertisers, audiences, and the purposes of original content on the internet (or its artist’s vision).
The team claims that: adverse to the purpose of advertising, viewers of content are incentivised to ignore or skip sponsored materials as they do not want their time or attention wasted. At the same time advertisers tend to pay the creators of this original content proportional to time spend viewing or engagement.
Lucidity, Crypto and the Future
So, what does the present and future hold for Lucidity? Well, the company “recently announced our case study with Toyota where our transparency solution helped Toyota improve their campaign performance by 21%.”
Other partners associated with Lucidity include: AppNexus, Viamedia, Giant Spoon, .fearless, Zig., Dex.Top, The Richards Group, Audience Group, CPXi, Sourcenext, and Saatchi and Saatchi.
When asked about potential threats or challenges facing the crypto sector in general, Sam Kim responds:
“Many blockchain companies are delivering products that actually aren’t utilizing the blockchain.
“They’re simply taking centralized data, transferring to a decentralized database and calling it a blockchain solution. That is just one example of what we at Lucidity call ‘blockwashing’.
“If the community continues to deploy these faulty blockchain solutions, businesses will catch on and abandon their eagerness to experiment with blockchain.”
Lucidity appears to be growing despite the current state of the market. Kim continues that:
“We currently have offices in Los Angeles only, but we also have staff in Brazil, Korea, Ukraine and Poland. We think the natural 2nd office will be in NYC after which we will explore markets in Asia where blockchain adoption is high.”
Whilst the team’s whitepaper isn’t immediately available on their website, an archived version can be accessed easily through a quick Google search or using this link.
It contains important details about the technology, principles, and planned execution of the project, not least of which the token economy which it will be based around: ‘Lucidity Tokens’ or ‘Marketing Analytics Tokens’ (MATs).
No details for a private sale have been announced as of writing.