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Two Blockchain-Based Marketing Tools of Tomorrow

Blockchain technology has already enabled a dynamic marketing technology landscape, but it appears that some of its greatest innovations for the industry are still on the horizon.

Here are two blockchain marketing tools that a marketer of the future is going to need and that will hopefully be in hand sooner rather than later.

Automated Event Token Generator and Distributor

What this tool will do is give the event marketer of the future the ability to create a blockchain-based digital token that represents the right to attend an event. The event itself could be in-person or digital, but the token will come embedded with a number of programmable conditions in it.

For example, an event owner might want to program the token so that: 

1.     It is nontransferable.

2.     It can only be used by people with the title “senior director” or above.

3.     It can only be used by people who have 20 verified connections from others in the industry with similar titles or verified backgrounds.

The possibilities of imbuing the token with legal and business rules, souvenir qualities, loyalty card capabilities and customer-acquisition offers (e.g., since you attended the event, you have the right to give a 20 percent discount to a friend) means that an event marketer will have a much more effective way of demonstrating the return on investment (ROI) of an event, by connecting the activity to future outcomes.

How do I know this tool will be needed in the future? 

Because I’m building one right now. (You can see the source code for it here on GitHub.) 

In August, I led a trip of 35 crypto explorers to Zug, Switzerland, to explore the decentralized future. (You can read the top three lessons learned from the trip here or apply for the next one here.) These are among the most passionate, forward-thinking people in the world. Every single one of them owned bitcoin and ether (ETH), and over 40 percent owned more than six tokens. So, naturally, we accepted payment for the trip in ETH. 

To commemorate the “genesis block” of this trip, I wanted to create a souvenir token, “CVT0,” which represented proof that we were at the first-ever Crypto Valley Trip. All in all, I had to send out over 50 tokens manually. That was not fun.

The “automated event token generator and distributor” distributed application (DApp) is going to make it possible for event marketers to first upload a .csv of a bunch of ETH addresses and kick off the smart contract in rapid succession. In future iterations, the entire process in which a payment received kicks off a smart contract to generate a pre-programmed token will be automated.

The Ethereum Name Service Brand Manager

There’s something called the “Ethereum Name Service” (ENS), which is a way of taking an otherwise-crazy ETH address and making it humanly readable.

For example, the aforementioned CryptoExplorers group has an Ethereum account that reads as “0xF8BfD9c46c740A1dAB19bB00797E2236D9A6AF75.”

Thanks to the ENS, however, it is also “CryptoExplorers.ETH.” 

Now, I haven’t seen too many people use this, but the fact is, you can send ETH from your wallet to CryptoExplorers.ETH instead of typing in the long string of numbers.  (Disclosure: I haven’t verified this on every tool, but it works on MyEtherWallet and Mist.)

The process for securing an ENS name, however, is not like buying a domain name on GoDaddy. Here’s how it takes place:

1.     You search for a name that you want, say “DonaldTrump.ETH,” and see if it is available.

2.     If it is available, you signal your intention to put in a bid to the network by staking a claim in the form of a small amount of ether.

3.     At the same time, you also codify the maximum amount of ETH you are willing to spend for the name.

4.     Then, you secure your contract by digitally signing it and publishing it to the blockchain.

5.     The auction begins a few days later with the minimum bid, and everyone on the network is (theoretically) aware of its existence. They are then permitted to put forth their own bids as well.

6.     At a predetermined time, the auction is closed and the address that offered the highest bid (but only to the amount that beats the second-highest bid) is deemed the winner.

7.     You then return to the ENS tool, prove the fact that you are the winner (there’s a private key that you have to show) and then claim ownership of the name. 

The great part about all of this is that the auction takes place in a completely decentralized manner. No eBay in the middle to take fees or mine your data or, worse, manipulate the prices.

But there are some challenges.

For instance, I wanted to get the “NeverStopMarketing.ETH” address for Never Stop Marketing. I made the mistake of doing my first-ever ENS auction by using a site that I really wanted.

I should have used a dummy one, but I didn’t.  

What happened is that I set up the auction for NeverStopMarketing.ETH and figured I would come back to claim it when the auction was done. I couldn’t imagine that this particular ENS domain name would be in such high demand.

When I did return, however, I had lost the auction. Someone else had outbid me.

Since everything on the blockchain can be inspected, I clicked over to the winner’s address and saw that they were the proud owner of a huge number of domain names.  I had discovered one person who was the equivalent of the “domain squatters” of the late ’90s.

My guess is that this particular address was running a script that checked for any new auction announcements and automatically placed a bid somewhere just above the absolute minimum, figuring it was worth a shot to get the ENS of something that, at least for one other person, had value.

The ENS Brand Manager is going to be an app that allows you to manage your multiple ENS auctions (and other listings — Blockstack has the .id format) in one place.

The DApp will notify you of the existence of auctions and help you determine what to bid. It may even notify you of auctions where you are being challenged and you may need to take action (though I’m not sure that would work in the current format of ENS auctions).

The bottom line is that there will be tools (and probably companies) that focus on ENS registrations.

Bitcoin Now Available Through Coinstar Kiosks Nationwide

Distributed Summary:

  • Coinstar and Coinme team up to offer bitcoin-for-cash transactions at grocery stores around the country
  • Twitter users have shared photos of the on-screen process

Here Come the Three Bears

Joseph Lubin Joins ErisX

Distributed Summary:

  • The founder of ConsenSys joins the board of ErisX, a spot and futures crypto asset platform
  • Could precede additional assets becoming available on the platform
  • Signals potential optimism for 2019 crypto asset market

Legislation From Wyoming Could Enable Blockchain-Based Stock Certificates

Distributed Summary:

  • Bipartisan bill would allow corporations to use blockchain tokens as their only form of stock certification
  • Comes on the heels of other pro-blockchain legislation passed in the state
  • Successful implementation under these blockchain-friendly laws may change legislation elsewhere