The 200-billion-dollar per annum online advertising ecosystem has become infested with thousands of intermediaries exploiting user data and advertising budgets. All key stakeholders in the value-chain are infected: advertisers with fraud, publishers with their diminishing share of advertising budgets, and users with their right to privacy. Blockchain presents a possible solution to addressing the critical issues in the online advertising supply chain. The question remains whether blockchain scalability, energy-efficiency, and token volatility issues can be solved in the coming years to the extent that online advertising could widely leverage trustlessness and the benefits gained from blockchain technology. This paper aims to review the current progress and to open a discussion to address the issues. We present new requirements for blockchain-based online advertising solutions. We have also analyzed the available solutions against the requirements and recommend directions for future research and solution development. Evidence from our research points out that blockchain is not yet ready to be widely implemented in online advertising. More research is needed, and new proof-of-concepts need to be developed before blockchain technology can be considered a trusted alternative for the current online advertising marketplace based on open real-time bidding.
blockchain; online advertising; adtech; energy efficiency; transparency; ad fraud