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Almost anyone that has spent time on the internet will be inclined to agree that advertising has become intrusive and even predatory at times. Since most advertisements these days hinder user experience, most individuals turn to ad-blocking software to get rid of them altogether. This puts advertisers and publishers in a rather precarious position as both of them rely on ads, either for attracting new users or revenue.
Even though some blockchain-based solutions like Basic Attention Token (BAT) have managed to disrupt the advertising space to some degree, a new blockchain startup Varanida believes that its platform can take this one step further. Instead of building an entire ad network from scratch, Varanida’s platform will give users, publishers, and advertisers granular control over their ads to prevent irrelevant spam and ad fraud.
Given that the advertising industry is currently tangled in a nexus of intermediaries and data mishandling, employing blockchain technology was a natural design choice for the developers of Varanida. The use of blockchain presents many advantages, including decentralization, censorship-resistance, transparency and finally, the ability to arrive at a consensus.
The last point about consensus is crucial because Varanida will let users collectively vote on the type of ads they want to see while browsing the internet. While popular ad blocking and privacy software such as Adblock Plus and Ghostery have been found whitelisting ads in exchange for money or selling user data, Varania aims to be neutral and fully accountable. This way, publishers and advertisers will be able to benefit from an audience, while users will also have the choice of being compensated with tokens.
So far, Varanida’s developers have developed a browser extension that allows users to earn tokens for reporting advertisements across the internet. This crowdsourced data will help Varanida build the final version of its platform, alongside various other known sources such as EasyList and open-source databases.
Users that participate in this ‘cleanup’ program will be rewarded with Verified Ad (VAD) tokens every time they flag an intrusive ad or script on a webpage. The company says that the extensions have already been downloaded over 130,000 times.
The VAD token currently in circulation is ERC-20 compliant, which means that it has been developed on top of the Ethereum blockchain. However, according to the project white paper and roadmap, Varanida expects to migrate to its own blockchain in the second quarter of 2019. Along with this, it will also launch two separate crypto-assets, namely VADm and VADu. While VADm will have a fixed supply and appreciate in value with an increase in platform usage, the other token will be used by all customers on the platform as a medium of exchange.
For the past couple of months, Varandina has been offering early adopters the opportunity to purchase VAD tokens in an initial coin offering (ICO). The token sale has been successful so far, with the company predicting that it will soon break through the €8 million soft cap. Round 2 of the token sale is scheduled to commence September 28 and will run until October 5, 2018. Each participant will be able to purchase 20 BTC worth of tokens.
The Varanida team believes that this cap and a few other changes it has recently made will allow a larger audience to participate in the sale. Moreover, it will help prevent the sale from being overrun by investors that are only valuing the project for its investment potential. In a blog post detailing these changes, the company emphasized on its mission to onboard “a community of like-minded individuals, who are genuinely interested in disrupting the Internet and making it better for everyone.”