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It’s been hailed as a global revolution, and shunned as a piece of technology used by drug dealers and cartels. But in reality, blockchain (the underlying technology that enables crypto currencies like Bitcoin) is a fascinating piece of technology that has the power to change our world.
Think of blockchain as a ledger that lives on every device on which it is installed. Whenever the ledger is changed, the information is updated on each device. This networked method of tracking information has supported the rise of decentralized currencies like Bitcoin and Ethereum.
But blockchain has a wide variety of uses that have already started to shape consumer expectations, go-to-market strategy, and data collection. Moving forward, the blockchain revolution will mean brands need to start positioning themselves differently in a world where decentralization and transparency are king.
Consumer Expectations Are Changing
Consumer expectations are already changing as a result of blockchain thanks to tools like HybridBlock, which provide laypeople with information about blockchain and cryptocurrencies. HybridBlock’s suite of products will educate and provide all of the tool to enter cryptocurrency as a novice and advance through the ranks to become more skilled and educated.
As consumers and companies learn more about the capabilities of blockchain, they will begin to choose products and services that operate in a decentralized manner. One Silicon Valley startup, OPEN Platform, provides a turnkey solution for blockchain integration between both on-chain and off-chain applications. What this means is that developers, marketers, and businesses can now build marketing tools and applications with minimal blockchain knowledge.
OPEN Platform CEO Ken Sangha says they understand the next wave of marketing applications and that CMOs will be focused on blockchain and cryptocurrency technology. “Much like mobile applications spawned the last generation of technology CMOs that’s why we’ve built OPEN in the most modular way possible, to appeal to the next generation of marketing application developers and the CMOs who will use them.”
But thanks to blockchain, the technology is designed to safely and transparently share data between a large group of people without needing centralized oversight to keep data safe.
Thanks to blockchain, customers can monitor how a corporation handles their data, or track the origins of a particular item. Blockchain gives consumers the platform they need to hold centralized institutions accountable.
Capital Is Becoming More Accessible
The second most common reason why startups fail is that they “ran out of cash” according to a report by CB Insights. CMOs in need of funds to bring marketing campaigns to life can now propose a new avenue of funding to other members of the c-suite.
Thanks to blockchain, and cryptocurrencies, startups now have access to capital through avenues that simply did not exist a few years ago. Take TrustToken as an example, a technology that is poised to enable people around the world to buy fractional ownership in commodities like real estate, gold, or small businesses.
Each asset or business could get its own token, that is tradable on global cryptocurrency exchanges just like Bitcoin or Ethereum. TrustToken’s technology will be used to audit the asset ownership and monitor each transaction, bringing the power of blockchains to improve real-world markets.
Customer Sentiment Can Be Evaluated On-Demand
The world’s visionary tech companies are investing billions of dollars in artificial intelligence. Jeff Bezos recently announced that Amazon was going to double down on voice assistants, an AI based technology that has started to revolutionize the way consumers interface with brands.
But smaller organizations are at a disadvantage when it comes to developing AI tech. Whereas large companies have massive amounts of data with which they can feed machine learning algorithms, small organizations do not have the same luxury.
With blockchain, consumers and companies can buy and sell data via decentralized, but highly transparent markets. Synapse is one such technology, the platform allows consumers to sell their data in exchange for SYN tokens, and allows buyers to track individual users in return. On a larger scale, this helps create a dynamic AI ecosystem that can actually become smarter and more efficient over time leading to a full AI economy.
Iris is another blockchain based platform designed to allow consumers to sell their data (in this case it’s health data), while at the same time, making it possible for researchers and corporations to access large data sets on demand. With the proper incentivization, Iris is proving that consumer data can be shared in a mutually beneficial fashion.
Finally, ClearPoll uses blockchain technology to safely record a poll respondent’s selection. Plus, it gives organizations a new way to incentivize and collect consumer sentiment. Using POLL tokens, respondents are rewarded for participating in a poll, making it easier for brands to instantly evaluate customer sentiment. ClearPoll also offers in-depth respondent metrics on thousands of historical polls.
Brands That Adapt Fastest Will Win
The blockchain revolution will gradually pickup steam. Just as on-demand revolutionized content and commerce by changing customer expectations in a matter of years, blockchain will have a similar impact on what customers expect from brands.
While today blockchain may seem like a vestige of libertarians and tech nerds, the powerful and secure technology will becoming increasingly mainstream.
As a result, brands that embrace the tenets of the blockchain revolution will be best situated to win over prospective customers who are interested in supporting innovative companies.
Big brands are already embracing blockchain. Burger Kingreleased their own cryptocurrency built with blockchain, and IBM is helping a Chinese retailer to improve food safety using blockchain. Visionary companies know the importance of embracing blockchain innovation, it’s time for other CMOs to embrace the revolution as well.
If you thought you only needed to worry about trends like machine learning, and augmented reality, think again.
Blockchain is here to stay. That means CMOs have new opportunities to connect with consumers, raise capital, and capture data. But most of all, it means marketing leaders must embrace change as decentralization and transparency becomes the norm.
This article originally appeared on Forbes.