Major investors, SoftBank China Venture Capital (SBCVC) and Baidu Ventures (BV) have led a seed round for Atlas Protocol (ATP), a startup company founded by ex Google employees, that aims to create a new blockchain advertising protocol.
ATP, incubated by Nebulas Labs and the xGoogler Blockchain Alliance (xGBA), is using blockchain technology to change the dynamics of the digital marketing industry, with a new ‘interactive’ advertising ecosystem.
Currently, online marketing companies do not provide users with any control over their collected data, and with Europe’s new General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR), it has become a far more complex affair. ATP have stated:
“Atlas Protocol will be fully transparent for users, in contrast to the ‘data blackhole’ setup that characterises the current industry landscape dominated by digital giants.”
With extensive experience in both blockchain and internet advertising, ATP’s impressive list of founders are all ex-Googler’s and includes Duran Liu, former Head of Nebulas Labs; Cheng Li, former FreeWheel Engineering Director; Hitters Xu, founder of Nebulas; Ellen Wang, founder of Linked-Media.
Furthermore, the technical advisers of the project will be Jeremy Zhou, the first engineer of Google AdWords and co-founder of Jide Technology, along with Professor Ronghui Gu of Columbia University and co-founder of CertiK.
Positioning itself as a transparent marketing platform, Atlas aims to disrupt giants like Google and Facebook, by driving online traffic to interact with the public blockchain networks directly.
The platform aims to empower users to decide with whom they want to share their data. Marketers will use Atlas (ATLS) tokens to incentivise users for their transaction data and other information, much like a rewards program, thus promoting the value exchange of the online ecosystem.
According to a press release, the project is backed by a robust technical infrastructure. Duran Liu, co-founder of ATP explained that the core algorithm of Atlas Protocol is based on the expanded Nebulas Rank, he stated:
“Blockchain is a value network, Nebulas Rank provides a way to measure the value of multidimensional data in the blockchain.” adding “It will create a trustworthy new marketing channel and define a new tokenised marketing frontier.”
ATP Smartdrop, the first application built on top of Atlas Protocol, has already gone live in the Nebulas Incentive Program, delivering token rewards to more than one hundred thousand blockchain users.
SBCVC has an outstanding investment portfolio that includes Alibaba, Taobao and Focus Media. Mervin Zhou, a partner of SBCVC believes an interactive blockchain advertising protocol could be the next unicorn in the era of blockchain, and ATP the next Google Ads of it.
Other Asian business giants who joined this funding round include Fenbushi Digital and Danhua Capital (DHVC). Professor Shoucheng Zhang of Stanford University, founding chairman of Danhua Capital said:
“the healthy development of the blockchain ecosystem in the long term requires an outstanding team to truly energise the whole industry.”
Indeed, there are numerous blockchain adtech pilots in motion, such as Unilever and IBM’s blockchain digital ad supply chain, Comcast’s blockchain advertising platform for video, and InBev with Budweiser on Kiip‘s mobile platform, which uses the Ethereum blockchain to track ad data.