It is often said that a technology does not become mainstream until the average person uses it without being aware of it. The common analogy used is SMTP and email, however there is a crucial step in-between that this analogy misses out on, and that is the adoption of the products that use the underlying technology. Had Eudora (back in 1988!) not driven millions of users to its product to discover the benefits of email, and by extension the underlying technology email’s adoption cycle would have been slower and might not have spawned the webmail services that we know today as the user base to sustain them would not have existed.
Blockchain technology is approaching an inflection point as huge gains in valuations and record ICO raises make headlines and spur and ever-growing drive to deploy the technology to everything from land registries, to medical records, cloud computing and medical marijuana. The next 24 months will see an exponential increase in blockchain based applications being released, with the trend set to accelerate over the next 5 years.
In order for this new generation of applications to spawn the next blessing of unicorns (yes, the collective noun for a group of unicorns is a blessing, thank us on trivia night) a fundamental audience shift needs to occur in the blockchain space. App developers will need to collaborate with the influencers, marketers and mainstream media houses to promote the benefits that their products offer the man on the street.
Influencers, news sites and media houses possess some of the most under-utilised assets in the modern economy – high intent user traffic. They spend tens and sometimes hundreds of thousands a year to research and create content that is relevant to their audience, only for them to receive a pittance in return for displaying tangentially relevant display ads from CPM networks such as AdSense, Taboola and Outbrain (with these middle-men taking the lion’s share of the revenue). On the flip side the brands leveraging these networks have their budgets decimated by ad fraud worth billions of dollars a year with some studies putting the percentage of fraudulent US ad impressions at 35%.
RefToken will disrupt this model and fix the ecosystem by connecting merchants directly with content creators, allowing them to promote applications that they believe in and provide real value to their readers. RefToken will supercharge the efficacy of blockchain marketing by leveraging smart contracts to execute and enforce payments between content creators and brands, whilst brands will be protected from ad fraud by only paying for transactions that are verified on the blockchain.
The offshoot will be a perfect storm of user growth for the applications that market themselves through RefToken’s affiliate platform, as brands will see the benefit of paying €100,000K for 5,000 real verified users over €100,000 for 20,000 impressions that generated a handful of incidental users. On the flipside content creators will flock to the platform to strike deals with teams that are creating applications that solve their audience’s problems, will be under less pressure to churn out basic click-bait type content and incentivised to create high value content that builds a real user case for the technology underlying the products they promote.
This cycle will self-perpetuate as blockchain technology propagates outwards from the current niche of innovators towards the mainstream majorities and laggards, literally supercharging the adoption rate of blockchain based applications.
The RefToken platform allows both merchants and affiliates to discover each other through a directory segmented by product vertical or niche, eliminating the need for hours of prospecting work from the affiliate marketing team. Every merchant publishes one or more deals that they would like affiliates to promote, with these deals also featuring in a master listing segmented by niche. Affiliates are then able to review the requirements of each deal and sign up to the ones most relevant to their audiences and upcoming content plan. This rapid discovery and deployment rate will allow blockchain applications to reach massive audiences in a fraction of the time that it would take should the current model of research, prospecting, discovering contact details, cold emailing, proposal, negotiation, close.
Performance marketing is the ideal fit for a rapidly maturing sector such as blockchain technology, as it allows product creators to rapidly acquire new users on a pay-for-what-get basis, eliminating the risk associated with writing large up-front cheques to marketing agencies that may or may not deliver positive ROI on the spend. RefToken will be the platform that enables blockchain applications to leverage the channel.