Meet Adam Chorley, COO and Co-Founder at Decentralised Ad Exchange Platform: Alkimi Exchange

Adam Chorley

What was it that made you establish Alkimi?

I had been a retail crypto investor for a few years, along with Ben Putley, a close friend and co-founder of Alkimi. We spent a lot of time researching and talking about the latest trends in blockchain and DLT (distributed ledger technology), and when Covid was in full swing, it was a hobby that kept us sane through the worst of lockdown. In summer 2020 we found ourselves deep in the world of DeFi (decentralised finance), where blockchain technology provides real utility in an industry driven by speculation.

Witnessing genuine peer-to-peer transactions and functionality opened our eyes to what was possible using blockchain and DLT for other business use cases. One in particular that caught our attention was a decentralised crypto exchange called Uniwap, which allows for real-time, peer-to-peer crypto trading through the utilisation of large liquidity pools. This led us to ask: could this same methodology be used to trade digital ads?

On paper, all it meant was swapping crypto A for a publisher and crypto B for the advertiser, but we soon realised that Ethereum was a huge bottleneck to building such an exchange. A few had attempted to do so prior to the rise of DeFi, but the Ethereum network hadn’t gotten any faster since then.

To break through the speed barrier, we invested in a new type of blockchain pioneered by Constellation Networks called Hypergraph which was fast enough for instant transactions and provided horizontal scaling — the two fundamentals for a successful programmatic ad exchange.
Alkimi Exchange Announces its Listing on Uphold -

What does a decentralised approach entail in the context of digital advertising?

Some digital advertising exchanges are currently run through centralised servers and companies. These companies create a black box environment which can obfuscate what is really taking place to suit their own buying, selling, or arbitraging of inventory. This behaviour is so damaging to the industry that it has caught the attention of antitrust legislators, as seen in the case of Google’s “Project Bernanke”.

The objective of decentralisation is to provide total transparency, trust, and a fair value exchange by conducting and validating transactions through a globally distributed network and nodes. This creates a single source of truth for every single transaction, with log-level data accessible to any participant in the network, wherever they are. Crucially, participants maintain complete control of the privacy of their data as it is accessed via encrypted keys, meaning only authorised parties can view details of a specific transaction while retaining full auditability of the data. In such a system, there is no space for fraud or wasted spend.

How have you witnessed blockchain technology evolve over the last five years ?

We have seen a move away from proof-of-work mechanisms towards fairer, faster, and less energy intensive methods of reaching consensus. Ethereum — the second largest cryptocurrency by market cap —has moved to a proof-of-stake consensus, which the Ethereum Foundation estimates will use 99.95% less energy.

We have also seen new methods of ordering data within a ledger change. For example, the term “blockchain” is used to describe the entire industry, but there are many types distributed ledgers. Constellation Network’s Hypergraph, for example, is a DAG (directed acyclic graph), which is a blockchain where the graph or chain doesn’t go back on itself. Unlike linear blockchains such as Ethereum or Bitcoin where each block can only be created by the last, DAGs can add data to any available validated transaction, enabling horizontal scalability.

Such innovations have created blockchains that are as quick and scalable as any centralised system, while addressing all the common arguments levelled against the technology. This opens up applications for blockchain beyond simply solving the problems of crypto-to-crypto exchanges, and could be used by a wide variety of sectors and industries that would benefit from decentralised systems.


What does the future hold for Alkimi?

We recently rolled out our digital display ad exchange, but this is just the beginning, and we have an ambitious and detailed road map for the next three years. The immediate goal is to offer agnostic ad-buying where advertisers and media owners can transact with any type of media, from traditional display ads to CTV and even the Metaverse, all united under the same consensus mechanism to provide a standardised experience at the buying point.

Beyond the ad exchange, we also have a patent-pending solution for the impending cookie retirement, where consumers are rewarded for ad interaction, based upon full and informed permission rather than grudging consent. It’s unlike anything else in the market, and we believe it will fundamentally change the current power dynamic of digital advertising.

This all feeds into our wider vision to build an ecosystem that supports the next decade of programmatic advertising, while bridging the gap between web 2.0 and web 3.0. We have various tools, products, and services in the pipeline to help marketers engage with their audiences and close conversion loops. The incumbents of today’s centralised system have a lot to offer and inertia is a powerful force, so we have to break through with things people have never seen before while still providing everything that ad buyers and sellers expect.

The possibilities of this new infrastructure cannot be understated. We want to connect with the people at the coalface of the industry who are best placed to discover these possibilities, improve what exists today, and find uses that we haven’t even imagined yet.