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AiThority Interview Series With Sam Kim, CEO, Lucidity

Sam Kim

Kim has spent the past 20 years working with early stage startups and high growth companies across many industries including gaming, advertising technology, agriculture, and travel. Before joining The Mobile Majority, Kim founded and led Edgepoint, a commodities trading platform for Vietnamese companies seeking to enter the highly competitive US market. The platform reduced the complexity of contract term negotiations, language barriers, and time zone differences.

Lucidity (previously KR8OS) is a digital advertising protocol utilizing the blockchain to bring transparency and trust to the industry. Built on the Ethereum blockchain, Lucidity resolves data discrepancies so billing is faster; prevents fraud by eliminating publisher domain spoofing; and enables supply chain payment tracking so advertisers know exactly where their budgets are going.

What made you start a Blockchain company to track digital advertising?

As the former COO and Co-founder of a mobile advertising company, I ran both ad operations and finance. Every month, my department would have to waste countless hours reconciling data discrepancies and resolving payment disputes. After learning about the use of blockchain in advertising from my now CTO Miguel Morales, I experienced an “aha” moment. I firmly believe the technology can solve the real-world problems that plague the digital advertising industry.

What are the challenges when dealing with digital and programmatic advertising that make it prone to fraud?

Everyone has a different view of the data. To run a programmatic digital advertising campaign, an advertiser has to work with a variety of vendors that each have their own way of measuring and reporting data. The result is a very fragmented and incomplete view of what marketing events actually happened and which were fraudulent. That lack of transparency creates opportunities for bad actors to manipulate the system for their own benefit.

How does Blockchain work to address these challenges for all players involved?

Blockchain is simply a way to store and verify data that can’t be manipulated. It’s accessible to everyone, so all parts of the digital advertising ecosystem can bill off of the same numbers and trust that those numbers are accurate. It truly creates trust in a trustless ecosystem.

How does Lucidity tackle ‘bad actors’ looking to game the system? What security does the technology provide against dubious publishers and click-happy bots?

Digital signatures are a start to resolving this, which create a verified identity for all publishers. Advertisers can confirm a publisher is who they say they are. However digital signatures are already a part of openRTB. The problem with openRTB is that it is a completely open protocol with no verification. The system doesn’t look at the data holistically, but instead collects only the siloed data from separate parts of the supply chain. For instance, you might receive some data from a tracking pixel, but you’d be missing out on other data from say the publisher’s server.

Because blockchain aggregates the whole data set, we can cross-reference data from all parts of the supply chain and identify where fraud has occurred.

Tell us about Lucidity’s partners and how Verifiers work with you.

We work with variety of partners that include industry governing organizations to help create better standards, technology partners that combine our data verification process with their impression scoring process, and customers who want to run campaigns using verified data. Generally, our protocol allows for our partners to build their own digital advertising applications using blockchain-verified data. With that foundation, the ways to work with us are nearly endless.

What are the top misconceptions about Blockchain?

In my mind, the two biggest misconceptions about blockchain are that it’s complex and that it can’t scale. Generally, people unfamiliar with blockchain will assume its complexity which is partly our fault as an industry – we have a way of over-complicating things. People who are familiar with blockchain usually assume that it doesn’t have the scale for programmatic advertising. However, with the development of side chains and technologies like plasma, we’re starting to see that that just isn’t the case anymore.

You have worked with an array of early-stage startups; what advice would you give others based on your experience?

Think about who your first customer is going to be and who your customer is going to be in 3 years. Build your product with them in mind.

Blockchain is a buzzword right now; how do you see the community evolving?

The industry will become much more professional. It will evolve to be less about dismantling current paradigms and more about making incremental improvements to established industries.

In your opinion, how can smart contracts be a gamechanger? Which industries see maximum benefit from embracing the technology?

Smart contracts create transparency and trust because they’re secure, automated programs. They can’t be hacked and they can’t be manipulated. They always run as they were intended and require no human operation. Industries like finance, health care, insurance – really any industry where there is a lack of trust between supply chain partners – stand to benefit.

Tell us about your thoughts on the upcoming requirements and how it will mold company policy on data regulation?

Current data regulation policies weren’t written with the blockchain in mind so we have to do a bit of a revamp. To that end, we’re actively working with the IAB to help set policies around blockchain data.

What plans for the future?

Our major goal is to make our protocol the industry standard for everybody. That means demonstrating how applications are built on top of the protocol, encouraging companies to build on our protocol, and ultimately making our protocol and industry product, not a Lucidity product.

Thank you, Sam! That was fun and hope to see you back on AiThority soon.

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