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Blockchain media agency Truth invites people to sell their data in exchange for ‘tokens’

Blockchain media agency Truth – part of what was previously known as The Marketing Group holding company before the recent name change to RYVL – has announced an initial coin offering whereby consumers and “larger entities” will be rewarded for sharing their internet browsing data with the company.

The unusual move will see the ICO running until November 15 and the firm, which is part of a holding company that has a checkered past within the marketing community, claims it expects to raise between US$5 million and US$50 million. So far, the amount raised stands at more than US$1 million.

Explaining the model, a spokesperson from Truth said it was “a blockchain-based platform and data marketplace that will enable consumers to control the storage of, and trade in, their personal online browsing and buying intention data through their personalised data wallet”.

The spokesperson added that Truth would “openly reward consumers for transparent, permission-based use of their personal data by advertisers” adding: “In return for access to their personal data, consumers will receive TRU Tokens. TRU Tokens will be used for a number of different purposes on the platform, including as payment for access to data and as collateral for users who wish to operate nodes on the distributed network.”

It was confirmed that those effectively selling their data could be either individuals or “larger, trusted entities (second party) who have collated datasets”.  

Mary Keane-Dawson, Adam Graham and Truth CCO Adam Hopkinson

Truth founder and chief executive officer Mary Keane Dawson said: ”The global data economy is worth a staggering US$42 billion today and is forecast to grow to US$106 billion by 2027. However, its use in advertising is bedeviled by fraud, inaccurate data and poor targeting, making it inefficient for advertisers and annoying and intrusive for consumers.  

“Truth will help transform this industry into one where all participants can trade in a free market ecosystem built on blockchain, providing fairness and transparency for consumers and advertisers.”

Powered through an Ethereum platform, Truth’s technology uses the same programme as cryptocurrency to track how a media buy makes its way from an advertiser to a media owner. The offering was designed to be something of a rebirth for RYVL, formerly The Marketing Group.

Some two years after its controversial formation, TMG attempted to overhaul its brand identity with the name change to RYVL. The company was originally founded in Singapore as a holding company alternative to WPP. All of the network’s 15 agencies have now been rebranded to include RYVL alongside their respective names.

The rebrand comes seven months after TMG acrimoniously parted ways with its most colourful founding member, Chris Reed, the CEO of Singapore-based agency Black Marketing.

Reed’s company was one of four originally bought by TMG’s founders Jeremy Harbour and Callum Laing in what was originally an “agglomeration business model”. TMG went on to then acquire a further 13 companies in the next nine months, although two – including Black Marketing – have since been discarded.

The company was listed on the First North Stock Exchange in Sweden in June 2016, with its share price soaring from an opening price of €1 to a remarkable €9 on August 1. Since the start of 2017, TMG has embarked on a series of efforts to re-establish its credibility following the share price fall.

It brought on board a new CEO, London-based Adam Graham, and fired the original board. It also attempted to reposition itself as an “agile, technology-centric”  disruptor to ad networks.

Graham previously said: “Clients are looking for a unified experience and we’re breaking down all the silos and creating a new group model without the fiefdoms, politics and layers of suffocating bureaucracy that have caused the well-documented problems of today’s big ad networks.

“We believe our agile, lean, technology-centric approach will deliver exactly what clients are crying out for.” According to Graham, RYVL planned to embark on an “aggressive acquisition strategy” focused on technology companies.

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