IAB UK’s response to TAG’s DLT industry consultation

Posted on: Monday 30 November 2020 | IAB UK

IAB UK has responded to TAG’s five-week consultation process into whether Distributed Ledger Technology is a viable solution to improve supply chain transparency. Read our response and find out what to expect next

The pilot

In order to increase transparency within the digital advertising supply chain, The Trustworthy Accountability Group (TAG) - formerly known as JICWEBS and of which IAB UK is a board member - ran a year-long pilot between July 2019 and July 2020 to see whether blockchain works as an always-on solution to drive accountability and business efficiency within digital advertising. This was run with Fiducia, the developer of a Distributed Ledger Technology (DLT), as selected by an independent committee formed of 20 industry and DLT experts.

The pilot set out to evaluate if DLT is a suitable solution for digital advertising; if TAG is the right home for it as a cross-industry trade body; and what DLT platform should be implemented if the TAG board decide to launch the network. Major brands were included in the pilot, such as Nestlé, O2 and McDonald’s, as well as media agencies from WPP, Havas, Omnicom, Interpublic Group and Publicis Groupe. 

The consultation

Following the pilot, TAG has conducted a five-week industry consultation into whether DLT is a viable solution for the digital advertising industry. This took place between 20 October and 5 November 2020.

As part of this process, we at IAB UK held events to inform our members of the developments and get their feedback on the proposals: 

  • DLT Q&A Session with Fiducia: The company that conducted the year-long pilot joined our members to explain how DLT technology works and to answer technical questions

  • TAG DLT Consultation with IAB Members: Helping members to understand and feed into the consultation process

We also ran a short survey between 2-4 November with members that have engaged with us regarding the consultation, e.g. by attending a webinar. We have used this information to shape our response to the consultation. In summary: 

  • From an IAB UK perspective, we are not in favour of going ahead with TAG’s DLT proposal at the current time

  • Following the ISBA/PwC Supply Chain Transparency Report and creation of a Cross-Industry Taskforce to improve supply chain transparency, we feel that it would be better to investigate DLT as a potential option for improving transparency as part of the process established by the Task Force

  • The Task Force has committed to investigate different technologies that could increase supply chain transparency and running a parallel process through TAG, that only considers DLT, is no longer desirable or necessary as it might undermine the findings of the Task Force

  • As such, TAG’s further exploration of DLT should be placed on hold and revisited when it comes up naturally as part of the work being led by the Cross-Industry Programmatic Taskforce

Please download the full response below for a full understanding of our position. 

Following the responses from across the industry, TAG is now considering the next steps and is aiming to share these by the end of 2020. You can find out more about the consultation and the DLT pilot on TAG’s website here.


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