Blockchain technology against unethical marketing practices

Hi there! Welcome to the uncharted territory of blockchain technology and ethical marketing in their well-balanced co-existence. This blog opens my blockchain-flagged “anti-marketing” campaign. You may ask: what is this all about? “Anti-marketing” campaign in the OBM blog? Why? You are right: it sounds strange, to say the least. Especially, if you get to know, that I am a student of the Major Online Business and Marketing. What? Why then is a particle “anti-“ used in this context? Are you against marketing?  No, I am not, and not only because I am a part of the marketing crowd, but also because I believe that we need marketing as a source of information, which is shared with customers, in order to get the customers to know brands, products and events. I support marketing as long as it stays ethical. As long as advertisements do not disturb me too much or do not change my basic human values. As long as my privacy is concerned. That is on what you, perhaps, agree with me, don’t you? But where is this cross-line, the cross-line between just being informed and being tracked by marketing and advertising agents? I guess, each and every person has its personal views on the privacy. But, do we know for sure if we are really in control of our private space and our thoughts? Or, are we just adjusting our rights for privacy to the needs of the business world, which piece by piece bites off our personal space in order to make more profit? Do we really expect marketing to be transparent or we just do not care how far the certain practices in marketing may go? There are no clear answers to these questions. That is why, for our future we should find time and define the borders, where our freedom and privacy are compromised. If we accept inevitable changes,” anti-marketing” may turn into “new-marketing”. There are certain tools at our disposal, for example, blockchain technology, which can help us to draw this line. And, I am going to give a careful consideration to its contribution to the ethical marketing in my blog. Stay tuned, because blockchain is easier to understand than it sounds.

To know exactly, where we are now, we should look back on the history. There, where marketing was born. The marketing was shaped into its classical version not so long time ago. To be exact, it started to be serious after the Great Depression in the 1930s. It was the time when the modern capitalism made its first steps. Fierce competition and customer`s acquisition by any price being practised these days are still synonyms for the marketing even nowadays. Fortunately, the face of marketing has been undergoing the substantial change. We are getting into the era of transparency and personal choice, aren`t we? And, I think, we should be truly happy of those changes. However, there are still methods which look barbaric nowadays, like: marketing lies, exaggeration of product qualities, stereotyping, and even product lobbying. This “medieval” marketing practices are still on its go in the developing countries. They drastically affect the lifestyles of billions of people. A good example of those practices is direct or indirect advertising of cigarette brands in the developing world, especially in Asia. The cigarettes cost very cheap there, so, the poor people can afford them. Together with poverty and low level of education it is a truly powerful marketing mix with tragic consequences. The good news is that the majority of the grown-up and informed consumers approach advertising with a healthy degree of scepticism. Nevertheless, some of the consumers, like children or ill people, are exceptionally sensitive to uncontentious advertising. They often become the targets of unethical marketing. Big tobacco companies target young people as the potential customers. Fast food and sugar drinks advertisements have led to the growing rate of obesity and diabetes among children and youngsters in both developed and developing countries. All these malicious faces of the marketing look like information wars for the customer­’s attention rather than source of the trustworthy information. In this case, the motto of those marketers: the end justifies means.

While low-income countries are being under attack of unethical marketing in the brands’ pursuit to “milk” the most vulnerable consumers, the western world is fighting for the privacy. Recently, more and more people have gotten aware of the value of their personal data. And by value, I do not mean only financial value. The daily use of internet for information search or for making wireless transactions make us very vulnerable in this Big Data World. We are under constant Social Media Surveillance. We are constantly categorized, customized, objectified. Every click in the web space has become meaningful. Nobody knows exactly how much data is out there already stored and cannot be erased. The data became “a new oil” but without certain price. Millions of our avatars are in the customer databases. We are not always aware of what information we share, with who and what are the consequences of this sharing. The companies are also in vague what for exactly do they collect this resource and energy- consuming piles of information. They pull the data and keep it but not always use it in a proper way.  This data is not always meant to improve customer relationship or make the customer experience more exclusive but to boost sales, retain customers or build their loyalty. Most of the times it has impersonal touch and its meaning is “lost in translation”. Many companies are making money and even selling the data without the prior consent of the customer.

Image by Gerd Altmann from Pixabay

All these marketing implementations seem terrifying, don’t they? The solution is to admit, that we are in need of change. We need a paradigm shift in the data sharing.

We want to trust marketing again. We need transparency. We require reliability. We look for truth. To all these concerns modern digital marketing may find solutions. It has been revolutionizing the approach in the industry. However, the reality at the moment is different and complicated. Consumers are bombarded with newsletters and websites are overloaded with adds. No tiny step into the Web stays unnoticed. We are instantly virtually giving our agreement to use our data, sometimes even without even reading what we agree on.  More and more concerns arise out of this virtual mess. Fortunately, there are solutions on the way.

While most of us associate digital marketing with things like AI and analytics, blockchain technologies and personal data privacy are in the actual forward line of those changes.  Most of the use of blockchain is around finances and crypto-currencies but the underlying technology could be huge for marketing. Blockchain is not owned by a single entity and the data is cryptographically stored inside. Decentralization is the absolutely key to understanding of the blockchain. The blockchain is unchangeable, so no one can play with the data that is inside the blockchain and transparent so one can track the data. It has substantial resources against hacking and data manipulation. The blockchain gives back power to the people

The new browser Brave ( offers opt-in view of advertisements. The customers can be reimbursed with Basic Attention Tokens (BAT’s) by giving out their data and getting attention instead of distributing adds. Consumers can finally follow the product to the manufacturer and decide if they want to buy this product. The products can be tracked and checked for their carbon-foot print as well. It fights back unethical marketing practices. The businesses can also benefit from using blockchains. The companies and marketing agencies can have better leads. They can establish direct and more personalized connections with the customers, giving the customers their rights for privacy back. Cost reduction, efficient and secure transaction, accuracy and transparency: all this sounds so good to be true. Nevertheless, it can be our very near future.

However, not everything is ideal about using blockchain technology, for instance, the electricity consumption by blockchain. As any high technology, blockchain uses computing powers, servers and mining equipment. The number of blocks in the chain can reach hundreds of thousands. In order to validate and secure transaction, the maintenance of some huge blockchains, for example Bitcoin, requires as much energy as used by Switzerland or Ireland.

Green -power solutions and more energy-efficient hardware are currently being tested. Several obstacles are still to be passed on the way to the wide adoption of blockchain. There is the light at the end of the tunnel and I hope my blog will lighten some candles on the way out.

Image by xresch from Pixabay


Marketing can and should become more ethical and transparent. Using blockchain technologies will certainly change the industry and put some players in front of decision to transform ourselves or will question their very existence. Current global challenges and their potential solutions can be addressed by the use of new technologies, like blockchain, and by the ethical re-evaluation of some of our business practices.


3 thoughts on “Blockchain technology against unethical marketing practices

  1. I really enjoyed reading this post! I agree that we have so much advanced technology and it then makes us question more and more what is becoming the next “norm” and ethical approach.

  2. Thank you for detailed explanation and additional links provided – It was also interesting to read more about Bitcoin’s energy consumption.

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