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This ad agency is using blockchain to create a ‘cleaner media supply’ network

Blockchain technology is starting to be adopted by industries from banking to logistics, with JPMorgan Chase, IBM and UPS all talking about how they're using it in recent weeks.

Now it's the turn of the advertising sector, with agency network The Marketing Group launching "the first blockchain-enabled global media agency," called Truth, on Wednesday, according to an online statement.

The media-buying industry has been under fire this year because of problems with online ad fraud (bots instead of humans seeing or 'clicking' on ads) and issues with how the effectiveness of campaigns are measured. Earlier this year, Procter & Gamble's Chief Brand Officer Marc Pritchard said some in the industry were "grading their own homework" and called the media supply chain "murky at best and fraudulent at worst."

Truth chief executive Mary Keane-Dawson, with COO Adam Hopkinson (right) and The Marketing Group CEO Adam Graham (center)
Truth
Truth chief executive Mary Keane-Dawson, with COO Adam Hopkinson (right) and The Marketing Group CEO Adam Graham (center)

Because online advertising is often bought programmatically — using automated technology — it can be unclear exactly where ads are placed and according to some estimates, vast amounts of money are being wasted. Ad agency The&Partnership calculated that 29 percent of the $27 billion spent on this kind of advertising globally in 2016 was on "invalid traffic," equivalent to $7.8 billion.

Truth, which will operate in the U.K., U.S., Singapore and Australia, will use blockchain's smart contract technology to underpin its media buying and planning platforms so clients will be able to see where their money goes.

Blockchain is a secure digital ledger of transactions that lets users see and share information quickly and freely. It is the technology that underpins bitcoin, a type of digital currency known as a cryptocurrency.

Truth says it will charge clients a "single clear fee" for media buying and planning. "By bringing blockchain technology into the media world we will build a cleaner media supply chain with 100 percent transparency. We want to put the client first and believe this is the best way to do that," said the company's chief executive, Mary Keane-Dawson.

In June, cable network Comcast announced it will launch a "Blockchain Insights Platform" in 2018, which will allow it to improve "addressable" targeting for TV advertising, or make ads more personalized to each viewer.

Disclosure: Comcast is the owner of NBCUniversal, the parent company of CNBC and CNBC.com.