BeinCrypto spoke to Adam Helfgott, CEO of MAD Network. He discusses their layer two blockchain and how they’re building trusted applications across industries.
Helfgott got his start in the New York hacking scene just before the rise of the internet. This put him among the early phase of cryptography enthusiasts before the word blockchain could even rank on Google Trends.
“So the crypto punks before they there was blockchain but there’s lots of cryptography. When cryptography used to be in the United States what was considered a munition” he says.
“It was part of the movements where we would send encryption codes on T-shirts to Europe and then people can decrypt them. Which was theoretically against the law which led to the decriminalisation of cryptography. Which had to happen for the industry that we’re a part of to flourish because otherwise bitcoin would be literally illegal. Yeah, so. So that was fun.”
Combining this early experience with entrepreneurship, Helfgott went into multiple start-up ventures in Web1 and Web2. This has culminated in the founding of Mad Hive in 2016.
MAD Hive and MAD network
When founding MAD Hive, Helfgott was already well within the cryptocurrency space.
“I’ve been part of the bitcoin community since like 2012 or so. I was thinking about having this new database technology where new products get created that kind of push the way humans work together in new ways,” he says.
He explains that the rise of this public mainnet was really what drew his attention.
“That’s where I got really really fascinated. Now there’s this, this mainnet technology that there’s a database that anyone can read and write to. There’s this trustless architecture that allows me to be certain that what I’m reading or what I’m writing to won’t be altered somewhere in the middle, and no one really owns that thing.”
As a result, leaning into this interest in transparency and public verification led to the creation of the MAD Network.
MAD Network is the Layer Two blockchain created for the commercial company MAD Hive.
“It’s a Layer Two high-speed key-value store that sits on Ethereum to provide the foundational technology that Mad Hive uses. The Mad Network is a nonprofit foundation that’s basically making our white paper,” explains Helfgott.
As a result, MAD Hive operates as a sort of “client” on the MAD Network. Along with others building on this platform.
Much of the MAD Network’s implementations so far have been in the advertising and media space.
This is understandable as they are areas that have bumped up against serious transparency issues as Web.2 has developed. Both for the consumer and for the media and advertising companies themselves.
“So essentially when a company wants to buy media, maybe wants to buy a thirty-second spot on digital television, there’s a high likelihood that, a 10% chance or higher that the media they’re buying is fraudulent,” Helfgott explains.
“Basically, the advertising ecosystem that was like built over the past 20 years, oddly enough, is all in clear text with no security inside behind the pipes. It has like lots of people that can engage in it so there’s no SSL there’s no key in the browser to prove.”
As such, blockchain provides this transparency, thereby removing the possibility of fraudulent activity. In addition, cryptography can protect user information, which has long been passed around and sold freely on Web 2.
“The data behind the scenes, just like a river of publicly readable data if you’re in the ecosystem, which creates huge privacy problems.”
Not blockchain, products rather
As the team works with companies that aren’t native to the blockchain world, Helgott considers the way one promotes the use of blockchain as key to gaining interest.
Specifically, he sees how companies outside the crypto and blockchain worlds may be wary of technology they don’t know or understand. As such, he has positioned MAD Network’s offerings and products rather than blockchain.
“When mad hive started, we’re offering these like commercial products using our MAD Network blockchain. We promoted the idea of blockchain probably a little too much. The reality is is that this new database technology happens to be a blockchain and public mainnet,” he says.
“So it enables certain features in our product sheet. We don’t say blockchain we say fraud-free advertising. We say privacy-compliant data. So they’re buying those features and if they if their tech guy wants to understand how that works, we’ll happy to talk to him about blockchains. But we sell the features that blockchains enable. We don’t sell the word blockchain.”
This is valuable, as mass adoption of a technology is not often carried out when the nuts and bolts are on display.
Helfgott explains that this is apparent across blockchain-enabled spaces, even with non-fungible tokens (NFTs).
“I think we’re gonna see a lot of stuff happen as this stuff normalises especially the metaverse stuff. All the games like the XE Infinity Rays, things like that is really the start of products being made, not blockchain being made and really products that have that can only exist because blockchain database technology now exists.”
Building blockchain internet architecture
For Helgott and the team, implementation is the goal for the foreseeable future. They aim to get this network they’ve built utilized as much as possible.
The next step is tapping into the expansive world of NFTs, from an advertising perspective.
“Obviously, that’s a really interesting thing at the end of the day is property rights on the internet, digital collectibles, or things like that, so we’re in the advertising space,” he explains.
However, this is one part of a larger, more fundamental mission of utility.
“My personal mission is kind of what I just talked about. I believe products made with the MAD Network blockchain with its honorable identity layer that isn’t controlled by anyone become blockchain internet architecture to build great products that have this ethos of this like open internet open blockchain, web3 concepts. My mission is to have that utilized as much as possible and these new products.”
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