A knowledge-based American startup using Blockchain and related technologies has built a robust new advertising platform with potential to impact digital advertising and education.

Knowledge.io, based in Rocky River, Ohio, rewards people with cryptocurrency tokens for demonstrating knowledge and expertise in myriad topics ranging from Mercedes-Maybach S-Class sedans to Hollywood and Bollywood trivia. It then allows advertisers and marketers to harness this knowledge for varied use, often employing gamification techniques.

Rating and rewarding knowledge

The knowledge-sharing startup is similar to Quora or Reddit, but what distinguishes it from its entrenched rivals is the ability to measure and rate people in varied knowledge areas, and a direct way of rewarding them with KNW tokens.

At the heart of its business model is an advertising platform that helps monetize knowledge. Building on the advertising industry’s traditional “lookalike analysis,” Knowledge.io has added a new functionality it calls ‘Knowledge Match’. The company states that Knowledge Match provides advanced personalization to match users with products or services, making advertising more effective.

Scores and Q&Ads enable targeted advertising

Most ad tech platforms build personas based on consumption of content. The Knowledge system adds a new dimension by scoring the knowledge level of people about topics, and then targeting ads suitably. These knowledge scores assigned to individuals allow advertisers to engage with people in a more effective way by customizing their messaging based on knowing where the user is within the “knowledge funnel.”

Knowledge.io’s advertising platform also has several recommender systems. Notably, these include the Q&Ads platform, which is similar to Google’s Adwords, Advertiser/Seller marketplace and Knowledge Graph, a recommendation engine based on matches. The Q&Ads platform allows advertisers to select and identify keywords for target audiences based on topics and knowledge levels.

Another key element of Knowledge.io’s advertising platform is fraud protection. Using machine learning, among other technologies, it can, amongst other things, identify ad bots and stop fake impressions, saving millions of dollars for advertisers.

"The underlying Blockchain … takes into account a set of increasingly complex algorithms that are used to combat fraud by bots and farms,” Marcia Hales, co-founder of Knowledge.io, told Forbes. “These transactions are not rewarded for their fraudulent meta-mining activity. The ads.txt standard from the Interactive Advertising Bureau (IAB) are used as a way of whitelisting accredited publishers as part of this algorithm.”

Knowledge and education go hand in hand

The startup’s parent company, International Knowledge League (IKL) has established partnerships with Kelley Blue Book, the authoritative valuer for used cars in the United States; TiVo, a digital video service that enables recording and playback of television programmes; and Oxford University Press, a leading global publisher.

IKL – the maker of the Trivia Star app – also has a partnership with the maker of the gaming app GamingGrids, bringing in an estimated 5 mln monthly active users (MAU). It is targeting an additional 250 mln MAU from a partnership with Trivia Spar.

ICO targets $19 mln

Knowledge.io has developed a partnership with Coinomi, a London-based provider of cryptocurrency wallets, and has its CEO George Kimionis to its advisory board.

Out of 150 mln KNW Tokens created, Knowledge.io is offering up to 19 mln at $1 apiece in its ongoing ICO. After a pre-sale round in January, the main offering has been open since Feb. 12. The ICO closes on April 8, with over 5 mln tokens already sold.

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