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Blockchain Technology

5 Ways the Blockchain Can Increase Customer Loyalty And Win Brands’ Battle for Engagement

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With Singapore Airlines and Delta Air Lines having recently introduced a blockchain-based loyalty program and replacing its air miles with cryptocurrency, it shows that blockchain stands to radically transform traditional loyalty programs as we know them, making them more useful, accessible and cost-effective for both brands and customers alike.

So, how is blockchain increasing customer loyalty and revitalising traditional rewards programs?

1. Blockchain introduces cost-cutting efficiencies, including cutting out high customer acquisition costs for brands.

From the technical implementation right through to the costs of the rewards themselves, loyalty programs can be both expensive and tedious to set up and demand a significant investment of time and money.

Transaction costs related to the issuance and redemption of reward tokens are much lower on the blockchain since they do not require a third-party. Blockchain also significantly reduces system management costs, thanks to smart contracts that automise processes, all while reducing costs related to instances of error.

On top of this, brands themselves benefit from having access to an ecosystem of already loyal customers, which again reduces acquisition costs.

2. Blockchain encourages increased customer engagement and points redemption.

Loyalty programs are not only difficult to set up, but it is difficult for brands to attract new customers by means of a loyalty program. Blockchain is flipping this on its head by introducing loyalty at the start of the customer journey, as opposed to at the point of purchase.

In other words, loyalty points are no longer an afterthought when they can be exchanged within the brand, with other brands, or for cryptocurrencies or fiat. Better still, the potential for loyalty points to rise in value and get the customer more attractive rewards creates excitement that was never before a part of the loyalty program experience.

Customers are also then driven to check their loyalty programs more frequently since the reward options are more varied, thanks to an ecosystem connecting different programs.

3. Blockchain increases security and therefore encourages loyalty.

All transactions recorded on the blockchain are cryptographically secured, meaning that participants of the network have their own private keys (akin to their own personal digital signature). Blockchain’s immutable and tamper-proof nature also means that every transaction is traceable, which eliminates the potential for fraud or other misuses of the system (which is, again, connected to costs).

Additionally, as there is no single point of failure, customers no longer have to worry about the storage of their private data with large retail companies. On the blockchain, data is stored across the network, which makes it inaccessible via a single entry point. All of these features make customers more comfortable with sharing their details, as well as executing transactions on the blockchain.

4. Blockchain offers a one-stop shop for customers to collect and redeem points.

Customers often suffer from ‘loyalty program fatigue’ due to the vast number of programs available, which subsequently leads to loyalty program inactivity. Blockchain provides a frictionless system, whereby customers can conveniently store all of their collected points in a digital wallet and use the same to make transactions, therefore encouraging engagement.

Blockchain also connects different owners of loyalty programs and makes the points they distribute interoperable: customers no longer have to keep track of dozens of different programs and can do so from their respective wallets. Customers can also exchange their loyalty points with other users, which again increases their utility.

5. Blockchain offers real value outside of the brand context.

Customers often complain about the lack of reward options available with loyalty programs, and along with the lack of cohesiveness, it is easy to see why customers would abandon their loyalty programs. With blockchain, tokens that brands give out are tied to other digital assets which render them valuable in another sense: customers are no longer forced to spend their loyalty points with a specific brand, or even other brands within the ecosystem, as they can choose to sell their tokens for fiat and spend the money in the real world!

More importantly, these tokens can rise in value without any further investment from the customer.

In conclusion, blockchain’s merits are manifold and effective for tackling the loyalty market’s inherent issues: for brands, blockchain significantly reduces costs, tackles security issues, and increases customer engagement, while for customers, this means a convenient use of different loyalty programs in one go while profiting from a myriad of redemption options, which ensures that they will stick around in the long run.

qiibeeThis guest post was contributed by Gabriele Giancola, the co-founder and Chief Executive Officer of qiibee, the Swiss loyalty token protocol helping brands around the world run their loyalty programs on the blockchain. 

*Readers should do their own due diligence before taking any actions related to the company, product or service. BitcoinAfrica.io is not responsible, directly or indirectly, for any loss or damage caused by or in connection with the use of or reliance on any content, product or service mentioned in this article.*

Blockchain Technology

Temasek Partners with SGX to Launch Singapore’s First Security Token Offerings Platform

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Bitcoin Remain dominant

Temasek Holdings, recently partnered with the Singapore Stock Exchange (SGX) to launch iSTOX, a security token offerings (STO) platform. This move marks the first of such services in a country and is yet another example of the rising stock of security tokens within the general cryptocurrency ecosystem.

Raising Capital Via STOs

According to finews.asia, SGX, and Temasek recently invested in iSTOX, the country’s first STO platform. Reports indicate that iSTOX will function as a capital market, allowing entrepreneurs to raise business capital through the sale of security tokens.

Commenting on the development, Danny Toe, CEO of ICHX – the operators of iSTOX, said:

The demands of the next generation of investors and issuers will be different, and this calls for a shift in how we should approach the process of capital funding. Utilising blockchain technology, iSTOX is able to offer STOs and address needs of both investors and issuers which are not adequately met today.

STOs differ from ICOs in that the latter involves the sale of tokenized securities. Many experts believe that STOs will provide the necessary regulatory compliance needed for blockchain-based crowdfunding.

Fiat Deals Only

The iSTOX platform will deal only in fiat transactions for the sale of tokenized securities. Despite being a blockchain-based platform with associated smart contract protocols, iSTOX is technically not a cryptocurrency exchange. Thus, the platform will not list ICO tokens or popular cryptocurrencies like Bitcoin, Ether, XRP, etc.

According to available reports, ICHX is currently pursuing licensing from the country’s Monetary Authority. Once granted, iSTOX will begin offering the issuance and trading of STOs. Also, the platform plans to provide access to liquidity in the form of a secondary trading service. Fiat currencies will be used to facilitate all the transactions on the platform.

The Emergence of Security Tokens in the Cryptocurrency Narrative

Bitwise 10 Crypto Index TokenSTO platforms are fast becoming a common feature of the evolving cryptocurrency ecosystem. While ICOs undoubtedly captured the imagination in 2017, stricter regulations in many countries coupled with numerous incidences of fraud seem to be dampening the ICO craze.

In its place, STOs present a more regulatory compliant form of blockchain-based fundraising. In places like the United States, for example, regulators say that most ICOs are selling securities in the guise of utility tokens. However, STOs, being securities, must comply with laid down rules and regulations.

In 2018, numerous STO platforms have emerged. The growing consensus is that security tokens could upstage utility tokens providing a more assured entry point for mainstream investors to come into the cryptocurrency space.

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Blockchain Technology

Mauritius Gets First Blockchain Securities Exchange And Will Award Digital Custodian Licences

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Blockchain Securities Exchange

Mauritius will soon start issuing custodian licenses to companies holding digital assets on behalf of their clients because the current licensing regime is not suited for that purpose. Moreover, Mauritius is about to receive its first blockchain securities exchange.

Digital Asset Custodian Licenses

The Financial Services Commission (FSC) of the Republic of Mauritius released the draft framework intended for the fintech companies. They define “digital assets” as electronic tokens representing the holder’s access rights to a service or ownership of an asset. The FSC is currently accepting feedback on the proposal from industry representatives, stakeholders and the public. With the discussions and consultations going on till the end of November.

The FSC considers them a digital representation of value which can be a medium of exchange, the unit of account and store of value. The tokens can also represent assets such as debt or equity in the promoter or “provide access to a blockchain-based application, service or product.”

Mauritius FlagCurrently, the two kinds of licenses for traditional financial services the FSC provides do not support the specifics of safekeeping cryptographic assets. The proposed license is, therefore, specific to address this difference and comply with the current relevant regulations and laws.

One requirement includes an obligation to “have and maintain a minimum stated unimpaired capital of not less than 500,000 Mauritian rupees ($14,409.64).” Businesses wanting to apply for the license will need to have offices set up in Mauritius and also have permanent representatives to deal with the FSC as well as maintain records of the custodian. The boards of directors will need three members and up, “at least one of whom shall be resident in Mauritius.”

Additionally, those providing the custodian service providers will be required to have insurance protection for the assets that are kept in custody. They are subject to providing evidence of such arrangements to the FSC. They must also have systems in place that ensure compliance with all reporting requirements under Mauritian law.

Mauritius Receives a Blockchain Securities Exchange

As a result of Mauritius’ openness to digital assets, Mindex, GMEX Group and Hybrid Stock Exchange Corporation Limited (HYBSE) have partnered to create Mauritius’ first blockchain securities exchange. The joint venture – called HYBSE International Marketplace – plans to “integrate blockchain solutions and technology with traditional financial industries providing a complete and governed ecosystem that digitalises assets onto the blockchain.”

“As we embark on a journey to pave a previous uncharted way forward, this will inevitably create an ideal prospect to move the evolution of all financial systems, light-years ahead. We must also maintain a conscious belief of the power of this evolutionary step, as not to disrupt current global markets, but to rather bolster a new way of thinking that encompasses a decentralised and truly free market entity,” HYBSE’s operations manager, Daniel Liu, said.

The firms claim SMEs will be able to use the marketplace for an initial blockshare offering (IBO), such as block-shares, from businesses registered on the marketplace at “special discounted rates”. IBO is a time-limited offer to purchase cryptonised equities and other cryptonised instruments.

Asset classes that will be facilitated for trade will include cryptonised shares, cryptonised currencies, commodities, indices, forex, ETCs (exchange-traded commodities), ETFs (exchange-traded funds), and CETFs (crypto exchange-traded funds).

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Blockchain Technology

Microsoft Partners with Interswitch to Launch New Blockchain-Powered Supply Chain Financing Platform in Nigeria

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Interswitch

Pan-African payments and commerce company, Interswitch Group, partnered with Microsoft to launch a new blockchain-backed supply chain financing service in Nigeria.

Seamless Supply Chain Financing

This new blockchain initiative will bring together different stakeholders – such as banks and corporations – on a single platform that will provide end-to-end visibility, ensuring fast, seamless trade financing in supply chain operations.

Interswitch Blockchain Service is said to be built and hosted using the Microsoft Azure blockchain solution, which provides proven security, compliance and also a scalable cloud platform that accelerates and supports next generation blockchain applications. 

Interswitch“In our 15 years of operation, we have experienced the bottlenecks associated with the existing corporate-based financing infrastructure in Nigeria.” Mitchell Elegbe, Group Managing Director and Chief Executive Officer at Interswitch, said.

“This is why we are happy to partner with Microsoft, by leveraging the advanced technology of the Microsoft Azure Blockchain, to prove the possibility of building a distributed ledger that is practical, viable and has the propensity to solve some of Nigeria’s most difficult financial and logistic problems,” he added.

Launching the Interswitch Blockchain Service (Supply Chain Finance Module) allows small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) access to more funding in a shorter time of up to three weeks. The participating banks include United Bank for Africa Plc, Guaranty Trust Bank Plc, and Zenith Bank Plc.

SMEs will also be able to enjoy increased sales cycles from participating corporations such as the Dangote Group.

Transaction Enquiries and Verifications

The Interswitch Blockchain Service does not deploy the use of cryptocurrency in its application. Instead, transaction inquiries and verifications will be authorised by officials from participating entities without the incentives of a cryptocurrency.

Principal Program Manager, Microsoft Azure Blockchain at Microsoft Corporation, Michael Glaros, expressed excitement about the partnership with Interswitch. Glaros said: “The blockchain technology is still in its infancy in Nigeria and we are happy to pioneer its deployment in partnership with Interswitch, an innovative and forward-thinking company which has evolved its business around financial technology.”

“This will be the first enterprise-grade blockchain service in Nigeria, and one of only a handful of production blockchain applications in use by banks and corporates globally,” Glaros added.

The Interswitch Blockchain Service, allows Nigerian lenders and suppliers to identify and build relationships with high performing entrepreneurs. Therefore, according to Mitchell, the platform allows anyone to build blockchain-based solutions easily and more cost-effectively.

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