From London with Love: BitScan's loyalty programme takes shape

Monday 11 July 2016

Rob has recently been in the UK, paving the way for BitScan’s new blockchain loyalty programme.

BitScan’s CEO, Rob Wilson, was recently in the UK. Alongside his busy schedule of catching up with some old Navy mates and enjoying the occasional ale, we took the opportunity to meet up and thrash out the key details of the blockchain-based loyalty and rewards scheme we’ve been cooking up over the last year or so.

Rob and Guy

Concerned about global warming, we endeavoured to reflect as much sunlight as possible away from the capital

Loyalty systems as they currently exist are barely fit for purpose. They’re more akin to the pre-money system of barter than anything else. Think about it: most reward points exist in the walled garden of the business that issues them. They are non-transferrable by design. You can’t easily give Starbucks points to a friend, or sell them for cash or swap them for another kind of loyalty point. The result is that a significant proportion go to waste. That saves Starbucks money, but it doesn’t do a lot to incentivise repeat custom, which is the whole point of the exercise.

One problem is that every time a company issues a reward point, it represents a liability, because a customer might want to redeem it. As a business you don’t want too many tokens ‘in the wild’, because it could end up seriously harming your bottom line. But if you don’t issue many tokens, or customers don’t find them valuable, you’re not increasing loyalty at all. It’s a question of getting maximum bang for your pseudo-buck: finding that sweet spot where the costs of gaining repeat custom are as small as possible.

Most businesses that run loyalty programmes don’t come close to nailing it, but then, most businesses are constrained by old paradigms of thinking. We’re pretty sure we can do a lot better, and over those two days we’ve pinned down almost everything we need to make it happen - the technology we’ll need, in addition to what we’ve already built, which existing and emerging solutions fit our requirements best, and how the whole thing will work economically. We think we’ve figured out the holy grail, a token that increases in value with no forward liability to merchants - benefitting businesses, customers and initial investors alike.

Aside from pinning down these critical elements, Rob also spent time meeting with potential partners - businesses that recognise the way we currently do loyalty schemes is broken and know they can do better. All we’ll say for now is that we know there’s a market for this stuff, and that's very encouraging.

So now we’re nearing the really exciting phase. BitScan will be holding a crowdfund to pay for remaining development and marketing, distributing tokens to bootstrap the scheme. We’ll be launching that and rolling out the platform in the coming weeks and months.

That’s just a brief overview. We’ve got some really nice technology to help merchants keep customers coming back - the wallet app will make your jaw drop - but more on that in due course. The white paper and website will also go live in the next few weeks. We’ll keep you posted.

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