More CryptoCurrencies

More CryptoCurrencies, Virtually Everywhere, By Replacing Loyalty Programs – No uncertainty, 2018 was an a bad year for bitcoin and a bushel of different digital forms of money.  Some say bitcoin fortunes will change in 2019, others state one moment.  I’m staying OUT of that debate.

Meanwhile, the IMF is saying that even governments could set up their own cryptocurrencies in order to prevent the systems from becoming havens for fraudsters. “A system regulated by central banks could become the basis for a rapid expansion of financial services to developing world countries and the poorest people in western societies without the risks associated with privately managed digital currencies.

The IMF’s proposal is likely to be greeted warily by many digital currency operators who believe one of the main attractions of their technology is that it lies outside the mainstream banking system. The involvement of a central bank could also be seen as imposing heavy-handed regulation that would slow down transactions and raise costs. …”

So what’s next with this trend? Airlines, such as AirAsia’s BigCoin, are getting set to roll-out their own cryptocurrencies. “The airline will turn its frequent flyer points into BigCoin, Fernandes said, before revealing that ticket prices on the airline’s website will be revealed in BigCoin alongside prices in fiat currencies from this month onwards.”

To understand where this is heading, think broader about your loyalty program points, such as your miles with airlines, restaurants, gas stations, hotels, or other businesses. Most of these can be converted into new cryptocurrencies – and the trend will take-off in 2019 and beyond. How about university cash programs and even cities issuing bonds in their own cryptocurrencies?

There are many benefits to following AirAsia’s model of building a blockchain loyalty program, and the winners will be both consumers and the organizations trying to build loyalty. “Instead of trying to convert everyday customers to become involved in cryptocurrency and its many newcomer pitfalls, an app-based loyalty system can get people using cryptocurrency without even realizing it:

  1. Allow the loyalty app to function as a multi-feature crypto wallet.
  2. Incentivize the initial accumulation by rewarding loyalty points for everyday actions to introduce newcomers to the system.
  3. Give people abundant options to accrue and spend these loyalty points.”

Consider this quote:  “When a city launches its own cryptocurrency, however, the digital tokens are likely backed by some sort of city asset. Most local cryptocurrencies aren’t trying to disrupt money. They’re just opening up more (and more efficient) avenues for citizens to invest in their cities and buy goods. In turn, they aim to create more ways for cities to fund projects they previously couldn’t afford.

By switching to a tokenized system, a college student who cares about poverty in the city can buy $20 worth, knowing his contribution is going toward, say, an affordable housing project. He can then use his tokens on other city goods, like transit rides or groceries, or he can hold on to them as an investment. …”

UTRUST Global Partnerships VP Sanja Kon predicts an increase in cryptocurrency transactions in 2019: “Crypto payments until now have mostly been a niche phenomenon, with Bitcoin being the primarily used cryptocurrency. In 2019, we will witness a rise in multiple cryptocurrency payments, as more and more customers are getting interested in the advantages crypto payments bring, among which the lower transaction cost and decentralization.”