How Mobecom’s blockchain-based ‘airBux’ make loyalty points more profitable
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When frequent flyer programs were first implemented in the 1980s the world was a very different place.
Now, blockchain is bringing loyalty points up to speed and tech disruptors like Mobecom are using the technology to make points more compelling.
airBux allows customers to earn points (airBux) from multiple merchants and transfer them to a cloud-based digital currency that can be redeemed using an app at any participating business.
Loyalty points from an airline or coffee order could be redeemed for rewards at other businesses such as a dry cleaner or cinema.
Enrolment in loyalty programs grew by 20 per cent to 3.3 billion in 2015 — up from 2.6 billion three years before and triple the number of 2000, a report from Deloitte estimates.
But while the sign-up numbers are impressive — it’s what a customer does with the points that counts.
Many loyalty programs have not realised the full value potential of their loyalty programs because of account inactivity or high customer acquisition costs.
That’s where ASX-listed Mobecom’s (ASX:MBM) direct-to-consumer offering ‘airBux’ comes in.
airBux co-founder and CEO Sean Smith hopes the next-generation loyalty system will unlock the value of loyalty without the need for punch cards and loyalty stamps.
“Utopia for airBux is global ubiquity, aggregation and liquidity — where airBux is the top-of-mind payment instrument for consumers,” he told Stockhead.
“Anything that has inherent and tradeable store-of-value is something we want to recognise and allow users to trade – whether that be other 2nd tier loyalty currencies, cash, card or even cryptocurrency.”
airBux brings together payment and loyalty based cashback earn-and-burn with a single step and exchanged by consumer using the airBux mobile app.
The experience is same-same, simple and seamless for both customer and merchant — positioned and well-timed to disrupt the spaces of payment, loyalty and marketing in a single platform application.
While airBux is a digital currency — meaning it is simply a digital store of value — and blockchain solutions are under investigation, Mr Smith stresses that airBux itself is distinctly different to a cryptocurrency.
“airBux is categorically not a cryptocurrency and we like to be clear about that,” he said.
“airBux does not use cryptographic tokens. There is no tradable ERC-20 (or other) token that represents airBux and while the underlying principles of blockchain and cryptocurrency are of interest at varying solution levels, the airBux digital currency is not a ‘cryptocurrency’ in itself at this point in time.”
“There is a lot of hype and volatility within that cryptocurrency market and as a listed entity we need to draw a line between what we are and what we are not.
“While friends-of-all and enemies of none in terms of collaboration opportunities, a cryptocurrency by definition we are not.”
The company has so far rolled out enterprise solutions for South Africa’s largest telco, Vodacom and is currently working with Singaporean electronic payments provider NETS on their local airBux strategy and go-to-market.
Negotiations for key strategic partnerships to rollout airBux are continuing, and Mr Smith was optimistic there would be launches in key territories of South Africa, Singapore and Australia in the months to come.
“Our number one priority is to get the airBux product to market in these three key territories then tweak as we go.”
An initial alpha ‘technology-pilot’ was tested in Cairns last year. After its success, the platform is now being prepared to be rolled out to the territories above as a scalable, multi-currency solution.
Alongside this, the airBux team continues with their further integration investigations of blockchain and cryptocurrency-embracing features.
This special report is brought to you by Mobecom.
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