Loyalty on the Blockchain

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Gift and loyalty cards pad out the wallets of many of us, but we rarely use them to their maximum. Around $1 billion in gift card cash typically goes unspent on gift cards annually, while sticking with a store because of its loyalty program often leaves us worse than if we had shopped around. Several companies have tried to come up with ways to help us get the most out of our gift cards and our brand loyalty, including some blockchain-based startups who are trying to leverage the new technology to the advantage of both the consumer and the business.
Today, we’re taking a look at three blockchain solutions to see if any are on track to help us squeeze every dime out of our wallet-filling gift cards.


Tokky is a new project approaching the ICO stage that aims to help us spend unused gift credit, as well as tackle gift card fraud, bringing businesses, promoters, and customers together. Businesses and promoters work together to upload promotions to the Tokky platform, which customers purchase and spend in-store. Promotions can be tailored to the amount of money left on a user’s card, encouraging the spending of the full amount.
One of the major benefits of Tokky is that everything is mobile, so the reloadable cards and payment processing all happens using a mobile device – there is no physical card involved. The blockchain element allows transactions to be fast, secure, and very low cost, while all transactions are posted on the Tokky chain, ensuring that fraud can be quickly investigated. Gift cards can also be sent to friends using the Tokky platform, which caps an impressive sounding offering, although it could be argued that it doesn’t make use of the blockchain to its fullest extent, at least at this stage.



Gatcoin, which launched in January 2018, is a blockchain-powered mobile wallet that stores gift cards, coupons, loyalty cards, and more in one place. The various accumulated points can be stored in the wallet, spent in-store, or swapped on the Gatcoin exchange for discounts at other stores, negating the issue of getting a gift card for somewhere you don’t tend to shop.
Businesses can offer discounts on the platform and target customers based on a number of factors, including past purchases and location. This means, for example, that you could be walking past a shop and your Gatcoin wallet would notify you of an in-store discount (if you’ve agreed to be notified of course). Or, it might suggest some items you could buy with your existing Gatcoin tokens.

Gatcoin makes the most of the blockchain element with its exchange, and the all-in-one solution sounds ideal, but once the novelty wears off, alerts from shops might start heading for the spam folder.


Dewber is a global loyalty, points and rewards platform. Loyalty to stores and brands is rewarded in Dew points, a cryptocurrency which can be spent at any Dewber-participating business around the world, while discounts and offers are given out as Dew rewards. Businesses are informed when a Dewber user is on their premises, allowing them to target these customers with offers and discounts while they are there, helping build relationships between merchants and customers.

The Dewber concept will certainly benefit both customers and businesses, and it shares some positives with Gatcoin. But, whether merchants are going to have the time to target individual users who come into their store, or be able to employ an individual or an agency to do so, could be a sticking point, and at first glance Dewber doesn’t seem as simple or ‘sexy’ as the competition. For a blockchain-based operation it seems quite reliant on manual input, although Dewber has an ambitious development plan including voice-activated loyalty terminals for merchants and AI-based rewards that may minimize this in the future.

Blockchain is the Key

With these platforms still in embryonic stages it is unfair to judge them too harshly, but the next 12-24 months will be crucial in terms of attracting merchants and beginning to roll out the platform to a wider audience. Convincing retailers to sign up for blockchain-based loyalty schemes over the hundreds of non-blockchain alternatives they get pitched every year will require the blockchain element to be front and center. At this point, it’s not clear whether any of these projects features both blockchain technology and its benefits prominently enough to gain such an advantage.