Sydney start-up LoyaltyX has been working with UNSW on the trial, with backing from the NSW Government’s Boosting Business Innovation Programme, which has seen 170 staff and students rewarded with the cryptocurrency "ether” — the main rival to Bitcoin — for making their day-to-day purchases.
LoyaltyX says more than a dozen on-campus retailers, including well-known retailers IGA and Boost, and a range of local eateries, participated in the trial which saw 83% of participants changing their spending in order to earn more cryptocurrency.
NSW Deputy Premier and Minister for Skills and Small Business John Barilaro said the research project — the results of which are now in — was supported with a $14,996 TechVoucher grant from the NSW Government’s Boosting Business Innovation Programme.
“The Boost program brings business and research brains together in one place to develop new ideas and opportunities, including through Techvoucher supported research projects.”
LoyaltyX chief executive Philip Shelper said participants in the UNSW trial earned a digital stamp for each purchase, with 10 stamps converting to $10 worth of ether.
“The research results have been extremely positive with students excited by being rewarded with cryptocurrency that can grow in value, providing a major opportunity to re-invent loyalty programmes,” he said.
“Ether is a floating currency, and over the course of the trial participants saw their Ether balance increase in value by 30 per cent. Those that chose to keep their Ether rather than cash it in have seen a gain of over 450%. Cryptocurrencies could provide the first major advancement in loyalty program design since frequent flyer programs were launched in the early 80s.”