If you are living in New Zealand, chances are — you are using debit cards (or “F-post” as it is peculiarly called). The progress is there though — it is almost a cashless society by now (at least in Auckland). Rarely you can see someone paying cash even for a minor items. But is it all that progressive? Maybe not yet. The home-grown digital payment, a venture between 3 main telcos and banks — SEMBLE — is probably not at top ranks, as anywhere else in the world a project with 100% penetration into a marketplace that captures less than 10% of the audience, would be considered not quite successful. So what is next? Some may think that a compact modern society like New Zealand would be thriving with digital payment/loyalty tools. Nope. While global giants of Apples and Androids are not in a rush to give-up their monopoly, local banks are more or less still in the process of creating something interesting for consumers and changing their models. So, everyone stuck to plastic, at least for now, waiting for the next disrupter, which might be just around the corner!


Recently, nerdy blockchain ripped to local shores of New Zealand with Ethereum conference as part of the Techweek. House cleaning aside, Ethereum is actually an awesome concept that gained global tech community recognition as it fixes “so what” part of blockchain conversation and provides practical business applications outside of “monetary value” delivery. In short, Etherium (a lot more nerdy talk here) is a flexible contractual agreements based on blockchain that CAN create incremental instant contracts at payments or … any other moments of interaction, like loyalty. And that is the key from a point of view of a fast growing mobile engagement business like ours (PAG_Digital). Indeed, the idea of delivering programmatic distribution of loyalty rewards in real time is a very very attractive proposition, so we are excited. Clearly this is Loyalty 201 — if I am playing a branded mobile game (while giving away my valuable consumer data) — I want to be rewarded, and I want to be rewarded instantly. But how about “proportionally”? I.e. the more I give, the more rewards I expect, according to the level of my winning. That works both ways for brands and consumers — and Ethereum is a perfect tool for that. Thinking further, this can be also used in any social currency delivery to provide an incentive to both — the operator (brands) and the player (consumer). So, possibilities are endless and as Ethereum matures, it will create more commercial applications that will serve new type of relationships with users. Indeed, the most attractive feature of the blockchain is also carried in through — it is completely transparent and private, hence you don’t need to worry about authentication and accountability, which takes 75% of the effort in creating successful loyalty programs on mobile. Bingo. The future IS here. Enjoy!


  • Make sure your mobile loyalty program is up to date with technology
  • Check out Ethereum and other blockchain based contractual platforms
  • Make sure to investigate new privacy options that are available through blockchain
To maximise the ROI and minimise the risk, brands and retailers need to make all efforts to understand dynamics behind consumers motivation to participate in loyalty programs. Ilya Vensky is a mobile-first strategist at PAG_Digital that uses mobile games to boost engagement and collect valuable consumer data.
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