Today, I’m excited to announce the launch of Lolli, a rewards application that earns you bitcoin when you shop online. We are launching Lolli with 500+ retail partners in fashion, food, lifestyle, and travel, giving users the opportunity to earn bitcoin while they’re shopping for shoes, groceries, hotels, and more.
Lolli is an intuitive, easy-to-use browser extension that will be many people’s first experience with bitcoin. Our mission is to make bitcoin more accessible to all, by simplifying the way people earn, share, and save bitcoin.
Bitcoin has a distribution problem, largely because of the difficult onramp for consumers. Currently, there are three main ways you can get bitcoin: 1) you can mine bitcoin with a high-end computer, 2) you can buy bitcoin, and 3) you can earn bitcoin.
Since Bitcoin is still early in the process of monetization, it is largely owned by miners, wealthy investors, and highly technical people. Mining is not a realistic option, as most people don’t have high-end computers to verify blockchain transactions. So most people have bought bitcoin through an exchange, and held onto it as an investment (also known as HODLing). Setting up an account with an exchange to invest in bitcoin isn’t easy either — a person must complete a multi-day or even multi-week process of verifying identity, going through an extensive background check, linking a bank account, and ultimately investing their hard-earned money in a volatile asset. While investing has historically been the “easiest” way to get bitcoin, it’s still not that easy. And with increasing regulations and compliance, it’s not getting easier anytime soon.
So, how do we simplify, share, and distribute bitcoin? How can our siblings, moms, dads, friends, colleagues, and even our inquisitive but slightly confused extended relatives join the bitcoin revolution?
We realized the solution was actually quite simple: distribute bitcoin through online shopping, an activity that millions of people do every day. All you have to do is download Lolli and shop as you normally would. Our brand partners pay us to drive sales to their sites. When you shop on one of our partners’ sites — like Jet, Bloomingdale’s, Hotwire, or SeatGeek — we get commission for driving the sale. We then split that commission with you, sending bitcoin to your Lolli wallet. Everyone wins.
We believe a rewards-based model can distribute bitcoin to an entirely new group of people: online shoppers. In other words, the majority of the country (8 out of 10 Americans) and much of the world.
I want to live in a world where everyone is connected. With technology, we’re able to transcend physical boundaries and seamlessly share information across the Internet. One thing we’re not able to seamlessly share is money. Sending payments should be as simple as sending a text message. But today, if you need to send money across borders to friends and family, pay business partners, or buy something from an online retailer, you deal with the burden of fees and intermediaries.
The Lolli team believes in bitcoin as a universal store of value — and in an increasingly digital age, we think it has the potential to be the global currency of the future. Bitcoin has many important and unique use cases. It can power microtransactions. It can fund microfinance initiatives. It can help people in volatile economies store their money, free from government confiscation or hyperinflation — like people are currently doing in Venezuela. And of course, bitcoin has been a way for people around the world to invest their money. Down the line, we believe bitcoin will be critical for the billions of unbanked people around the world.
So what’s stopping everyone from owning and using bitcoin? Put simply: it’s inaccessible. Over 60% of Americans have heard of bitcoin, but very few actually own any. Some studies show that over 70% of bitcoin owners are male, and the majority of them are between 18 and 34 years old. In one survey about bitcoin, 35% of respondents said it was too risky, 27% found it too difficult to understand, 18% said it’s a scam, 16% were waiting for the bubble to burst, 11% found it too difficult to use, and 6% thought there are too many fees. Lolli solves for all of that. It de-risks bitcoin, educates people about crypto, provides a real use case, simplifies earning, and eliminates fees.
Our last company, Cosmic, was built with the mission of democratizing commerce, giving people the ability to seamlessly buy and sell all across the web. See a pair of shoes you love in a video? Cosmic let you buy it right from the video. We led the movement of “native commerce” and “buy buttons,” giving retailers the ability to sell anywhere and consumers the ability to seamlessly buy anywhere.
Cosmic was acquired by its largest customer, PopSugar, and then again by Ebates, the cashback rewards program that has over 10 million members. After parting ways with Ebates, my co-founder Matt Senter and I decided we wanted to build something together again. We loved the Ebates cashback model and its ability to save people money. And we were intrigued by bitcoin, but frustrated with how difficult it was to share it with our family and friends. We realized we could combine the ease of cashback rewards with bitcoin, and solve the onramp problem.
So, we got the team back together, called up all our partners from our days at Cosmic, and formed over 500+ brand partnerships.
Why the name “Lolli”?
When I was young, my dad would take me and my sister to the bank. I remember hating the bank, but always looked forward to the lollipop at the end. I believe that bitcoin is the bank of the future, and all that’s missing is Lolli. 🍭
Want to get involved?
The Lolli community will be critical to our success. We are looking for all kinds of people to support our mission of making bitcoin more accessible. We don’t care how much you know about crypto — you could be the most ardent bitcoin maximalist, or you could be a mom looking to save on back-to-school purchases. Don’t hesitate to reach out if you want to get involved.
- Download Lolli: www.lolli.com
- Join our FB community for exclusive deals here.
- Follow us on Twitter for company updates & more ways to earn bitcoin: @trylolli
- We’re a small team and growing quickly — if you’re interested in joining the team, please apply here.
- If you work at a brand that’s looking to join Lolli, sign-up here.
- If you are in college and want to be a Lolli ambassador or intern, sign-up here.
Thank you for your support. We look forward to working together in making bitcoin accessible to all!
Alex, Matt, & the Lolli team 🍭💜
sources: 1) http://www.pewinternet.org/2016/12/19/online-shopping-and-e-commerce/ 2) https://news.bitcoin.com/survey-says-8-of-the-american-population-now-own-cryptocurrency/ 3) https://techcrunch.com/2018/01/23/study-6-in-10-americans-have-heard-about-bitcoin/
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