The Almond App — A Case of Using Blockchain for Responsible Consumption
Did you know that “52% of our personal carbon footprint comes from the goods & services we buy”? — What if you could live the lifestyle of your choice, yet still be a responsible consumer? What if we all could revert the damage we are doing to the planet and assure the products we buy are an environment-safe option? What if we could leverage blockchain to do all that? Keep reading.
Increased connectivity, access to information and digital technology constantly evolving have helped individuals develop tools to try and improve many of the problems our society is currently confronting. One of the areas that saw an increase in adoption is e-learning, as having the ability to learn whenever you have time and from whatever location you may need to, has proven a plus for both individual or corporate learning necessities. Techniques like gamification and video learning have caught up more, because of their interactive, visual impact.
“Gamification is visual storytelling, feedback, and visual cues. It is measurable and has an objective for the learner. It reinforces previous learned behavior or facts. It’s a trick the learner to play a fun game that results in retaining information. Gamification allows the learner to explore information in a way that doesn’t feel like a test.”
The use of gamification in the digital age has been proven to help incentivize individuals to act in a desired way, by creating a learning path through making people feel good about achieving certain predefined goals or patterns. We have seen this technique being used from corporate trainings, reaching towards emerging technologies like blockchain.
The Almond App
Such a case is the Almond app. A blockchain-based “real-life game, designed to ‘educate, activate and reward’ individuals for reducing their negative impact”. It was initially created in 2017, by Oliver Bolton, as “a free app that helps individuals reduce their carbon footprint, rewards conscious consumption and helps responsible brands grow their business”.
Almond digitizes fast-moving consumer goods (FMCG) products. It aims to revolutionize the way regular consumers interact with the items they consume. The Almond app can be used to learn more about the food and drink they consume, including the source of each ingredient, the journey the product has taken, as well as its carbon footprint, by simply scanning the hidden codes printed on the packaging.
“The digital codes will also unlock cash reward tokens for the consumer to use via a blockchain technology provided by EVRYTHNG. The codes are only revealed to the consumer once a product has been opened, such as under a can ring-pull. This approach allows brands to offer consumers bespoke information and rewards at ‘point of consumption’ and better understand their customers, when and where their products are being consumed, as well as basic anonymized customer data (age band and gender).”
The press release from 2018, the year of its launch, stated: “Showcased at this year’s Web Summit, Almond app addresses consumer inertia around sustainability by providing monetary rewards for responsible purchases. Founded by food and drink entrepreneur Olly Bolton, the blockchain platform allows users to earn cryptocurrency reward tokens by scanning the Almond Matrix Code — similar in functionality to a QR code — on participating brands’ products, which can then be redeemed through PayPal as fiat money. The platform’s Almond Trail provides complete supply chain transparency by tracking all of the product’s raw materials and estimating the total carbon footprint based on the user’s location.”
It is set-up as a group of challenges for the end-user, encouraging behaviors that look after the state of the environment. The emphasis is put on the buying and selling components, as they provide the possibility of tokenizing the retail value of the FMCG goods that make-up its market.
1. Buying Challenges
Encouraging people to replace the goods and services they consume for more sustainable alternatives accredited by the Almond Foundation.
“To drive this, the buyer will receive financial rewards worth at least 1% of the product’s retail value after scanning the Almond Matrix Code hidden on its packaging (in Almond Coins, a cryptocurrency). This code will also allow the buyer to see granular product data including, the raw materials supply trail, footprint and the story behind each product. In the next phase, EPOS integrations will allow the user to automatically unlock these coins at point of sale and buy products directly.”
2. Action Challenges
Encouraging daily lifestyle actions such as taking a shorter shower, eating a meat-free meal, cycling to work or turning off home appliances.
3. Offsetting Challenges
Encouraging people to offset excess carbon emissions via a network of partners, for example, woodland creation and preservation.
A. Almond for Consumers
The app will provide access to Almond Coins, a stable coin that will be convertible into multiple currencies and “allow users to acquire Almond Shares. A regulated security token, that will offer dividend rights and be tradable, offering every participant a real stake in the Almond ecosystem.”
“The Almond AI will adapt the flow and granularity of the tasks based on the level of engagement of the user and cutting edge game-play will drive ongoing engagement. As well as influencing their ‘Carbon Score’, each action will give the user ‘Impact Points’ that will, in turn, lead to various statuses celebrating “nature’s heroes”. This will grant them a wide range of privileges such as product discounts or exclusive access to benefits.”
B. Almond for Brands
In order to be part of the Almond ecosystem, brands will have to pay a service fee of 0.2% — 0.5% on the retail value of every product tokenized on the Almond IoT chain. Responsible brands will be offered a set of tools and services designed to rapidly scale their market access, customer base, and overall business. The Almond membership will enable brands to:
- Rapidly scale-up sales using a range of groundbreaking reward and loyalty tools
- Receive anonymized demographic and behavioral data about their customers at the point of consumption (and in the future, at sale) — the first such service of its kind
- Solicit real-time feedback and participation at point of consumption
- Segment their clients through Almond’s CRM to execute highly effective cross-channel campaigns
- Communicate the story of their products and brand in a much more targeted and engaging way
- Quantify the impact of their campaigns using advanced analytics
“Almond finally gives retail brands a way to digitize their products. It enables them to build deeper relationships with their customers by building trust through product & supply chain transparency whilst providing a platform to reward customers with brand tokens they can redeem for cash,” explained Oliver Bolton, Founder of Almond and watermelon drink What A Melon. […] Consumer demand for transparency is increasing. The Almond platform makes it easy for brands to meet this demand and educate consumers about their product journey. In doing so, they are making a statement about themselves as a brand whilst giving themselves a new edge with more detailed consumer data.”
What is SWAZM’s Point of View?
We asked our SWAZM COO and Executive Director of the Romanian Blockchain Association, Adrian Stratulat, what is his take on the value of the Almond app for the market and the blockchain increasing adoption by mainstream industries as a solution that improves their business environment and operations. Here’s what he had to say…
“Just like smoking is a bad (health) habit for the individual, we can observe bad habits that we have as mankind with impact in the Earth’s health. And just like in the case of smoking, to correct a bad habit, we need to work actively to combat it, because we tend to have a psychological inertia.
And when tackling global problems, not only that we must engage a large number of people to actually make a change, but we must do so in a consistent manner. This is where a mix of gamification and blockchain-powered circular economics helps.
By using both external (tokens) and internal (gamified) incentives, we create a powerful mix that can help societies cure their bad habits. This is the genius of Almond and similar projects. Obviously, to empower such projects to succeed, they need to have a strong infrastructure backbone, capable to process up to hundreds of thousands of transactions per second.
And this is where SWAZM can lend a hand.”
SWAZM is the next-generation decentralized storage and compute platform, designed to enable horizontal scaling of distributed applications. SWAZM facilitates effective decentralization by creating a new complete infrastructure solution with a reliable transfer network, storage capabilities, and compute containers. Tailored solutions aiming to improve your decentralized project.