Yesterday, blockchain rewards company Loyyal announced investments from Asian-based market leaders Unblock Ventures (a subsidiary of LINE Corporation, essentially Japan’s WhatsApp), Recruit and Monex.
Loyyal leverages a customized version of the Hyperledger Fabric blockchain and smart contract technology to help firms manage their loyalty and incentive programs more efficiently.
There is currently over $5 trillion worth of loyalty rewards stored globally according to Loyyal. In the Asia-Pacific region, 80% of consumers in the retail, travel and hospitality, and services sectors become members of loyalty schemes. Hence, the region holds a lot of potential for Loyyal and this investment provides them with a foothold.
Loyyal is currently working on various projects.
One such project is with a major airline to reward frequent airline customers with loyalty air miles, which act as a “reserve currency” for the airline. This currency is also compatible with a local ridesharing service. Using blockchain eliminates the need for both parties to verify the number of miles respectively stored for each customer match up.
According to Paxex.aero, the airline in question is Emirates, and the ridesharing service is Careem.
Future endeavours in the airline sector seem plausible. Loyyal were mentioned in the International Air Transport Association’s (IATA) blockchain whitepaper last year.
Other programs include rewarding office workers with points which can then be spent with other Loyyal partners who share its platform.
Loyyal previously worked with the Dubai Future Foundation to develop Dubai Points, a program designed to incentivize tourism. Tourists are encouraged to visit less popular attractions that correspond to their lifestyle, in return for additional points.
Compared to other blockchain startups, Loyyal is more reserved. It does not advertise the names of clients, perhaps due to non-disclosure agreements. However, its website claims they provide services to Fortune 500 companies. Partners include IBM and Deloitte.
The former nine year-long CEO of Holiday Inn, Ken Hamlet joined Loyyal’s board last March. He holds the company in high regard, stating that “Loyyal represents the most positive disruption in hospitality technology I have seen in many years.”
Loyyal’s most recent investors are involved with other blockchain projects.
Earlier this year, Recruit, which owns the Indeed and Glassdoor recruitment websites, invested $5 million in Israeli blockchain privacy company Beam. It did so via its specialist RSP Blockchain Fund, set up to invest specifically in tokens rather than shares.
LINE is currently working with VISA to introduce B2B and cross-border payments with the help of blockchain. However most relevant to Loyyal, LINE is also planning to launch a token-based rewards system, using its own cryptocurrency LINK.