If the Cryptoversum is lucky, a new app could convert billions of American reward points into crypto-currencies like Bitcoin (BTC).
“The old payment infrastructure is ripe for disintermediation,” Jeff Sprecher, founder and CEO of the operator Bakkt Intercontinental Exchange (ICE) told Fortune. “The Internet should make it possible to create a direct payment system that does not use third-party tracks. It became clear to us that a cash-like reward would be a step in that direction.”
As reported last week, ICE has agreed to acquire Bridge2 Solutions, a provider of loyalty solutions for retailers and consumers. When Bridge2 Solutions eventually joins Bakkt, the strategic combination will accelerate the development of the Bakkt consumer application, which enables the aggregation, conversion and payment of digital assets through a single platform for consumers around the world, the company said.
Now ICE has announced further details. Bridge2 operates a number of the country’s largest loyalty redemption sites, which “contain a total of $60 billion in ready to use rewards,” Fortune reported.
And ICE plans to develop an app with Bridge2 that would eliminate credit card providers and banks in favor of sponsored digital credit cards that carry a merchant’s brand.
The companies say they are “testing” “a pilot program” for the app, which will be called Loyalty Pay. The app could allow users to apply for rewards in four different categories.
An image provided to the media by Bakkt shows a mock-up for a potential Loyalty Pay wallet showing a user’s money divided into four areas, one of which is called a “crypto”. The other three are “cash,” “rewards,” and “in-game” (likely currencies and chips that can be used to purchase in-game items and upgrade characters).
“People were able to use the app not only to shop with cash or bitcoin, but also to seamlessly transfer money from one category to another. “
In a recent Earnings Call, spokesman said that “the next major hurdle for the company will be getting the app into the hands of consumers.
This would mean that part of the “$60 billion in ready to use rewards” that Bridge2 owns may be converted into a crypto currency.
The CEO also said that by 2020, Bakkt would be looking “more at customer adoption than revenue or expenditure”, and enthused that Bridge2 has “a source of revenue from both trading and operating all these rewards programs for 4,500 companies.
“[The focus will] not be so much on income and profit. I think we’ll be focusing on broad acceptance by 2020.”
The CEO said that a number of companies that run reward programs are interested in attracting younger customers – and they’re happy to use crypto rewards as an incentive. He claimed that he was “talking about a wide range of industries” on this topic.
Spokesman said that companies are now wondering if “more millennia of Bridge2 partner companies can be attracted” “because they have crypto-rewards in their ecosystem”.