Cryptocurrency has revolutionized the concept of money. However, people are often reluctant to believe that virtual money can ever replace the physical fiat currency they have grown accustomed to. Even though most people use a variety of digital money services, such as online banking and PayPal, they still think of money in terms of paper currency. Companies must find ways to make cryptocurrency tangible if they hope to convince the average consumer to adopt it as a portion of their financial portfolio.
[dropcap size=small]P[/dropcap]rypto, an Irish startup, believes that it can fill this void by developing physical cryptocurrency scratch cards, which consumers can purchase from brick-and-mortar retailers such as grocery stores or gas stations. The developers of Prypto state that prepaid phone cards inspired them to create their scratch cards. Prepaid phone cards make telephone minutes, an intangible product, into something physical that consumers can purchase in stores and even transfer to others. Though used far less than they once were, most people are still familiar with the concept. Prypto hopes to capitalize on this familiarity to make cryptocurrency tangible to those who are new to cryptocurrency or uncomfortable with the concept of digital money in general.
Much like prepaid phone cards, Prypto cards contain a hidden code that consumers reveal by scratching off the protective covering with a coin. Card owners can then either enter the code at CryptoScratchCards.com and send the funds to their personal wallet address or use the code to pay for a purchase at any online store that accepts Prypto-mediated payments.
Prypto presently offers 9 different currencies–Bitcoin, Dogecoin, Litecoin, Peercoin, Worldcoin, MinCoin, Quarkcoin, Vertcoin, and Maxcoin–available in a wide variety of denominations. For example, Dogecoin scratch cards are available in denominations as low as 1,000 and as high as 25,000 DOGE.
Prypto anticipates that these cryptocurrency scratch cards can function as a gift card-style product. If someone wants to gift their loved one .05 BTC as a birthday present, it will be much easier to explain the concept by giving them a cryptocurrency “scratch card” than just showing them some numbers on a computer screen. Enabling people to hold the scratch card in their hands will help them better understand the concept of how the money works.
However, Prypto scratch cards have appeal outside of their use as gift cards. Obtaining cryptocurrency via a scratch card is a much simpler process than traditional means–such as purchasing through an exchange, especially if one wishes to obtain altcoins that cannot be easily converted into fiat. They will also appeal to people who are not comfortable with giving their banking and/or credit card information to a Bitcoin exchange such as Coinbase. Finally, they offer people who do not have bank accounts–whether because of age or other reasons–the chance to easily obtain cryptocurrency.
Prypto scratch cards offer a host of benefits to consumers, first and foremost their ability to make cryptocurrency tangible. However, the process to create those physical scratch cards adds a significant cost to the consumer. Prypto charges their resellers a 20% markup over the straight value of the currency, and the physical stores that stock Prypto scratch cards must increase the price to the consumer as well to make a profit. Experienced cryptocurrency traders will undoubtedly balk at these rates, but newcomers to the cryptocurrency community and others who cannot easily obtain virtual currency may be willing to pay the extra price in exchange for the convenience. Will Prypto’s innovative product find enough of a market to succeed? Only time will tell.
Disclaimer: The author owns a very small portion of Prypto stock worth less than .015 BTC. He hopes that, despite this small conflict-of-interest, you find this article objective and informative.
Last modified: May 15, 2014 15:30 UTC