The University of New South Wales (UNSW) has partnered with LoyaltyX to developed Unify Rewards, the world’s first significant blockchain loyalty research project.
Through the program, participating UNSW students can earn ether by scanning a barcode within the Unify Rewards app, which doubles as a digital wallet. Scanners can be found at 12 campus retailers, and students will receive $5 worth of ether for every 10 transactions they make.
The program began on October 6 and is scheduled to run until November 20. Participation was limited to the first 500 UNSW students who signed up on the Unify Rewards website, and all of those spots have been filled.
During the trial, participants can sell their ether, spend it on gift cards, or hold onto it to see if its value increases. Once the program has concluded, they will be able to transfer the balance to their personal wallets.
Regional tech outlet Information Age cites Andrew Lowe, managing director of LoyaltyX, as stating that a blockchain loyalty rewards program would engage members more effectively than traditional loyalty points programs, which are generally restricted to a single retailer and provide members with limited options when it comes to redeeming their points.
“This is the first time a loyalty program allows members to transact across multiple retailers and earn a popular cryptocurrency which fluctuates based on market forces,” Lowe said, “We’re confident they’ll find it much more engaging, but the research will give us a more definitive answer.”
Indeed, although the price of ether is roughly the same today as it was when the trial started, it has experienced significant fluctuations during the intervening period. According to data from CoinMarketCap, ether has traded as low as $288 and as high as $348, giving program participants a taste of the excitement that accompanies cryptocurrency investing.
As CCN.com has reported, Australia has begun to embrace both digital currency and the underlying blockchain technology. In fact, UNSW is not the only Australian university to conduct a blockchain-based trial.
Earlier this month, the University of Melbourne became the first academic institution in the Asia-Pacific region to issue academic credentials on a blockchain. Moreover, The Australian Parliament also recently gave the green light to a bill that will regulate domestic bitcoin exchanges, which have seen significant growth in 2017.
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