What to think about blockchain?
Exploring how blockchain technology might influence loyalty marketing.
As an evolving technology seeking practical applications, blockchain has been an active topic of discussion throughout my internship at Augeo. It seems that almost everyday new uses emerge or predictions are made about blockchain. Debates rage about which industries will be disrupted due to blockchain's promise of data verifiability, immutability, and the democratization of information. While it remains to be seen how blockchain technology will disrupt or enhance the loyalty and engagement market, vetting alternatives, learning, and experimenting seems like a prudent course of action. If you are interested in better understanding blockchain, here's some resources I found most useful.
References for an Overview of Blockchain:
- How does a blockchain work - Simply Explained: A 6-minute video that provides a simple yet thorough understanding of how blockchain works
- The Truth About Blockchain: Harvard Business Review article contextualizing the state of blockchain development and comparing it to the adoption of TCP/IP technology. Source also establishes a framework for blockchain adoption
- Do you need a Blockchain?: Academic paper by researchers from the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology that addresses questions of blockchain necessity, comparing blockchain to traditional centralized databases and defining appropriate use cases
- Why Blockchain is Hard: Medium article by Bitcoin developer and educator Jimmy Song, describing some of the challenges with blockchain development
- What is Blockchain?: A short video by the World Economic Forum discussing how blockchain might challenge the status quo
- Blockchain for Dummies: Comprehensive primer on blockchain published by IBM. The e-book includes a description of how blockchain works, use cases, and ten steps to your first blockchain application
- The Founder's Handbook: IBM's guide to getting started with blockchain for business leaders. E-book includes chapters about identifying business problems and business model design
References for Blockchain & Loyalty:
- Blockchain Will Transform Customer Loyalty Programs: Harvard Business Review article describing the potential for blockchain to reshape the loyalty industry
- Has Amex found a data gold mine with its rewards blockchain?: American Banker article detailing American Express's use case for blockchain, which involves partnering with an online retailer to provide additional rewards for Amex cardholders
- Making blockchain real for customer loyalty programs: Deloitte report outlining the issues with today's loyalty programs and how blockchain could provide a solution
- Blockchain in banking: Detailed Deloitte report describing the use of blockchain for banks, including a use case for customer loyalty programs
- Why Most Blockchain Loyalty Companies Will Fail: Huffington Post article by CEO of loyalty management consulting agency Loyalty and Reward Co Philip Shelper making an argument as to why many blockchain loyalty companies have flawed philosophies
- Thesis: Card Rewards - A Realistic Use Case for Blockchain: Thesis by PaymentsJournal that seeks to describe how blockchain could be used for card rewards by removing the need for third party fulfillment vendors
- How blockchain can give retailers a boost: Digital Commerce 360 article about how retailers can leverage blockchain to process payments and create stronger loyalty programs