Crypto loyalty rewards are an exciting new way for users to enter the crypto sphere, generate wealth, and overall learn more about crypto. However, many companies have questions concerning these rewards’ benefits, safety, and accessibility. In order to address these questions, Prime Trust’s President of Global Marketing, Erin Holloway, recently participated in a CoinDesk webinar. Nolan Bauerle of CoinDesk served as moderator while Peter Schultze, Vice President, Crypto Loyalty at Augeo, participated as co-speaker.
The Current State of Crypto
The speakers began by explaining how their companies entered the crypto loyalty rewards field. They then discussed crypto’s current place in the financial market.
“2022 is already turning into a fantastic year,” said Erin. “We’re seeing really cool new concepts come to light, rewards being [one of them]. It’s the bridge between old school finance and new school finance… Not-for-profits are quickly moving into the adoption space, airlines are giving coins instead of points, investment retirement accounts are exploding in crypto… I see this year as both the year of the institutions and the year of the consumer because common financial vehicles that traditionally have been offered by large institutions are now going to be offered in crypto for the first time. And that makes adoption more available, accessible, and familiar with consumers. Big finance is either going to need to build it, buy it, or partner with someone in new school finance like Prime Trust and Augeo if they’re going to get into the game.”
“It’s hard to ignore that interest in adoption of cryptocurrency is growing at an incredible pace,” agreed Peter. “It’s even outpacing the growth of the internet in the late 90s and early 2000s. In the same way the internet has changed the way we exchange and access information, crypto is changing the way we exchange and access value… We’ve got celebrities, we’ve got athletes, we’ve got politicians all deciding to take a portion of their paycheck in bitcoin. We were in Miami a couple weeks ago for Bitcoin 2022, and it really felt like the industry has grown up, even from a year ago. There were companies from every industry, every vertical, sharing, learning, looking for ways to integrate bitcoin into their product offerings and the way they do business… I’d call this the year of institutional adoption, of no going back.”
Loyalty, Digital Networks, and Heaps
Nolan next shifted conversation to the increased role that digital assets are playing in everyday life. The panelists agreed that digital assets are becoming commonplace, and this normalization will help drive adoption in new and innovative ways. Specifically, they highlighted how Augeo’s Heaps Loyalty Platform will play a role in that adoption by enabling the exchange of loyalty points, cash back awards, employee awards, and other loyalty currencies into cryptocurrency.
“Heaps is designed to easily and seamlessly plug into any new or existing loyalty rewards program where a consumer, card holder, member, or employee can convert the rewards they’re earning into leading cryptocurrencies,” said Peter. “Once they’re inside the Heaps platform, we’re providing education around the basics of crypto, blockchain, and digital assets, as well as [explaining] the risks and benefits that come along with participating in crypto. Then we’re also providing users their own individual secure wallet through Prime Trust, [which gives] users the ability to buy, sell, hold, and transact with their cryptocurrency…[We’re also] building an expansive marketplace of popular digital gift cards plus thousands of online and in-store offers where every time a user shops at a participating merchant, Heaps rewards them with free crypto.”
“We know that Augeo needs to focus on their customers,” added Erin, “and they also don’t need to be building their infrastructure from scratch. That’s where we came in. We already had that built and it’s ready to plug into Augeo’s solution so they can go to market quickly and securely, and that’s key to success So, we focus on the compliance, the security, the movement of the payments behind the scenes, and then [Augeo] can have the retail focus which allows a really easy entry or onramp experience into crypto for the consumers and organizations.”
Education and Ease of Use
Toward the end of the webinar, the panelists discussed the role of education in crypto. They agreed that education is key and that rewards can serve as an entryway for a deeper understanding of crypto. They also discussed the importance of making onramping into crypto quick, safe, and easy.
“We take uncertainty out of the equation,” said Erin. “We vet all the consumers before their crypto accounts are opened with Augeo, and as a trust, because we are regulated, we adhere to all the regulatory requirements and policies that all financial institutions need for their clients’ protection. We just hired the second in command from the Secret Service to be our Vice President of Regulatory Affairs, and most of our executive team come from big finance, regulatory entities, or have security backgrounds… The underlying foundation has to come back to security but with ease of use and accessibility.”
“We’re really focused around making it easy for employers to offer crypto rewards to employees,” said Peter, “as well as directly allocate a portion of paychecks into an automated bitcoin savings plan, and that’s made possible through our relationship with Prime Trust. For an employer, that means there’s no added work, there’s no integrations required with payroll platforms to stand this up… Crypto rewards and employee benefits are also a great way to position an organization as future-facing, as competitive in the industry. It’s a great way to attract forward thinking talent and to improve retention among the existing talent… It’s really creating more optionality for employees and differentiation from a benefits perspective, especially with this next wave of next generation crypto savvy individuals entering the workforce.”
In closing, Erin added that Prime Trust is considering using Heaps for our own employees. “We think it is very much the way forward and a huge benefit to employees,” she said. “The importance of access to crypto is increasing, and most crypto owners are young, a lot of them are under 35, which means they’re potential long-term customers for retirement plans. And we’re seeing that demand from millennials and Gen Z’s that they want to diversify their portfolios and access the digital economy… So, companies are going to have to react to that [and] offer crypto proactively through their retirement plan, through portions of their bonus. Those are all great ways to do that as they’re looking to bring them into the workforce and retain them.”