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16 JANUARY 2019
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Tuesday, 31 July 2018 12:43
First blockchain loyalty programme launched at scale
Payment confirmation also on the agenda

American Express has become one of the first organisations to launch a blockchain loyalty programme potentially at scale.
The blockchain rewards initiative is being run only in the US at present, and uses the Hyperledger Fabric framework to create custom value experiences for both card members and merchants.

An example provided by American Express is trying the new latte at a coffee shop on a whim because the merchant is offering an additional 100 rewards points for that particular drink.

Aimee Cardwell, Vice President within the Technology organization at American Express  who also leads the Enterprise Blockchain Lab said that an initial pilot with their merchant partner ‘Boxed” has been successfully completed.

Amex is exploring a new programme with Boxed, as well as recruiting additional merchants, with an eventual result to be a scalable market release. The benefits explained include minimal merchant development resources, faster to-market offers, better security (no card member data stored), and customization private “channels” for each use case.

Payment confirmation

Loyalty is not the only application American Express has in mind for blockchain. It has filed a blockchain-based patent application for a payments related capability that can “receive a payment confirmation including a transaction amount and a merchant identifier”. 

Earlier this year American Express Travel Related Services Company also filed a blockchain system patent application that is more directed towards P2P faster payment transactions. 

About the Amex enterprise Blockchain Lab

The internal American Expxress blockchain lab provides a valuable multi-variate resource for both non-tech employees who wish to learn more about the technology, as well as tech development professionals to explore solutions that help existing clients along with bringing new capabilities to market. Apparently several internal pilot deployments have already come out of it.  One of the key criteria used to determine if the blockchain can add value is associated with the existing need for reconciliation. If a current operation generates significant activity around reconciliation then it is assumed that a shared perspective of transactions on the blockchain would eliminate that extra work.
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