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IBM and China UnionPay complete blockchain pilot to share loyalty points

IBM and a Chinese credit card company, China UnionPay, have completed a pilot program that will allow consumers worldwide to exchange loyalty bonus points that they’ve earned, between various banks using blockchain technology.

With the ability to move loyalty points between banks, IBM and China UnionPay believe that customers will be much less restricted in how they can spend their points than they are now. He Shuo, director of China UnionPay’s Electronic Payment Research Institute, said:

“The joint research efforts between China UnionPay E-payment Institute and IBM Research has enabled the successful exchange of bonus points among banks using blockchain technology, which embeds trust into transactions. This along with similar innovations under way using blockchain will positively change the future of the finance industry.”

The proof-of-concept, which was built on a private network of the beta-version Hyperledger Fabric network, allows points earned through purchases to be traded to other accounts, however, the concept could be applied to things such as the exchange of frequent flyer miles, mobile phone bills and gas cards.

The network is being positioned to attract new customers, it’ll work in online and offline scenarios, for instance, China UnionPay cardholders can go to supermarkets and use point-of-service devices to enable them to swap points for products.

Source: FT & Coindesk | Image via InsideBitcoins

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