Ever since the internet’s inception, the issues surrounding privacy and data have been elements of an evolving conversation.
In the past decade, even amid massive data breaches like the Sony Pictures hack in 2014 and the Target data breach that affected 41 million customers, the general public has been largely uninformed regarding the true value of their online behavior. Worse, most of the consumers who do understand simply shrug—primarily because there isn’t much they can do about it.
It wasn’t until the Facebook and Cambridge Analytica scandal surrounding the 2016 presidential election that the masses started to realize the power of their own data: who collects it, who uses it (or sells it) and ultimately the impact it can have.
One of the hottest topics surrounding blockchain innovation in the past year has been the technology’s ability to bring a new level of transparency to the digital world—including, but far from limited to, the way advertisers leverage consumer data. As it stands, behemoth social platforms collect user data on a massive scale, positioning users as the primary “product” and then selling advertisers access to those users.
ReChain, a blockchain-based rewards platform, wants to change that. They hope to appropriately reward users for taking the right actions at the right times.
“Within our ecosystem, advertisers will have the ability to reach highly targeted individuals who willingly provide their personal information in exchange for points and more relevant, less intrusive ads,” said Brian Moynihan, CPO of ReChain, formerly of StackCommerce and match.com. “In this way, users can be rewarded for sharing their data, turning off ad blockers and receiving offers that make sense to them.”
ReChain emerged when the platform’s parent company, Rowl, Inc., was looking for new ways to incentivize their 11 million users across a portfolio of social sites and mobile applications. Originally, the idea was to reward these users for taking specific actions or behaviors that encouraged long-term loyalty. But as they explored the functionality of this sort of rewards system, the ReChain team recognized a much bigger opportunity: the branded rewards ecosystem.
“We know brands and advertisers rely heavily on long-term user engagement for their own growth and profitability. We also know users are becoming increasingly aware of the value of their own data and the need to keep it secure—and this creates an opportunity to create value for everyone,” said ReChain CEO Gregory Butler.
Butler went on to explain that one of the biggest issues in today’s digital landscape is the fact that users are rewarded for purchases, but not actions. For example, although users are frequently leveraged by the platforms they use and served an endless amount of advertisements, users themselves are not rewarded for the actions they take or the data they have provided.
“We see this as a huge issue, and one that will inevitably begin to change as more and more people realize the value of their data,” said Butler.
ReChain also plans to create value through social impact, by integrating user-configurable giving within the platform via partnerships already in place with major nonprofits. They see this as another huge advantage of applying blockchain technology. “Our goal is to create value for all parties, and make the experience of loyalty and rewards a positive one across the board,” explains Butler.
By utilizing Ethereum’s Smart Contract system, he shared that reward transactions will be tracked transparently on the blockchain—allowing user loyalty to finally be recognized and redeemed in a way that is beneficial to all.
According to Brian D. Evans, founder of Influencive and ShipChain, the loyalty and rewards marketplace is an ideal application of blockchain technology, but what makes ReChain a leader in the race to build a system around the half-billion-dollar market is their approach. He explains: “They have really identified the pain points for everyone and found a way to serve the brand, publisher and end user.”