How eCommerce Can Benefit from the Blockchain 3 1238

We’ve heard a lot of talk lately about how the blockchain will revolutionize every industry it touches. From government to finance, agriculture to the legal field, almost all areas stand to benefit from its transparency and decentralization. But, what about ecommerce? How can the blockchain improve online purchasing as we know it?

The ecommerce industry is positively burgeoning, with e-retail revenues estimated to reach $4.48 trillion by 2021. We spend a considerable amount of time buying and selling online and over 80 percent of all internet users have purchased something at least once. So, what exactly can the blockchain do to improve that?

Beyond Bitcoin Accepted Here

“Bitcoin Accepted Here” may be the first thing that crosses your mind when it comes to blockchain and ecommerce. But, that’s not exactly the only thing the blockchain can do for ecommerce. After all, several major e-tailers already allow for payment in digital currencies, including Overstock and Expedia. Nope, the real magic happens when ecommerce companies decides to weave the blockchain technology into their very core.

Lower Fees

With the current financial system and need for payment processors, transactions pass through many middlemen between consumer and vendor. And every middleman rightly wants his slice of the pie. Whether that’s conversion costs or credit card fees, the blockchain could make them disappear. Not having to pay that 2.9 percent credit card fee paid on every single transaction would leave ecommerce stores a lot better off.

It’s not only the credit card companies either. Mega giants like PayPal should be feeling hearing the thundering hooves of the blockchain pounding fast on their heels. Why? Because currently, multi-billion dollar companies like this exist to ensure that money only moves hands after a transaction has been made and a product or service successfully delivered. But with the blockchain’s transparency and real time capability, there would no longer be the need for them.

Moreover, when a customer uses their digital wallet to pay for something, several actions occur. The item is processed, sent for delivery and later finally ends up on the door of the customer, with lots of passing of hands along the way. The blockchain has the capability of tracking the entire order from start to finish. Increased efficiency at lower cost.

No More Fraud

We keep hearing about the blockchain’s transparency, and this is a major bonus when it comes to things like fraudulent transactions. Thanks to the blockchain’s ability to record every single transaction, institutions can search for patterns in real time and fraudulent transactions can be flagged up before they occur. No more chargebacks.

Democratization of Data

Another huge middleman being hacked out of the equation are large data warehouses that store customer information and charge for it to be used. Companies logically don’t want to share data with each other, for fear of losing competitive advantage, but with blockchain, no one entity owns data anymore. Customers can control who uses their data and can trade it directly with the ecommerce store.

Why is this important? Because the e-tailer can purchase the data they want at a reduced cost that will lead to closed transactions.

More Efficient Marketing

Loyalty schemes could be instant with blockchain technology. Instead of waiting for cashback programs, the points could be handed out instantly in the customer’s digital wallet. Real time rewards at the time of purchase would lead to more purchases. There’s also the very attractive idea of consumers being rewarded for sharing their data.

ICOs like Sooloox provide a platform that allows customers to exchange data directly with interested buyers. Instead of having middlemen, the customers can get rewarded  directly. This makes for consumer-led marketing with active participation, rather than reluctant consumers turning off their adblockers.

The blockchain is still in its infancy and experimental stages, so it remains to be seen in just how many more ways it will disrupt and improve the ecommerce industry. But it’s practically certain that the next Amazon to appear on the scene will have blockchain technology at its base.

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Christina is a technology and business communicator who has worked with high profile ICOs and blockchain influencers to break industry news.

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Stakester Brings New Experiences and Royalties to Gamers with NFTs Comments Off on Stakester Brings New Experiences and Royalties to Gamers with NFTs 493

A cheat code NFT allows owners to accrue money, prizes and royalties in the context of popular games.

On Tuesday, Stakester announced its intention to launch a VIP pass in the form of NFTs that it says will enhance the experience for users of its popular gaming app. 

The app, which pairs gamers with real-life opponents, allows players to stake real cash and prizes on their competitive skills in popular games like FIFA 21 and Call of Duty: Warzone. It’s seen significant growth since its launch in 2020, and touts 100,000 members across 31 countries. 

With the forthcoming NFT drop, users will now unlock the potential for larger prizes, access to VIP arenas, and 50% of royalties on the secondary market.

“The NFTs embody Stakester’s vision of delivering electrifying gaming experiences through the thrill of competition,” says Tom Fairey, Founder and CEO of Stakester. “NFT holders will help us shape new, undreamt-of entertainment experiences as gaming becomes ever more powerful and immersive.”

Two levels of NFTs will be offered. At .1 and .25 ETH, respectively, the barrier to entry is high, but Stakester is hoping gamers will see the value of layered experiences and unlocking additional incentives with real-world value. 

“The idea of earning rewards, just like a normal reward scheme but built around NFTs, is totally fit for the future,” says Mike White, CEO and Strategist of immersive entertainment marketing agency, Lively.  “The whole idea of royalties is truly exciting.” 

Stakester’s 50% royalty incentive, Fairey believes, will create stakeholders out of the players on his platform.

 “As well as the increase in gaming utility, the NFT drops provide Stakester users with a chance to invest in the future of the company and, for VIP Legendary holders, there’s also an opportunity to benefit from a royalty share from certain competitions and to make a passive income from NFTs, regardless of whether they go up in value or not,” he says. “Stakester is one of the only platforms to offer this kind of bonus.”

White points out that Gala Games is doing something similar with Nodes which allow gamers to receive rewards like NFTs when they contribute meaningfully to the Gala Network.

He predicts that legacy gaming companies will be adopting similar NFT models, but the winners in the NFT gaming race are hard to predict, particularly since there’s so much attention around NFTs that it’s hard to differentiate between hype and long-term value. 

“I’m sure it will be an immediate success,” he says. “Will it be a long-term thing? We can only wait and see.”

Why Is Everyone Talking About NFTs? Comments Off on Why Is Everyone Talking About NFTs? 121

In this writer’s opinion the NFT hype is warranted — but not for the reason most people are investing. 

For those who’ve been in the space since Bitcoin’s early surge, you’ll remember the Initial Coin Offering (ICO) boom of 2017. The crowdfunding vehicle, which mirrored an IPO on the public market, brought with it massive amounts of investment into the blockchain space that seemed to mirror Bitcoin’s rapidly increasing value. 

In retrospect, none of it made sense. 

With all the hype, the investment in the space didn’t match due diligence. As of August 2018, investors had lost nearly $100M in ICO exit scams, a major reason we no longer hear about ICOs. 

From there, crowdfunding through token sales was rebranded alongside SEC regulation as Security Token Offerings (STOs). Additional fundraising iterations to enter the scene are Initial DEX Offerings (IDOs) and Initial Exchange Offerings (IEOs).

NFTs are having a similar moment to the immature and potentially reckless ICO market of 2017. The danger can be credited to a mix of hype and a widely unregulated environment with various points of entry and gatekeepers that are not incentivized to shore up fraud. 

As a result, many purchasers of NFTs are falling victim to a spectrum that spans undeserving projects on the mild end and outright scams at the extreme. Meanwhile, hackers are exploiting the unregulated environment. 

Just yesterday, $3 million in NFTs were stolen via an Instagram phishing scam. 

This writer, however, is still bullish on NFTs — just not the ones that are getting all the attention.

NFTs represent a concrete entry-point into the blockchain with a tangible utility and infinite disruptive implications. 

Here are a few.

Digital Assets as Social Proof 

As a Millennial, I personally have a hard time understanding the notion of owning and assigning value to a digital asset, but my kids don’t. 

I’ve written about how Gen Z has already adopted the concept of social proof in digital environments by assigning socially relevant value to digital assets like video game skins. 

As Gen Z ages and becomes an increasingly powerful consumer population, this experience will matter. Whether or not their purchase behavior translates to adulthood remains to be seen, but our kids are already leveraging digital assets in the metaverse to exhibit their position in the social hierarchy in the same way that my generation assigned value to Jansport-brand backpacks. 

Their concept of digital assets will be fundamentally different from ours, and NFTs are likely to benefit. 

But Why Are NFTs Relevant to Me Now?

Social proof is far from the most interesting use case for NFTs. 

In the near-term, NFTs can be utilized to store sale information of physical goods on the blockchain in order to eliminate nefarious actors in fraud-riddled industries like fine wine and art. 

Moreover, NFTs can disrupt any industry with a substantial secondary market. By coding royalties into the smart contract of NFTs, original sellers of wine, art and other trade-susceptible brands and industries can ensure they’ll capture a fee anytime an item is transferred. 

This solves a major problem for creators like photographers, artists and musicians that are notoriously underpaid in comparison to the value they create for brokers. It also has the potential to cut out middlemen like auction houses, record labels, and galleries to democratize the creator economy. 

Other Innovators Have Introduced Creative Use Cases for NFTs

Gary Vaynerchuk utilizes NFTs as tickets for events and other value-adds to his community. Forbes introduced a series of NFT Billionaires that will update alongside the real-time NYSE to gamify their user’s NFT experience in a way that’s brand-relevant. Foxies.art is using a gamified version of NFTs to fundraise blockchain education for women. 

The utility of NFTs is confined only by the imagination of our innovators. Whether or not NFT headlines today will remain relevant is yet to be seen, but one thing is certain: the disruption is only beginning. 

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