Crypto startups embrace loyalty points, but are they even real?


  • Crypto startups are replacing token airdrops with airline-style loyalty points to attract users.
  • The actual value and usability of these points are often unclear, leading to user frustration and skepticism.
  • Some compare these loyalty programs to Ponzi schemes due to their opaque nature and promise of future rewards.

As the digital frontier continues its relentless expansion, crypto startups have been quick to innovate, eager to secure their slice of the blockchain pie. Gone are the days when a simple token airdrop would suffice to draw the masses. The latest trend? Airline-style loyalty points. But here’s the million-dollar question: What are these points actually worth? The industry buzzes with speculation and intrigue, yet clarity remains as elusive as ever.

A New Marketing Gambit Emerges

It seems every Tom, Dick, and Harry of the crypto world has jumped onto the loyalty program bandwagon, promising users the moon in exchange for their unwavering devotion. Yet, for all the fanfare, the actual utility of these points is as mysterious as the dark side of the moon. The once-popular tactic of token airdrops, where projects would distribute free crypto tokens to attract users, has seen its luster dim under the harsh light of regulatory scrutiny and user disinterest.

Enter loyalty points, the crypto industry’s shiny new tool to woo and retain users. Yet, this approach has not been without its critics. A chorus of dissenting voices points to a glaring lack of transparency, with many programs leaving users in the dark about how their points can be redeemed. This opacity has led to murmurs of discontent among the crypto faithful, with some drawing parallels to the dubious charm of Ponzi schemes.

The saga of Blast, a blockchain project without an actual blockchain, serves as a cautionary tale. Boasting over US$1.3 billion in crypto contributions from users left to ponder the potential uses of their points, Blast represents the epitome of marketing chutzpah. With redemption promises dangling like a carrot on a stick, the program’s critics have been quick to label it a mere ploy to entice token commitments and referrals.

Despite the backlash, Blast’s audacious strategy has paved the way for other projects, like Manta and Mantle, to launch their own loyalty initiatives, attracting billions in crypto with the allure of points. This trend signals a potential maturation of the industry, with marketing strategies increasingly focused on engaging and retaining users through gamification.

The Regulatory Gray Zone

But here’s the rub: the regulatory landscape remains as treacherous as ever. The United States Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) has long held most tokens under the securities umbrella, a designation fraught with legal obligations. By transitioning to point-based rewards, crypto projects find themselves navigating a murky regulatory morass. Are these points genuine rewards or cleverly disguised cryptocurrencies?

Legal experts and industry analysts offer diverging views. On one hand, points could represent a savvy maneuver to sidestep the stringent requirements of securities law, offering a faster, more cost-effective route to market. On the other, if these points mirror cryptocurrencies in all but name, they could carry the same regulatory baggage.

Moreover, the role of these loyalty points remains nebulous at best, fueling further speculation among crypto traders. Trading platforms have sprung up, allowing users to buy and sell these points like any other asset, despite the glaring absence of clarity regarding their use. This speculative frenzy underscores a broader issue within the crypto space: a penchant for incentivizing participation without committing to tangible rewards.

Unlike their blockchain-based counterparts, loyalty points lack transparency and accountability, residing entirely under the control of their issuers. This fundamental difference raises questions about their real value and long-term viability. Are these points a genuine attempt to foster user engagement, or merely a new twist on an old marketing gimmick?

Disclaimer: The information provided is not trading advice. Cryptopolitan.com holds no liability for any investments made based on the information provided on this page. We strongly recommend independent research and/or consultation with a qualified professional before making any investment decision.

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Jai Hamid

Jai Hamid is a passionate writer with a keen interest in blockchain technology, the global economy, and literature. She dedicates most of her time to exploring the transformative potential of crypto and the dynamics of worldwide economic trends.

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