Blockchain With Heart, Blockchain As (Payments) Superhero?

Bitcoin may still hold sway over the imagination, but now imagination is taking hold of the rails — that would be blockchain. Amid the headlines this week, inventive uses of the distributed ledger embrace kittens and costumes (perhaps kittens in costumes, too).

Blockchain has most assuredly been emerging from its crypto-drenched hype, standing on its own, slowly, as a means of distribution for all manner of (valuable) data.

News comes this week that blockchain is finding a berth within the charitable realm. In what might be termed marriages of whimsy and heart and commerce, a few examples show that not everything need be about bitcoin.

Bloomberg reports that an auction looms, for charity, tied to CryptoKitties.

For those not in the know, CryptoKitties refers to a game where people collect digital versions of cats. For a bit of context, Bloomberg pointed to the Beanie Babies that captured collectors’ fancy in years past. Now, there is an auction of those digital creatures.

In this case, the Ethereum blockchain is used to create the cats, which are bought for sums that have touched $100,000, and the cats can in turn be “bred” to create more (not real) felines. The newswire stated that a new cat – which has a name, Honu – is being auctioned off, with proceeds slated to wildlife and other nature and ecologically-minded causes.

Donating by crypto is not all that new, but it may be gaining traction. Consider the fact that Coinbase came to market in June with a platform that looks to gather donations made in cryptos and get them to the needy. Plus, said Bloomberg, such methods saw bitcoin donations done through Fidelity rise as much as $69 million last year, an exponential jump from the $7 million of 2016.

Blockchain, though, has proven to be adept at charitable giving that extends beyond, well, extending a helping hand via tokens and coins rendered digitally. The distributed ledger approach lets a few things happen that may ease the transition from, say, credit cards and checks sent in the mail, and phone calls soliciting both.

One issue lies with transparency of the charitable transactions themselves, and knowing that payments are agreed upon between parties, where, ostensibly, an immutable record helps ensure that funds are going to get where they need to go. This is the rails part of the equation, and is separate from the volatility of the cryptocurrency itself – which, of course, can rise or fall in an instant and impact the value of the gift itself.

The adaptable nature of blockchain is further illustrated by this week's news that “the world’s largest cosplay platform” – which refers to costume play, exactly what it sounds like – is enlisting the aid of blockchain as well.

In this case, Cure WorldCosplay also has a social (and commerce-focused) mission in mind. The platform is global in scope, hosting hundreds of thousands of members (prop makers and photographers among them) across 180 countries, allowing them to share images and gain recognition for their creative efforts. The firm is developing tokens that would help spread the word about new events, and also help these creative types monetize their efforts. As has been seen in other verticals, such as music and publishing, a token can track copyrights, bring royalties through smart contracts and allow fans to interact directly with content creators.



New forms of alternative credit and point-of-sale (POS) lending options like ‘buy now, pay later’ (BNPL) leverage the growing influence of payments choice on customer loyalty. Nearly 60 percent of consumers say such digital options now influence where and how they shop—especially touchless payments and robust, well-crafted ecommerce checkouts—so, merchants have a clear mandate: understand what has changed and adjust accordingly. Join PYMNTS CEO Karen Webster together with PayPal’s Greg Lisiewski, BigCommerce’s Mark Rosales, and Adore Me’s Camille Kress as they spotlight key findings from the new PYMNTS-PayPal study, “How We Shop” and map out faster, better pathways to a stronger recovery.