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An article relating to this blog post on Finextra:

American Express files virtual currency patent

American Express has filed a patent for a system and method for using loyalty rewards as a currency.


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Virtual Currency may no longer be virtual anymore

Just a moment ago, Finextra tweeted an piece of Amex-related news: American Express has filed a patent for a system and method for using loyalty rewards as a currency.

Any loyalty practitioner will find this statement odd. Loyalty rewards mostly operate on the concept of a 'rewards currency'. So, what is so different about this? Further reading reveals that 'currency' in question, is one that is 'virtual' in nature. By 'virtual', it refers to currency that exists in the 'virtual' or a.k.a. internet/online world. 

For hardcore online gamers or even Facebook amateur players, the 'virtual currency' is 'virtual money' used in the purchase of all things, well, virtual; like a potion here and there, or a zombie to grow your garden. As with money in the real-world, you have to 'work' to 'earn it'.

Amex put in $30 million in September for a 4-year-old company Sometrics that helps gaming companies set up the infrastructure to enable virtual-currency. With this, they may have made the most far-sighed investment in new business yet.Virtual Currency may no longer be "virtual" anymore

As the social-cultural sphere is increasing entrenched within the 'virtual', so is the economy. The world painted in the movie series Matrix may be a teeny bit far-fetched, but who is to say that the clothes, food supplies, armour and magic potions you buy in the cyber world are less important or valuable that the tangible real ones in the world?


Food for thought.

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Comments: (1)

A Finextra member
A Finextra member 08 November, 2011, 09:04Be the first to give this comment the thumbs up 0 likes

It's worth having a look at the Ven - a virtual currency started by Hub Culture with buying power for real-world goods and services...