IBM and China UnioPpay have demonstrated a blockchain prototype for loyalty bonus points exchange among multiple banks.
Showcasing the system at the Shanghai International Blockchain Week 2016, IBM and the Chinese card scheme say the concept - which uses Hyperledger Fabric to create a permissioned network for the exchange of bonus points - can be applied to a range of loyalty tokens from flight mileage, mobile phone bills, gas cards and food and beverage purchases.
He Shuo, director, the Electronic Payment Research Institute, China UnionPay, describes the initiative as a business breakthrough for the card loyalty markets.
"The joint research efforts between China UnionPay E-payment Institute and IBM Research has enabled the successful exchange of bonus points among banks using blockchain technology, which embeds trust into transactions," he says. "This pilot along with similar innovations underway using blockchain will positively change the future of the finance industry."
He says the technology can also be used in offline mode, enabling cardholders to swap points through direct scanning at POS machines.