You think I’m kidding. I’m not.
I’ve been thinking a lot about cryptocurrency as an award option since I first heard of Bitcoin around 2010. At first, it was simply a distraction. Then it started to grow and get competitors. Whenever competitors pop up you know you have a market. That’s when I really started thinking about using it as a redemption option in incentive and reword programs.
I think we will see cryptocurrency as an award option within 24 months. Write that down. Ping me if I’m wrong. Comment if you think I’m nuts (well… we all know I am. Comment if you think I’m wrong – that is less likely.)
Reasons Why Crypto Will Be in Programs Soon
Crypto is in the news. Including crypto in your award program will immediately elevate your program over any of your competitors. Seeing bitcoin or dogecoin in the news while a contractor is in a program offering that as a redemption choice, will spark participant interest to earn this “get rich” digital currency. All we hear about are bitcoin millionaires and billionaires. Wouldn’t you want to be one? Now you can! Just sell 10 more Fetzer valves and retire on a private island next to Richard Branson.
Crypto is volatile. I could turn that $100 award that I redeemed for bitcoin into $100,000. And I’m not using my grocery money or mortgage money. It’s a win-win for me and the family. If the value goes down, I’m only out my “points” not my paycheck. Heck, we all buy lottery tickets when the payout skyrockets even though the odds of winning are astronomical. We love that feeling of “maybe” being rich.
Even when the value of bitcoin goes down your participants’ desire and effort in the program will go up. Sounds counterintuitive, right? You wouldn’t redeem for something that was worth $100 last week but only $80 this week. Unless you’re like most people who, when they get in the “market” for investment-type assets, look at the lower price as a buying opportunity. In other words, I need to perform more to get more points to buy more bitcoin while it is cheaper because I KNOW it will go up someday!
It’s not really money. It’s not income. It won’t hurt my family if I divert my program award earnings into bitcoin. That’s been the argument against a cash program for ages. This just extends that argument further.
It’s worth a shot.
Why It Won’t Happen
The industry can’t see past the “catalog” and the academic results around what motivates people. Sure, a cash program isn’t nearly as effective as a well-designed non-cash program, but truthfully, there aren’t that many well-designed programs anymore. I see simple – do x yet y – everybody cash their check programs. However, I think there is more space in crypto for margin than in anything else so I’d be looking into this real hard.
No one is asking for it. I’ve said it for years, the incentive and reward industry is a fast-follower. They didn’t create or start debit cards as award options until the banks started getting into their merch business. Until someone does something in the industry, all the larger players sit and wait. It’s not a bad strategy but the “wait” part is very long. Maybe I should say the industry is a slow follower. If they were a fast follower, they’d have a lot more features and options.
It’s still in that early phase of the diffusion of innovation curve, where only about 15% of the market is aware of, and interested in, this option. That’s why I give it 24 months. That will be when the crypto world AND the incentive world will firmly be in the early majority phase. It will happen then.
There are some companies creating their own crypto loyalty currency. Not sure how well that’s doing but I like the idea of crypto as an option. Risk-averse people will enjoy being able to either redeem for the Bluetooth speaker – the wild and crazy folks can grab them some bitcoin.
With me or agin me? Let me know below.