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Archive for the ‘Complementary Currencies’ Category

Gamification Platform BigDoor Raises $5 Million From Foundry Group | TechCrunch

White label gamification platform BigDoor has raised $5 million in new funding led by existing investor Foundry Group, bringing BigDoor’s total funding to $13 million.

BigDoor’s gamification platform essentially allows online publishers to add game mechanics to web interactions and engagements. BigDoor helps companies build game-like mechanics and loyalty programs into their sites or apps by enabling points, badges, levels, leaderboards, virtual currency and virtual goods.

The company’s newest product, Gamified Rewards Program, is being released today out of private beta, which allows publishers to give users rewards for engagement, such as exclusive content, unlocked powers, exclusive virtual items, as well as tangible rewards. The company says that private beta tests of the BigDoor Rewards program resulted in a threefold increase in the number of website registrations based on the rewards available.

Online publishers have three options for implementing BigDoor: Lite, Plus and Premium. Lite is a free offering for websites with fewer than 25,000 monthly visitors. Plus is a white-label and highly customized solution built for medium-sized websites with up to one million monthly visitors. For enterprise customers, BigDoor creates a fully customizable rewards program as part of the Premium package.

Besides just allowing publishers to implement game mechanics within a website, BigDoor also gives clients reports and analytics on how the program is influencing behavior and web engagement. BigDoor’s dashboard focuses on four key areas of performance to track the overall health of a site including loyalty, engagement, virality, and average revenue per user. This data can be measured in hourly, daily and monthly increments. And customers can also A/B test their program via BigDoor.

BigDoor says that partners realized an average lift of 153% in user loyalty, 672% in engagement, 355X in social sharing, and 9X in average revenue per user.�Customers include MLB.com, Dell, Nickelodeon, Spartz, and Wetpaint.

via Gamification Platform BigDoor Raises $5 Million From Foundry Group | TechCrunch.

via Gamification Platform BigDoor Raises $5 Million From Foundry Group | TechCrunch.

Bing to Reward users with Skype Credit | Ubergizmo

Bing and Skype fans have a new reason to rejoice. Microsoft announced today on the official Bing blog that it will be rolling out new rewards for Bing users. Over the next few days, it will be adding Skype Credit to the Bing Rewards redemption center. For 100 Bring Rewards Credits, members can trade them in for up to 60 minutes worth of Skype Credit based on call rates of 2.3 cents per minute for making calls on Skype. With the Skype Credit they can make calls to landlines or mobile phones, send SMS to mobile phones, set up a Skype To Go number or access Skype WiFi though 3rd-party hotspots.In case you’re unfamiliar with Bing Rewards, users basically earn credits by using Bing to perform their searches or trying out new features on the service. With these credits, they can trade them in for different rewards at the Bing Rewards redemption center – it’s basically Microsoft’s incentive program for people to using Bing as their default search engine and more. Definitely a win-win situation for people who already love using Bing anyway. Find out more about Bing Rewards.

via Bing to Reward users with Skype Credit | Ubergizmo.

via Bing to Reward users with Skype Credit | Ubergizmo.

The Currency Cloud Secures $4M To Disrupt The Trillion Dollar Foreign Exchange Market | TechCrunch

The Currency Cloud has developed a Foreign Exchange FX payments automation platform which supercharges the tired old world of cross-border business payments, aiming to reduce costs for business and make multi-currency payments more frictionless.Why is this interesting? Well, we’re talking about a team from the City of London that built the UBS online FX platform bringing their skills and experience to the combined revolutionary powers of the Cloud and SaaS. Since FX is one of the last great ripoffs in finance, this might actually be a pretty big deal.Obviously Foreign Exchange is a big market to attack. According to the Bank for International Settlements, the average daily turnover in global foreign exchange markets is estimated at over $4 trillion.The startup now has over 100 corporate customers using the company’s SaaS offering and 20+ platform partners using its API. Think Stripe a developer-friendly way to accept payments but geared toward Foreign Exchange and you are close to what The Currency Cloud is.Mike Laven, CEO and veteran of the West Coast tech scene, says “Businesses everywhere need to deal in multi-currencies in every working day. Yet the methods being used are antiquated and expensive to all but the largest corporates and the banks. Our re-design of the industry business model delivers price transparency, risk management and ease of use.”Fred Destin, Partner, Atlas Ventures, says FX remains error-prone, low tech and expensive and think the startup can “take costs out and bring transparency and automation in.” Sean Park, co-founder, Anthemis Group, added: “Selling one currency to buy another should not be that hard. Yet for the millions of companies and individuals doing so today is too often a painful and expensive experience.”It looks like The Currency Cloud is on to something.

via The Currency Cloud Secures $4M To Disrupt The Trillion Dollar Foreign Exchange Market | TechCrunch.

via The Currency Cloud Secures $4M To Disrupt The Trillion Dollar Foreign Exchange Market | TechCrunch.

Klout Starts Rolling Out Perks That Match Your Score, Partners With Gilt For Discounts | TechCrunch

Klout, the startup that measures influence on Twitter, LinkedIn, Google+, Facebook and other social media sites, is expanding the functionality of its Perks program. Klout Perks are exclusive offers or experiences, given as a result of your Klout score. For the first time, Klout is matching savings based upon a specific score.The startup is partnering with flash sales site Gilt to allow Klout members to use their influence to receive a percentage off of their Gilt purchase that matches their Klout Score. For example, if your Klout Score is 81-100, you could receive up to 100 percent off of your purchase.Klout and Gilt have also selected influencers across several categories, including fashion, interior design, social media, finance and parenting, and have asked them to curate a special sale to be featured across five of Gilt’s properties, including Men, Women, Baby&Kids, Taste and Home. Curators include Loren Ridinger for Gilt Women’s business, Art Jonak for Gilt MAN, Ciaran Blumenfeld for Gilt Baby and Kids, Erin Loechner for Gilt HOME and Pim Techmuanvivit for Gilt Taste.It’s interesting to see Klout start matching scores with corresponding discounts. In the past, Klout has offered Spotify invites, free tickets on Virgin America, a laptop from Hewlett Packard and a weekend driving in an Audi A8. For Klout, it’s a way to engage brands with the platform, and connect to users.

via Klout Starts Rolling Out Perks That Match Your Score, Partners With Gilt For Discounts | TechCrunch.

via Klout Starts Rolling Out Perks That Match Your Score, Partners With Gilt For Discounts | TechCrunch.

In Brazil, Towns Cash In With Their Own Currencies – WSJ.com

SILVA JARDIM, Brazil—After school and on weekends, Carlos Leandro Peixoto de Abril sells ice cream made by his grandmother from a stoop alongside the familys cinder-block home.Instead of Brazilian reais, though, the 11-year-old prefers payment in capivaris—a local currency emblazoned with the face of a giant rodent. Bills in hand, Carlos then heads to a local grocer and buys ingredients, at a special discount, for another batch of grandmas goods.The capivari circulates only in this dusty, agricultural town 60 miles north of Rio de Janeiro. The money is an effort by the town, one of the poorest in southeastern Brazil, to encourage its 23,000 residents to spend locally.Cash, Credit, or Capivaris?

The capivari is one of 63 local moneys now circulating in needy towns and neighborhoods throughout Brazil.View SlideshowDiego CamposLocals exchange capivari bills, emblazoned with the face of a giant rodent.Ten months after introduction of the capivari—named after the capybara, a pig-sized rodent common in a local river—the currency is lifting fortunes of local retailers and gnawing holes in the pockets of consumers. Capivaris pay for everything from haircuts to restaurant tabs to tithing at churches.

The mayor even has plans to open a “Capivari Megastore,” where local artisans and growers can showcase wares.The capivari is one of 63 local moneys—including bills named after the sun, cactus and the Brazil nut—now circulating in needy neighborhoods throughout Latin Americas biggest economy. The idea is gaining currency as towns seek a share of current economic growth. This month, a new local currency hit the streets in Cidade de Deus, the Rio slum that was the subject of a blockbuster film and a stop on President Barack Obamas South American tour this year.While equal in value to the real, local currencies gain traction because local merchants offer discounts when using them.

No one is forced to quit the real, but shopkeepers say greater volumes make the markdown worthwhile.”It brings customers through the door,” said Roseanne Augusto, manager of a Silva Jardim hardware store, where a builder one recent afternoon set aside 2,700 reais in supplies, about $1,520 worth. He then left the store, went to trade reais, and returned to pay with capivaris, saving 5%.

Capivaris are managed by a new, community-run Capivari Bank. Inside its one office, a brightly painted space the size of a small fast-food joint, are the banks employees, three women in their 20s.For each of the 50,000 capivaris first circulated, Capivari Bank holds an equal number of reais on deposit at a traditional bank. Tatiana da Costa Pereira, the bank manager, says she sees as many as 60 clients a day. A local police car patrols outside and a state policeman comes in regularly.The currency has been so successful the town ordered a second run of the notes, which bear serial numbers, watermarks and a hologram alongside the whiskered varmint.

via In Brazil, Towns Cash In With Their Own Currencies – WSJ.com.

Bitcoin, Ven and the End of Currency

Virtual currencies are in the news again with all the discussion around Bitcoins, which is limited in supply and can be exchanged anonymously. Our own long experience with another digital currency, Ven, has made us think about the logical conclusion of these activities, and what it means for money at large. And what it means is the end of money as we know it.Digital currencies are really just online account books that measure and record transactions of financial value between nodes on the Internet. The first ones—Beenz, Flooz and others, arrived with the first wave of the Internet in the 1990s and failed. By the middle of the last decade, the virtual currency economy boomed on the strength of gaming systems: theLinden Dollar in Second Life, World of Warcraft Gold,Entropiaand Tencent’s QQ in China encountered success with volatility. Now Internet currencies are moving out of virtual gaming systems and into the global economy, …

via Bitcoin, Ven and the End of Currency.

Facebook Credits $600 million virtual economy – Apr. 28, 2011

NEW YORK CNNMoney — With more than 500 million active users, the population of Facebook exceeds that of many countries. And like any empire, Facebook has its own currency — one that got a big boost with this weeks launch of Facebook Deals.Facebooks new daily deals offering, available in five cities now with plans to expand to more, puts it into direct competition with Groupon and its army of imitators. Facebook members will get deal offers right in their news feed — and if one catches their eye, they can pay for it with a credit card, PayPal or Facebook Credits.013EmailPrintIts the first time Facebooks virtual currency can be used to buy real-world goods.”Those folks now have the money to buy a massage or a meal,” says Dave Martin, senior vice president of media at online marketing agency Ignited. “Beyond the simple idea of renting content, now youre actually getting durable goods.”

via Facebook Credits $600 million virtual economy – Apr. 28, 2011.

Feds go after wacky Liberty Dollars- MSN Money

Its perfectly fine to issue private currency in the United States, and that currency can be bartered, exchanged or used as payment in transactions. Entire communities have experimented with private currency, and several businesses in Detroit began accepting new Detroit Cheers bills instead of official money in 2009.But when your private currency starts to resemble real money, federal prosecutors get very interested. And when your currency looks and feels like a real coin and says “Twenty Dollars” and “$20” on it, thats when the feds take action.The maker of silver Liberty Dollars, Bernard von NotHaus, 67, was convicted last month for making and selling the private currency in the form of notes and coins, The Associated Press reports. And now the government wants to seize his stash of five tons of the silver dollars and precious metals, estimated at $7 million.The question now is whether the maker of the Liberty Dollars tried to pass off the medallions as U.S. currency. The Constitution says that only Congress has the power to coin U.S. money and that only the U.S. Mint can mint and issue legal coins.Van NotHaus medallions had the words “Liberty,” “Dollars” and “Trust in God” on them and showed such images as the Statue of Libertys head and a flaming torch. They were advertised as “legal” and “constitutional,” according to the U.S. Mint. People called the U.S. Mint asking whether the money was real, prompting the Mint to issue warnings that the dollars were privately produced.Van NotHaus has claimed repeatedly that he never tried to pass the dollars off as real currency. He says he wanted to give local communities a transactional network based on an alternative, private currency. The medallions were reportedly made at a private mint in Idaho.Private currencies are fine, but Liberty Dollars skirted too closely to the edge of legality.

via Feds go after wacky Liberty Dollars- MSN Money.

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