Fast changes to cross-border gifting open a door for blockchain

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Gifting is becoming more international and diverse, leading to a role for a a distributed ledger to streamline the user experience and bolster incentive marketing.

Swych will transition to a blockchain platform from the Stellar Network in several phases over the next year. It hopes the migration will enable new options for cross-border gifting, as well as use cases for loyalty redemption, employee incentives, frictionless travel shopping and easy access to merchant offers, said Deepak Jain, CEO of Swych.

The gift card industry is undergoing massive change while rising in consumer popularity. Digital gift cards have become the growth engine for the industry as consumers and businesses are increasingly choosing to send digital gifts by email and mobile device in lieu of purchasing plastic cards. The digital cards gives the sender the ability to immediately send a gift without having to visit a store and make physical gift card purchase.

Swych is navigating these changes along with competitors such as Tango Card, First Data and Blackhawk Network. Part of Swych's attempt to differentiate itself is its digital-heavy focus.

The company's mobile digital gifting platform enables users to send mobile gift cards that can be exchanged — or as the company says, “Swyched” — by the gift card recipient to an alternate gift card of the recipient’s choice. This is designed to solve two problems with gift cards – poor choice of gift card brand and possible low redemptions. By allowing the recipient to exchange a gift card for one from a store in which they desire to shop it practically guarantees that the gift card will be redeemed.

Swych also specializes in cross-border gift cards. For example, a company may wish to reward its employees in another country or families may want to send gift cards to relatives living in their old home country. In August Swych launched a gift card service for instant cross-border gifting to India following its recent acquisition of GiftCardsIndia.

By moving to a blockchain-based gifting platform Swych is expecting the new system will operate seamlessly in the background, unbeknownst to its customers. Meanwhile, the blockchain will improve its operating expenses through reduced fees and allow it to develop new products for consumers and businesses.

Swych contends the blockchain allows it to improve aspects of a cross border commerce such as settlements and reconciliation, consumer authentication, fraud monitoring and access to new markets.

"Fintech is the most exciting frontier for blockchain and the fast pace of innovation in this ecosystem gives us access to modern tools and development stacks that are easy to integrate and significantly speed up time to market," Jain said. "Additionally, the transparency and immutability of data promises to simplify customer support and quality of service which in turn helps us to introduce a better product in the market.”

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