Blockchain Will Fix Loyalty Points (ARA on the PS4 in Littlstar Cinema, for example)
We’re building Ara to let creators and fans break free of platforms that take too much value and control from both sides, and help platforms be better as a result. This earlier story talks more about the Ara File Manager, the kinds of problems we’re aiming to solve, and our plan for Ara to fix them.
I love airline miles. Every once in a while, I can get a better seat, or a free flight. But here are some things I don’t like about them:
- My points can expire (Or the airline can only promise that they won’t)
- The airline can change the points value, arbitrarily, and whenever they want
- The airline controls how I can use my points (which products, services, and partners), and who I can transfer them to (if anyone)
- If the airline goes out of business, all my points disappear (obviously)
None of this may seem surprising. Airline miles are not real. They’re made up by the airline. They’re nothing more than an informal promise the airline makes with you, their loyal customer.
Airlines keep customers’ miles in a centralized ledger. Somewhere inside Norwegian Air or the Star Alliance is a relational database table with at least two columns: one for my account name, and another for the number of miles I have. I can only hope the airline has backed up this database, ensured its reliable availability, and secured it from hackers. (Instead of having frequent computer problems like these.) Even more basic, I must trust that the airline won’t just change my number. What ability do I have to prevent them from doing that? What recourse would I have if they did?
What if loyalty points were actually backed by something? What if this something were decentralized, irrevocable, and fungible? Essentially, what if loyalty points were also a crypto token on the blockchain?
For an example of what this might look like, grab your PS4 and get the app Littlstar Cinema.
Littlstar Cinema is a streaming app with live esports, live TV channels and on-demand series, and premium content. Watch on your TV, or connect your PSVR to view immersive content like stereoscopic and 360° VR.
Inside Littlstar Cinema, there’s a loyalty points program called ARA Points. ARA points are ARA tokens, our ERC-20 utility token, recorded on the Ethereum blockchain.
Right now, you can complete “missions” in the app and earn ARA. Soon, you’ll be able to cash in those rewards for digital goods within the app, or save them towards redeeming a free month of Littlstar Premium.
While Littlstar keeps your account in a traditional database, a component of your identity is your decentralized AraID. Tied to this AraID is a full Ethereum wallet, capable of holding ETH and ARA tokens. You can see your AraID and wallet address right on your TV, and copy it from your account page on littlstar.com.
Also coming soon, standard wallet controls like those you may be familiar with from MetaMask or My Ether Wallet, (and already in our desktop app, the Ara File Manager), will let you use your wallet, or even take custody of it entirely. This is only possible because on the blockchain, ARA and AraID are truly decentralized.
The blockchain makes ARA points real. They’re the same ARA that enable creators to sell their content to fans with the Ara File Manager, and that are coming soon to exchanges, first LATOKEN at the end of this month.
From ARA’s presence in Littlstar Cinema on the PS4 alone, 80,545 users (and counting!) have a decentralized AraID. You can see their wallet addresses and ARA rewards points right on Etherscan:
As of this writing, 3,262 addresses hold ARA, many from completing an early “mission” and claiming a 100 ARA reward, or more recently completing a new one for 10 ARA.
Ara is made up of open source components built by a community. Bundled together into the Ara File Manager, creators and fans can use them to avoid the fees and limitations of any centralized platform.
We’re also working to integrate the Ara modules into platforms large and small. By themselves, the Ara modules handle real-world, user-level functionality in online identity, content distribution, and rights management. Projects can integrate all of them, or just the few they need.
Integrated into Littlstar Cinema, ARA becomes a reward points and digital content purchase system. Elsewhere, Ara can reliably and securely mirror unlimited quantities of content to an unlimited number of users without bandwidth cost, and indelibly record identity and ownership between individuals or corporations.
Blockchain has promised a decentralized future where individuals can take ownership and control of what’s theirs (your identity, your privacy, the content you own), becoming rightful partners to (rather than servants of) the centralized services and platforms that connect us.
On behalf of Ara contributors and the Littlstar team, it’s with a lot of pride that we’re showing a real start to this future, right now, and right in your living room, on your TV and PS4.