Emaar to reward loyalty with its new blockchain token
Priya Wadhwa
10x Industry

Emaar to reward loyalty with its new blockchain token

Will you be using it?

Blockchain is steadily gaining traction in mainstream and long-standing businesses as more companies realise its potential, or simply want to keep up with the times and show their advancements to customers.

Emaar, the leading property developer in the UAE, has announced its plans to launch a blockchain-based loyalty programme by the end of 2019.

They will be issuing the token, called EMR, which will live on Quorum, which is JPMorgan’s variant of Ethereum.

The cryptocurrency or token will be issued to customers through a mobile application, upon their purchase of Emaar’s properties as well as for business referrals.

Moreover, the benefit of having it on blockchain would give the token monetary value and their holders the ability to trade with other people, as well as redeem them at Emaar’s real estate, hotels, e-commerce operations and malls.

It is not yet disclosed whether Emaar will be opening up its network to allow customers to redeem tokens at other merchants. Although, the true value of tokenisation of loyalty points lies in a more open network of partnerships.

By using tokenization, companies can develop new forms of value exchange within an existing network, such as allowing consumers to use loyalty points for purchases with different merchants.
Arun Ghosh, KPMG US Blockchain Leader

“We have an existing ecosystem and a large customer base, as well as millions of further potential users globally who have yet to discover Emaar. Our blockchain token platform positions us to grow our user engagement with today’s digital-native, mobile-first generation who expect a fairer internet and want to be part of the conversation,” said Hadi Kabalan, Director of Tokenisation at Emaar, in a statement.

Emaar is not the first company in the world to issue a loyalty programme powered by blockchain. Such programmes have been reported to be in use by Singapore Airlines, Cathay Pacific, and AirAsia, amongst others.

While the MENA region is still young in the adoption of blockchain, such programmes will play a role in promoting the education and adoption of the technology, and normalising the use of tokens in everyday transactions. KPMG’s study in the US showed 78% of Americans being more open to using tokens from companies they trust and already buy from. This could help Emaar in the adoption of its EMR token.

The Emirates Blockchain Strategy 2021 is aiming to increase the adoption of blockchain technology in the country, which is expected to save 77 million work hours and AED 11 billion in transaction costs annually.

The blockchain technology could also allow Emaar to reduce operational costs associated with the programme management by automating them on the platform, and fostering more transparency.

However, given that the audience for this product are expected to be brokers, as individual buyers may not often be in a position to earn rewards multiple times, as well as its closed network of redeeming options under the Emaar umbrella, the adoption could remain at a small scale.