A new startup based on local mobile searching is utilizing its own virtual currency along with bitcoin to create a new type of social platform.
The company, Babberly, has its own virtual currency, called babberCRED that is used on its platform. And BTC is being used as a complement to that, reducing friction and transaction fees.
“Users receive babberCRED for any action taken on our portal. We are tying in our babberCRED system with bitcoin to allow our users to use their babberCRED and then pay the balance of their payments (on deals, etc) with our bitcoin layer,” says Bobby Marhamat, Babberly’s CEO.
Unlike other business strategies where virtual currencies are solely for purchasing items, the babberCred virtual currency is also being used for a gamification on Babberly’s platform. When you do something on Babberly, you obtain some babberCRED.
“Our users earn babberCRED for every action taken on the site, from asking questions, to responding to queries, or simply sharing a social tip,” says Marhamat.
What makes Babberly different from other local search services is that its system aggregates what people are saying about local products and services, giving consumers better information.
“Tying in conversations from social networks plus the ability to tie in localized conversations and social tips gives our user base the best, most relevant search results out there,” Marhamat told CoinDesk.
And bitcoin is being used by Babberly as an overflow when users don’t have enough babberCRED in their accounts to pay for things.
“If a user has enough babberCRED in their babberly account, they will be able to directly pay the merchant from their babberCRED balance. If a user is purchasing a product/service that requires more currency, the tie-in to our bitcoin server automatically kicks in – allowing the end-user to pay the merchant in one seamless transaction,” said Marhamat.
“This gives our merchants the opportunity to take payments seamlessly in real-time and save the exorbitant merchant fees that credit cards charge today.”
Many merchants have recently seen the benefits to accepting bitcoin as an alternative electronic form of payment, from a New Orleans antique shop, an Australian photography studio to a Seattle window cleaner.
There was also the announcement yesterday that Shopify, an e-commerce platform for over 70,000 online merchants, has begun integrating bitcoin as a payment option.
Marhamat says that the Babberly staff first became interested in bitcoin when they saw the value proposition that the decentralized virtual currency could offer.
“Our team first got interested in bitcoin when we realized the huge opportunity it has to change the face of commerce. By enabling users to pay seamlessly, and merchants to save money on merchant processing – more transactions will occur – thereby accelerating local commerce,” he said.
More transactions is good for any virtual currency, and helps achieve Babberly’s goals, says Marhamat.
“We are working hard to lead the local search and commerce layer on mobile.”