Hunter Friedland '19, CEO and founder of Rewardzzz, at a ceremony organized by the hotel school in May.

Courtesy of the University

Hunter Friedland '19, CEO and founder of Rewardzzz, at a ceremony organized by the hotel school in May.

June 18, 2018

Rewards App Powered by Blockchain Technology to be Introduced in Ithaca

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Rewardzzz, a rewards app that identifies itself as the “first universal points exchange” and is known for its reliance on blockchain technology and the crytocurrency Stellar, will be introduced in Ithaca this fall.

Hunter Friedland ’19, CEO and founder of the tech startup, elaborated on how blockchain technology and cryptocurrencies function to explain how the app is meant to work.

“Blockchain is the technology that powers all cryptocurrencies. Bitcoin, Ethereum, Ripple, et cetera. Each cryptocurrency is its own blockchain. That’s one misconception a lot of people don’t understand,” he said.

Friedland, who is a student in the School of Hotel Administration, explained further that cryptocurrencies are virtual assets that use blockchain technology as a distributive ledger.

Rewardzzz is built to be fairly straightforward to use — keeping the user away from the backend involvement with the blockchain, according to Friedland.

Once users have the app, they can start getting rewards by going to any linked business. The user can get rewards at one business and use them at another — locally as well as internationally.

In Ithaca, Collegetown Bagels, Ithaca Bakery and Agava have already agreed to be a part of the Rewardzzz platform, with more businesses expected to join in the following weeks and months.

“How it works is when you go to a business, you have your linked cards. You swipe one of those card. The point of sale knows that card and automatically sends you the points,” Friedland said.

According to Friedland, using blockchain for the app increases efficiency and reduces costs drastically.

“It cheaper for us to use the blockchain as opposed to, say, Amazon web service to power this,” he said.

The transparency associated with blockchain also makes it a better prospect for the businesses which Rewardzzz is working with.

We are working with a bunch of independent businesses that don’t want to share their data and want to remain anonymous with each other; using a blockchain allows us to do that,” Friedland explained.

Over the summer and into the fall semester, Friedland is expecting the app to grow and to bring on more businesses as the app gathers attention, with the goal of having 20-25 businesses on the platform by the end of the summer.