The final panelist that will be joining the virtual currency dialogue at the Winter Expo will be Vinny Lingham, Founder and CEO of Gyft. His company offers a mobile gift card app that allows people to buy, store, send, and redeem gift cards form their mobile device and social media.
“We have the largest selection of online retail brands. We plugged into Bitcoin about six months ago because we felt that the Bitcoin opportunity was pretty big, so we decided to allow people to purchase gift cards using Bitcoin. It’s been a runaway success for us, and the Bitcoin community has embraced us and is using us as a way of cashing in their coins for store credits.” Vinny said.
Gyft has taken a massive step forward in the virtual currency community, allowing users of Bitcoin to actualize their digital value in brick and mortar retail stores. It provides a seamless bridge between the world of online value and physical consumer outlets. What’s more amazing is that it’s not a phenomena isolated to the tech community in Silicon Valley, it’s all across America.
“We work with 100,000 stores across the US, physical retail stores where you can walk in and pay using Bitcoin. We’re one of the top three retailers on the bitcoin platform, so we’re processing some very big volumes of giftcards. If you walk into Target and want to use Bitcoins, you just use Gyft. You buy a giftcard using Bitcoin and scan the giftcard at the point of sale and you walk out with your goods. So you can keep as much of your wealth in your Bitcoins and only use them when you need them, using Gyft. And we just launched our points program about a month ago, which gives you 3% back on all your purchases using Bitcoin through Gyft. We save on Credit card fees, and we pass those savings back on to the customer.” Vinny said.
“They only thing these people pay right now is their rent, and everything else is bitcoin. They buy gas from K-mart, they buy their food from whole foods, they buy their stuff from Target, and they just don’t need to carry cash any more. They don’t trust the dollar.” Vinny said.
Even with this explosive progress for Bitcoin within retail, there are still obstacles for companies trying to work within Bitcoin in the form of the briar patch that is US regulatory system. Vinny offered some advice to startups that are still trying to persevere.
“Get in there and start doing. Gather data and learn from it. Find investors looking to work in Bitcoin and partner with them and move forward. I’m defiantly an investor who’s interesting in Bitcoin, so I like to see startups working on it. Stay within the ecosystem. It’s one of those times when it’s ok to be a little bit experimental. Get a good lawyer, and get an good overall view of what you’re doing. Find out the gray areas, and the black and white areas. It’s ok to play the gray for a while until the government gives us clarification. Because no one knows yet, the government doesn’t even know, so there’s a big opportunity.” Vinny said.
Hurry and sign up for the Winter Expo to see Vinny Lingham and others talk about the future of Bitcoin.
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