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区块链国际资讯

新加坡航空推出区块链钱包KrisPay

日前,新加坡航空公司正式推出了一款名为KrisPay的区块链电子钱包,旨在为自家公司常用旅客飞行计划KrisFlyer的会员提供飞行里程兑换数字货币的服务。

根据公司的介绍,会员可以在KrisPay中利用15英里的飞行里程(大约为0.07美元)来支付在加油站、美容产品零售商、食物饮料店等共计18家航空公司合作伙伴场所内的消费账单。

今年二月,公司表示将会首先与新加坡市场上的零售商建成这样的合作伙伴关系。

KrisPay的区块链仅隶属于新加坡航空公司,而且也仅与处于该网络体系之中、能够参与区块链交易的伙伴进行合作。

其实,在此次推出KrisPay之前,新加坡航空公司已经与全球知名审计公司毕马威和科技巨头微软达成合作,联手完成了一系列成功的概念验证测试。根据毕马威的介绍,所谓的概念验证,主要就是与区块链产品测试和客户测试相关。

当然,除了新加坡航空,还有其它一些航空公司,也同样尝试过往自家公司业务中融入区块链或虚拟加密货币。

比如说,去年,来自美国的Surf Air就宣布了接受虚拟加密货币作为支付机票费用方式的业务计划。再比如说,德国汉莎航空和新西兰航空两家公司,也都与瑞士初创企业Winding Tree达成了项目合作,希望能够开发一些基于区块链的全新旅行应用程序。

Singapore Airlines has launched KrisPay, a digital blockchain wallet that lets members of KrisFlyer, the carrier’s frequent flyer program, convert their air miles into digital currency.

Members can use as little as 15 KrisPay miles (equivalent to US$0.07) to pay for items at the airline’s 18 partner merchants in the city-state, including gas stations, beauty product retailers, as well as food and beverage outlets.

The company said in February that it would initially be teaming up with retailers in the Singapore market.

KrisPay’s blockchain is owned privately by Singapore Airlines and only partners who belong in the network can participate in any transactions made on the blockchain.

The launch of KrisPay follows a successful proof-of-concept exercise completed by the carrier, in collaboration with auditing firm KPMG and tech titan Microsoft. The exercise involved testing the blockchain product and doing trial runs with merchants.

Benefits of the blockchain

Last year, KrisFlyer members chalked up a total of US$700 million worth of air miles, up from US$573 million in 2014 and US$445 million in 2011.

A blockchain crypto wallet that allows the purchase of items at retail shops creates a new avenue for members to spend their miles, helping the airline reduce its inventory.

The decentralized nature of blockchain means that information is not stored in one location, and every partner in the network receives the same set of information arising from a transaction. This makes the rewards system resilient in case the network fails, said Kenneth Tan, chief marketing officer of AI and blockchain company Hearti. “Even if one [network] servers fails, everything – the customer’s information and miles – is still safe,” he said.

Because blockchain transactions are permanent and irrevocable, customer details as well as transactions cannot be tampered with, he added.

Moreover, as the technology does not need a middleman to process the transactions, all redemptions are immediately approved and updated in the system, Tan noted.

Partners getting updates on customer information and their miles in real-time makes it easier for Singapore Airlines to onboard them, said Tokenize Exchange founder Hong Qi Yu.

“They can expand their blockchain network by looping all their Star Alliance partners into it [and create] a unified rewards system,” explained Hong.

More than just a rewards program

KrisPay has the potential to be more than just a rewards redemption vehicle, the experts said. The digital currency can be used as a way to raise money or as an investment product. It can even be converted into cash.

For example, Singapore Airlines may opt to launch an initial coin offering and raise money by selling their tokens.

The airline can also list their rewards tokens on crypto exchanges, which will allow its holders to exchange them for other cryptos or fiat currency, said Hong. This will increase the value of the Singapore Airlines miles, prompting customers to use the airline more, added Mike Davie, founder of Quadrant Protocol.

Singapore Airlines is not the only airline in the blockchain game. Other airlines have experimented with adding blockchain or cryptocurrency to their businesses.

US-based Surf Air unveiled plans last year to accept cryptocurrencies for ticket payments. German airline group Lufthansa and Air New Zealand are both working on projects with Swiss startup Winding Tree to build blockchain-based travel apps.

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