2015 could finally be the year that the bitcoin ecosystem begins to pump out applications that the general public will find useful. Up to this point, the average man or woman on the street hasn’t really had a reason to look too deeply into bitcoin. This is what Fold is attempting to change. An early version of their application that works at Starbucks is available today, but the trio behind the project plan to expand to Whole Foods, Target, and other stores as soon as possible. The ability to offer large discounts purchases at these sorts of popular stores is a value proposition that anyone should be able to understand.
Fold’s Corbin Pon recently answered a few questions related to Fold via email, and he was able to give an inside look into how the app works behind the scenes and what the future could hold for this young startup.
How can Fold provide large discounts?
One of the first things that people ask themselves after hearing about Fold is how the application is able to offer a 20% discount when used at Starbucks. When asked about this point specifically, Pon explained that the guys behind Fold are also behind cardforcoin.com, a platform where users can exchange spare gift cards for bitcoin. He continued, “We get cards from multiple brands at a discount and pass these savings to our customers through Fold.”
It’s a win-win for both sides. Holders of gift cards are able to get access to cash, while holders of bitcoin are able to get discounts at some of the shops they already visit on a regular basis.
Why use bitcoin instead of PayPal or other payment systems?
One of the questions that many people ask when it comes to certain bitcoin startups has to do with why bitcoin or a blockchain-based solution is being used in the first place. It’s no secret that there are plenty of startups in the bitcoin ecosystem that seem to be forcing bitcoin in an app that doesn’t need it. This does not appear to be the case with Fold. Pon noted:
“Technically, we could accept payments through other services, but foremost, we wanted to build a great app for the bitcoin community. Bitcoin also provides us a significant advantage when combating fraud. Since there are no chargebacks, companies like ours are protected from the danger of disingenuous users.”
Future plans for Fold
Although Fold can currently only be used at Starbucks, Pon claimed, “We are planning on adding Target and Whole Foods very soon. We’re currently testing to make sure the technology works just as well there as it does in Starbucks.” When it comes to the long-term list of future retailers that could be incorporated into the Fold app, Pon noted, “As we expand, we want to add the stores that are the most valuable to our community. We love getting feedback from our customers, and we pay close attention to the retailers they want to see.”
Pon also claimed that Fold was originally built because it seemed that using bitcoin to pay for normal, everyday items was “extremely difficult.” He noted, “There was crazy powerful mining farms, advanced trading tools, but it was nearly impossible to get a latte.” This statement sums up Fold’s overall goals quite well. At the end of the day, they’re simply looking to make bitcoin more user friendly and bring it to a mainstream demographic.
Fold is currently only available as a web application, but Pon claimed, “Very soon, we’ll be launching Fold for iOS and Android, and we think they are the best apps in bitcoin.”
Correction: A previous version of this article insinuated that Fold may be offer 20% discounts for Whole Foods and Target shoppers. The actual discount that will be offered for those stores through the Fold app is unknown at this time.”