Gyft, the app that enables you to “buy, send, and redeem digital gift cards” and pay in bitcoin has now added Starbucks to it’s list of over 200 retailers.
Gyft’s story begins at TechCrunch Disrupt SF in 2012 where the company launched with the ambitious goal of becoming “the mobile gift card mall for consumers” and taking the then $100 billion market for plastic gift cards and moving it to the digital realm. Plastic gift cards cause problems for consumers and for merchants. Consumers often forget or lose gift cards and end up not using them. Unused gift cards are a pain for retailers because according to a 2010 law, unused cards cannot be considered revenue until they are redeemed. With Gyft, consumers will no longer lose their gift cards, and retailers can remind users via push notifications. These notifications become a new channel for retailers who may now incentivize consumers to redeem their gift cards by offering promotions, or who may simply choose to use location-based technologies such as geo-fences to remind users of their unspent gift cards when they are near the store.
Gyft, originally only for iOS, released it’s Android version, and grew its team to a total of 18. They then raised $7.5 million from investors including Google Ventures, Canyon Creek Capital, The Social+Capital Partnership, Karlin Ventures, David Sacks, Hass Portman, and others. Shortly thereafter in July 2014, Gyft was acquired by First Data for a value less than $100 million, but more than $54 million. The partnership was in the works for a couple of months and was designed to allow digital gift card access to First Data’s SMB clients.
For the Bitcoin community, Gyft has enabled spending bitcoins for groceries, video games, and many other physical and digital goods offered by Gyft retail partners. Now, we can also buy a coffee and pay with bitcoin.
Sources: TechCrunch Online
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