Chances are, you’ve heard of Bitcoin but probably don’t own any. A small North Carolina startup is hoping to change that.
Charlotte native Alex Adelman, 29, heads a team that’s days away from rolling out its latest project: An application that rewards online shoppers with Bitcoin, the digital currency that is exchanged without banks or central authority.
The goal of Lolli, as the app is called, is to make Bitcoin more accessible.
Despite Bitcoin’s growing popularity and value, “it’s difficult to understand and acquire,” Adelman said.
Here’s how it works: After Lolli users download its browser extension on any browser, they proceed to checkout with a Lolli retail partner as they would with any typical online purchase. Retailers pay Lolli in cash, then Lolli converts it into Bitcoin to send to customers as a small reward for shopping. Customers can store their Bitcoin in a virtual wallet without having to add their bank account information.
When it launches publicly Aug. 22, Lolli will be available through about 600 retailers, including Bloomingdales, Walmart, Best Buy and ClassPass.
That way, “everybody can mine Bitcoin through shopping,” said Lolli’s co-founder and chief technology officer, Matt Senter, an N.C. State graduate.
Senter and Adelman, both entrepreneurs who say they’ve been “building stuff,” from computer code to video games, for decades, say Lolli benefits the retailers by bringing them young, tech-savvy users. It’s also a way for to educate and introduce retailers to the increasingly popular Bitcoin market, too.
“The retailers have been wanting to figure out some kind of cryptocurrency for a while. They realize they get an opportunity to kind of dip their toe in through us. There’s very little for the retailer to do,” Senter said.
Matt Senter, co-founder of Lolli
Courtesy of Lolli