Blockchain-Backed Universal Digital Coupon Moves Into Next Phase

Lisa Johnston
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The Coupon Bureau (TCB) has moved into the next phase of development of its Universal Positive Offer File, which uses the Hedera Consensus Service (HCS) blockchain technology to create a universal digital coupon for the retail industry.

The new universal digital coupon aims to provide a standardized and secure mechanism for coupon distribution through a singular, centralized database of offers, supported with a decentralized public ledger, for use across paper, mobile or e-commerce.

It features the new AI (8112) coupon application type, said to enhance coupon security and reduce fraud. Each coupon has a digital fingerprint on the HCS, with redemptions recorded to prevent re-use or reproduction. HCS also monitors the activities of the centralized data exchange.

This advancement will enable the use of the universal coupon online, a feature that’s unavailable through the current standard.

As part of the next step, industry organizations have now been provided with a roadmap on the adoption of the AI (8112) standard, as well as the future retirement of the existing legacy standard 8110.

AI (8110), which is based on barcodes, will be phased out over two years once a majority of retailers are compatible with the AI (8112) type format. A significant majority has been defined as 70-75%, based on retailers connected and the pipeline of those that are in line to connect, Jeff Hudson, TCB chief integrations officer, told CGT.

TCB is a non-profit, industry-managed coupon data exchange technology platform that works with many of the largest consumer goods manufacturers and retailers.

“The COVID-19 outbreak has required the coupon and retail industry to find innovative ways to meet consumers’ changing behavior, especially in the context of dramatically rising e-commerce sales and online deliveries,” said Brandi Johnson, TCB CEO. “There has never been a more urgent need for a universal digital coupon that crosses retail mediums, verticals and purchase environments, to provide consumers and retailers with the added layer of trust to serve their needs. Today, we are proud to roll out the roadmap for sunsetting old coupon formats, and delivering a cohesive couponing experience for both retailers and consumers.”

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