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Crypto loyalty gets a venture boost

Illustration of a pattern of connected gold ribbons with a crypto symbol

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

Kiki, a beauty brand with a blockchain rewards program, raised $7 million in funding led by a16z Crypto and Estee Lauder's New Incubation Ventures.

Why it matters: Crypto loyalty has had a mixed track record, but investors are still betting they can make it work.

How it words: Kiki customers vote on what beauty products it creates and are rewarded with points and digital tokens.

The big picture: Kiki's fundraise follows Blackbird, a restaurant loyalty app using blockchain tech, raising $24 million led by a16z last year.

Between the lines: Crypto is not the marketing headline for Kiki or for Blackbird.

  • Consumers may not even notice they are using the blockchain: An October New York Times article on Blackbird made no mention of its crypto ties.

Reality check: Most recently, Starbucks ditched its NFT offering, which was meant to work with its signature loyalty offering.

  • Revenue for crypto company Bakkt's loyalty services fell 2.4% last year, to $53.1 million.
  • That service, which helps companies create their own rewards program, does not only deal in crypto.
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