The Fold App wants to give you bitcoin, but you’re going to have to earn it — by spending what you hodl.
Fold Kickbacks is the latest child of the stacking sats movement. Like Lolli’s own sats-back system, the program rewards its users in bitcoin for shopping at major retailers. The big difference is that, with Fold, you have to spend bitcoin to earn bitcoin.
On the platform, users can buy gift cards for Amazon, Uber, Target and Starbucks (among others) on Fold using both the Bitcoin mainnet and the Lightning Network. Fold is promising up to 20 percent back on certain purchases, with the platform’s average clocking in at roughly 9 percent.
While spending precious coins may smack of heresy to some Bitcoiners, Fold CEO Will Reeves told Bitcoin Magazine that the aim is to create a circular economy that encourages Bitcoin users to both hodl and spend. His mission is to make “living on Bitcoin finally make sense to everyone.”
“We’re here for the big takeover — aka hyperbitcoinization,” Reeves said. “To that end, we’re creating irresistible on-ramps and use cases for Bitcoin to kickstart a robust circular economy … Now, for the first time, hodlers can increase their stash by accumulating via exchanges and spending via Fold. We’re doing this because we believe Bitcoin enables a fundamentally better way to pay, save and most importantly, live.”
These sat kickbacks come from Fold’s retail partners, who provide Fold a discount for their services based on the new user exposure and fee-reduction that Fold offers. The difference from this discount goes directly to the rewards, which are paid out immediately to those who unlock them, all without exposing user information like transaction history and payment details, Fold claims.
“Fold integrates Lightning directly into prepaid access programs of major retailers (think store credit, gift cards, etc.),” Reeves explained to Bitcoin Magazine. “Users pay via Lightning and merchants settle instantly in the currency of their choice. Because we’re introducing new customers, lowering processing fees (gift cards and store credit come with the lowest processing fees) and reducing exposure to charge-backs for merchants, Fold gets a discount that is paid out as Kickbacks for our users.”
To leverage the rewards, Fold users just need to opt in while buying gift cards through the app. From there, they can earn 2.5 percent at Amazon, 5 percent at Starbuck and 7.5 percent at REI, for example. Using Fold’s Boost loyalty program, users can expect 10 percent at the latter two companies and others like Home Depot, as well.
“Boost will be reserved for users that meet certain spending targets and behaviors (consecutive days, volume, variety, etc.) to give them the full benefit of spending via Lightning,” Reeves said, adding that the program will be available through a subscription model later on. For now, though, Fold is giving all new and existing users exposure to the option for 30 days. In addition, each new Fold user will receive 20,000 free sats for joining, and 20,000 more for each friend they onboard.
Bitcoin Rewards : A Growing Field
With this latest release, Fold is positioning itself as a direct competitor to community darling Lolli and fellow sats-back rewards programs like Pei. But, in contrast, Fold only allows people to pay in bitcoin. Fiat isn’t available, “not yet,” Reeves teases in the company’s announcement, (emphasis his own). “All we can say is that soon Fold will become the most rewarding way to get free bitcoin shopping in store [and] online at hundreds of merchants no matter what currency they choose to use.”
Until then, with bitcoin as the sole payment option for the rewards program out of the gate, Fold will give hyperbitcoinization disciples a chance to put their sats where their mouths are.