Traipse takes another big step toward the creation of a currency for the Buy Local movement
Working this month with our technology partner Chiedo Labs of Harrisonburg, Virginia, Traipse took another big step toward the creation of Local Token – an innovative currency that will be earnable through the Traipse app, and spendable at local businesses and charities.
This work builds on a partnership announced in March between Traipse and OST (“Open Simple Token”), and furthers our plan to launch a pilot of Local Token in Downtown Staunton, Virginia, in collaboration with the Staunton Downtown Development Association and the Virginia Main Streets program. OST is building the complete blockchain toolkit for business, allowing any company to launch its own “branded token” that can then circulate within a fully realized “token economy.”
In addition to the partnership with OST, Traipse has participated in OST’s Proof-of-Concept (POC) challenge process, and this latest milestone fulfills the requirements of Phase III of that challenge: to integrate and demonstrate the first wallet features that execute branded-token transactions and show users’ token balances and transaction histories.
Why Local Token?
For local business development agencies and organizations, My Local Token will be a secure and easy-to-manage virtual wallet built specially for stimulating local economic activity.
In the past, cities have had to rely on physical gift card or local currency schemes that often come with a host of management and transaction costs, security concerns, and other frustrations and inconveniences. With Local Token, users will be able to purchase, gift, donate, and store value using a virtual wallet on their mobile devices, within an exclusively local economy. Local merchants process Local Token transactions simply through the app on their point-of-sale tablet or their own mobile device.
Traipse will also integrate these localized token economies with its own in-app reward system, through which app users can earn points by completing Traipse tours and stops, sharing accomplishments on social media, producing their own tour content, and other actions. They will be able to exchange those rewards for Local Tokens that they can then use for purchases at local businesses, transfer to friends and family as gift credit, donate to local charities, or redeem for US dollars - all at a constant rate.
With Local Token, cities get full control of their currency, along with powerful reporting tools, very few operational considerations, and easy management via an intuitive interface. Merchants will no longer face numerous credit card and bank fees for customer transactions and business-to-business transactions. Users get the convenience and security of making daily purchases with only their smartphones, while also knowing that they’re contributing to the local economy, saving money using special discounts exclusive to Local Token, and earning additional value by participating in fun and engaging Traipse app puzzle hunts.
The possibilities for incentivizing various traveler actions are practically endless. Hotels could allocate Local Token as part of a local stay package. Tourism agencies could award Local Token when a potential visitor signs up for a newsletter. Community organizations can use Local Token for prizes at festivals and other events. The token technology, facilitated by OST, makes all of these easy, secure, and low-cost.
What’s in the Phase III Proof-of-Concept for Local Token?
The POC demonstrates via a web app the initial deposit, or “airdrop”, of Local Token into a user’s account, along with a user’s ability to then transfer tokens to another user, pay for something at a restaurant with tokens, and view token balances and transaction histories. These transactions are then also reflected (anonymously) on OST’s block explorer, “OST View.”
Although the interface is plain and rudimentary, and there is much crucial functionality to come including a searchable directory and map of participating businesses, the POC essentially already accomplishes the central goal of the ultimate Local Token app: smoothly conducting the transactions of a downtown economy in a digital, token currency.
Through the implementation of Local Token and its integration with the Traipse app, we expect to be the go-to travel experience tool for travelers who enjoy visiting historic business districts and believe in supporting locally owned merchants and causes. This continues our mission to be at the forefront of a renaissance of the local-scale economy.
What OST APIs are used in the Local Token POC?
We utilized the Users API to create users upon successful signup, and the Airdrops API to provide first time users with 10 tokens. We utilized the Ledger API to display a list of token transactions that a user participated in. The Balance API was utilized to display current balance to a user. And finally, the Transactions API to allow users to transfer tokens to their friends as well as use tokens to purchase food items from local restaurants.
What information is shown to the end user and why?
We decided to display the balance and transaction history (ledger) to a user, because the main objective of the app was for users to send and receive tokens with merchants and friends. Without the ability to track balance and history, users wouldn’t be able to view and manage their token spending.
How is design (UX/UI) used in displaying this information?
We kept the design simple by leveraging a styling framework called Bootstrap 4 which allowed us to use pre-made components to display relevant info to the user. Being that this was an MVP version, this framework help us to minimize styling/design decisions and focus on the functionality of the app.
What did we like about using these APIs?
We liked how easy it was to use the ruby gem wrapper to post and retrieve data from the API. We didn’t have to manually craft API requests and parse ‘json’ responses, which sped up development time significantly.
What did we learn about designing these wallet features?
We learned that it was very easy to integrate a token economy into a Rails app. The documentation is well written and the OST KIT dashboard provided a helpful “source of truth” as to how data was manipulated via the API.
Some narrative screenshots:
Screen showing user token balance. (Local Token is here represented with the test token abbreviation “TTTa”)
Welcome screen (test was designed to deposit 5 Local Tokens into a new user account upon registration)
Screen showing user transaction history
Local Token transactions displayed on OST View
Transaction confirmation screen showing a payment of Local Token to a local restaurant.
Transaction confirmation screen showing a transfer of Local Token between users
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