Welcome back to Chain Reaction, a podcast diving deep into the stories, backgrounds and latest news with the biggest names in crypto.
For this week’s episode, I interviewed Alex Adelman, the co-founder and CEO of Lolli. Founded in 2018, Lolli is a bitcoin rewards app that lets people earn bitcoin or cash back when they shop online or in-person at over 10,000 stores like McDonald’s, Starbucks, Dunkin', CVS, Costco and so on. Adelman previously was on the team that built commerce gateway Cosmic, which was acquired by PopSugar in 2015 before ultimately folding into Ebates (now Rakuten) in 2017.
“I’ve been selling bitcoin to merchants since 2013,” Adelman said. “So it wasn’t a new sell — for better or for worse, I was the bitcoin guy for a lot of Fortune 500 merchants.”
Lolli has grown significantly over the past few years, from partnering with less than 500 stores in its first few months to more than 10,000 stores to date. Adelman dived into the rewards system in the crypto ecosystem and how it has evolved over the years — and what the future holds for Lolli.
“We’ve been talking about the future of loyalty and its involvement in crypto for a very long time,” Adelman said. “Now it’s coming to fruition.”
The episode also dived deep into the topic of Bitcoin NFTs and Ordinals, the latest craze for the community. We discussed whether Bitcoin NFTs are good for the ecosystem, how the technology can grow in the long term and possibilities for these digital inscriptions to potentially fit into Lolli’s business model.
“I’m a big believer the best NFTs are memes that are going to last forever and art that’s going to last forever,” Adelman said. “When things have utility it has a finite value to it, opposed to an infinite belief it can be the next Mona Lisa. That’s the differentiator: We’ve been intentional about what has value.”
In the future, Adelman also thinks more artists and projects will launch on Bitcoin. “I think you’ll start to see Lightning marketplaces emerge where you can buy and sell Bitcoin NFTs probably within the next few months,” Adelman added. “Artists want to build in ecosystems where there’s liquidity, where there’s people to buy, and there’s no better ecosystem than Bitcoin.”