Bitcoin was introduced to the world in 2009 and has since seeped its way into the mainstream media. It’s grown into the world’s largest cryptocurrency despite a history of volatility. Among those in the know, investors and brands alike, the Bitcoin market is booming right now. Tesla recently purchased $1.5 billion worth of Bitcoin and announced that it would start taking Bitcoin as payments for its cars. In partnership with BlockFi, Visa released the first Bitcoin Rewards credit card and plans to offer additional cryptocurrency products in the future. Not to be outdone, Amazon announced they are in the early stages of developing their own cryptocurrency that consumers can use to purchase products and services on their platform. Technology is accelerating trends in all corners of the consumer experience.
This begs the question of how long before the online sample industry incorporates Bitcoin or some form of cryptocurrency exchange into its platforms. Could panelists or online survey takers be compensated in Bitcoin? Or could blockchain technology be used to create a more secure and relevant sample frame to ensure more accurate results? This technology is the future of sample.
How does blockchain technology correlate with online sample platforms? The most obvious answer is through data quality. Market research professionals use online sample platforms to deliver insights to their clients. This, in a nutshell, is how this business works. Online sample makes data collections faster and more efficient. However, before the onset of the pandemic, online sample platforms were fielding concerns about data integrity.
In fact, during the 2020 SampleCon Conference held in Atlanta pre-COVID, data quality was a chief concern among sample providers. As the pandemic spread, however, sample providers found themselves entrenched in requests for online sample as brands feverishly tried to keep their fingers on the pulse of a consumer base in crisis. Face-to-face focus groups and in-person surveys shifted online to help stop the spread, creating opportunities for online sample providers to deliver more sample. But the issues with data quality didn’t resolve themselves. They were just reprioritized. When it's safe to do so, in-person surveys and focus groups will resume, and it's likely the attention will return to resolving issues around data quality.
While some think that a marriage between sample and blockchain sounds far-fetched, let’s put this in perspective. Back in the mid-90s, when the Internet was in its infancy, the idea of buying goods and services online was inconceivable. Over time, as banks began offering online banking services, fintech companies like Paypal entered the market with secure tools to transact online payments, thus boosting consumer confidence. Today, there is mass adoption of online payments, and perhaps even a preference for it. Services have expanded to include digital wallets, like Samsung and Apple Pay, and more. Policies and procedures were put in place to protect the consumer, and we haven’t looked back.
And just as the concept of forgoing cash for digital currency seemed impossible in the early 90s, the idea of pairing sample with blockchain technology doesn’t sound feasible. But, this technology opens a world of opportunities for sample providers, from allowing people to monetize their data to improving the quality of consumer data. The flexibility and security afforded by blockchain technology are in the near future for the online sample industry.