** For Tuesday – Mobile/Digital Payment with @Stiiiiiiiiina of @TheLevelUp

Every quarter I get more and more interested in how payment works on the web, but more importantly, how it works through mobile devices. Again, like we talked about Thursday, these devices are “always near and always dear”. If they’ve already become our cameras, our calendars, and our computers it makes sense that they would become our change purses as well (probably tried a little too hard to keep the alliterative “c” going there, c’est la vie.)

The big three mobile payment apps have been historically (as in the last couple of years) Google Wallet, the LevelUp and Square. Here’s a side-by-side comparison of them from my hometown paper, the Boston Globe.

The Smartphone as a Spending Tool

Also from Boston is a start-up with some heavy hitting financial backing, LevelUp. Here’s a short video about how it works for merchants:

Inside LevelUp – Powering Mobile Payments (Video)

Here’s a press release from this week announcing their ability to turn any website or app into a place for e-commerce transaction.

LevelUp Launches Connected Apps

The interesting thing, from my perspective about how the LevelUp works is that it combines payment with a loyalty program, kind of like my favorite app from Starbucks. How’re they doing?

SBUX touts mobile adoption

As I mentioned before, another big player in mobile payment is Square founded by Jack Dorsey, one of the creators of this thing called “Twitter”. (Read the article, and watch the video.)


I think I mentioned this article before but there was a recent, lengthy profile of Dorsey in the “New Yorker”, that is definitely worth reading. Here is a link:

Jack Dorsey profile from The New Yorker

I think an interesting thing to consider is how would the experience of creating Twitter help in the development of a mobile payment solution?

Finally, I’d like you to consider bitcoin, a “virtual currency”, which apparently the Winklevii have some connection to (seriously). What is it?

Bitcoin may be the global economy’s last safe haven – Businessweek

Bitcoin Virtual Currency Hitting the Mainstream – CBC

This week the world’s first bitcoin ATM was unveiled up the road in Vancouver.

World’s First Bitcoin ATM

What do you think the future has in store for bitcoin? Are we all going to be paid in bitcoins soon? Why does it make sense that one of the first non-virtual businesses to accept bitcoins is a yoga studio in Vancouver? Much to ponder.

During the second half of class, we’re going to do a videochat from Boston with Christina Fagan, another former student of mine from Skidmore who has worked for the LevelUp for the last year to get an insider’s take on the world of mobile payment.

Have a great weekend!


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