Affiliate marketing platform RefToken has launched a cryptocurrency for its affiliate network to enhance payments between merchants and publishers while providing an incentive for them to use their affiliate marketing platform.

Known as ‘Ref Tokens’, the currency provides an alternative tool for publishers and merchants during the buying process, utilising relevant information produced by the platform’s integration of blockchain technology.

Launching the currency, RefToken commented that the platform will seek to “remove the bloated middleman process that existing in the industry” while allowing both parties involved to be confidently receive data from each other, ensuring accuracy and accessibility for honest payments and transactions.

Alternative solution?

Ref Tokens has been positioned as an alternative solution for publishers to make money from content such as ads and video spots which draw attention to merchant products, allowing them to appeal more to targeted audiences. In exchange, publishers receive payment for every new customer that they bring in for merchants.

Through the affiliate platform, merchants are required to buy tokens prior to running an affiliate campaign. This is then held in escrow by the smart contract governing the deal, guaranteeing the platform to put up the money ready for the publishers which will be transferred once the contract is fulfilled.

The platform will pause the contract between the two parties if either runs low on tokens, and will reopen once they buy more to continue.

For publishers, RefToken said the currency will be give them an “added incentive” where tokens can be traded for other currencies on the open market. With the amount of tokens bought at a given time limited, each one is said to be worth more if there is more demand to use it as more brands who chose to use the platform will competing for high bids. This can help publishers boost their work as well as the value of their earnings.

Practical problems

While the Ref Tokens concept looks great, there have been a number of practical problems so far. Firstly, if the information received between publishers and merchants are mismatched, then this could compromise their work in promoting targeted products. Secondly, if both parties have poor track records, this could also lead to ineffective affiliate marketing campaigns.

Lastly, where intermediaries are used to legally investigate track records and contractual obligations, the use of Ref Tokens eliminates this from the affiliate marketing process, instead relying on blockchain technology to collect and store information about each party on its network, giving them full control with no modifications.

However, the common ground for publishers and merchants looking to use the digital platform is the use of automation, allowing the platform itself to automatically detect conversions and deliver payments on time to the right part, freeing up more time to focus on other strategies.