Festy Wearable Readies For Launch

13 Jul 2017 | 04.21 pm

Festy Wearable Readies For Launch

Wristband lets users pay for purchases with Dash currency

13 Jul 2017 | 04.21 pm

It’s hard to think of something more zeitgeisty than a cryptocurrency wearable, which is exactly what Cork entrepreneur Graham de Barra is working on launching.

Called Festy, de Barra has developed a QR code and NFC-integrated wristband that allows wearers to pay for items such as food and drink using Dash, which he is partnering with for the initiative.

Dash is a cryptocurrency that works in similar fashion to Bitcoin, but with faster transaction speeds. Launched three years ago, Dash is one of the ten biggest cryptocurrencies in operation, with a market cap of $1.3bn.

Festy is linked directly to a consumer’s Dash account, so funds are not stored on the Festy platform and transactions. Merchants have the ability to cash out their Dash for the equivalent fiat currency. Festy wearers will also be able to top up their wristbands at branded ATMs or make simple transfers online.

De Barra, at 26, is already an experienced entrepreneur. He founded Bitcart in 2015, a startup that lets customers buy discounted Amazon gift cards with digital currency. Initially catering for Bitcoin, de Barra is now moving to Dash-only services.

De Barra also founded Help Not Harm with Paul Birch (Bebo co-founder) in 2015, which lobbies for changes in public and political perceptions of drug use. Other de Barra ventures include Opera Incubator, which held Cork’s first blockchain hackathon and conference earlier this year.

Partnering with Dash for Festy will result in a handy payment solution for everyday transactions, de Barra is claiming. “Unlike existing traditional bank payments that take a 2-5% fee, there is no cost on receiving Dash for merchants.

“Merchants accepting payments will never have a chargeback, and there are potentially enormous savings to be made compared to the crippling fees from existing payment solutions. We believe this is the payment processor of the future.”

“Merchants don’t have to specifically work in Dash. They have an existing NFC reader on their cash registry or their phone. Festy connects to their POS NFC device and allows them to start accepting Festy payments. These can be in Dash but they can also be in euro depending on the contract we have with the merchant.”

De Barra is initially targeting festival-goers with Festy. Daniel Diaz, VP of business development for Dash, said that Festy provides a simple way of normalising digital currency, particularly for millennials.

“This is a product my friends and I would use, because who wants to take their personal belongings to a bar or festival when you don’t have to? Merchants are going to love it too. Incredibly low fees, lower than a debit and credit cards, and by the time they scan the wearable chip, the money transfer has been executed and settled, with no risk of a double charge or fraud.”

According to de Barra, Festy’s multi-functional wristband is compatible with every point-of-sale system where Visa contactless is accepted, as well as on any mobile phone or computer with NFC tags and offline payments using QR codes. “This versatility is adaptable to any environment, including fields, beaches, camping sites as well as bars, restaurants and conferences,” he maintained.

The Festy prototype will be unveiled tomorrow at the Opera incubator in Cork, Ireland. Each attendee will receive a pre-filled wristband and invitation. The wearable will allow everyone to buy food and drinks by scanning their wristband.

De Barra said that the prototype will be ready for a full public rollout at the end of Q3.


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