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Brief Published: 8 Nov 2018

Cryptocurrencies Enter the Beauty Market

Opu Labs

Beauty tech companies are starting to bring blockchain-driven benefits to consumers – exchanging virtual currencies for a range of services and products.

US skincare start-up Opu Labs is a facial technology platform powered by artificial intelligence (AI). Its aim is to connect beauty consumers with dermatologists across the country, and provide brands with feedback on products.

The app bridges skincare, AI and blockchain in one ecosystem by rewarding users with its own cryptocurrency, called OpuCoin. It asks them to submit a selfie, which is analysed by skincare experts for imperfections such as wrinkles and hyperpigmentation. In exchange for uploading an image or linking up their account to social media, users are rewarded with OpuCoin that can be used to buy more advice.

In addition, partner companies will also gain valuable information from the app by having access to Opu Labs’ client data for research purposes. It provides an opportunity for brands to test new product ranges on different consumer groups, and determine key issues throughout the development process.

Opu Labs provides easy access to solutions-driven expertise, allowing individuals to discuss their skincare concerns with an expert at a lower price point. This strategy also motivates users to collect the brand’s own virtual currency – acting as a new type of reward scheme.

The app jumps on the growing global interest in cryptocurrencies – the market is currently valued at $20tn (CNN, 2018). In an interview with fashion and beauty business site Glossy, Richard Reed, chief operating officer of Opu Labs, said: “I think in a not-too-distant future, everyone will have the equivalent of a PayPal account with different cryptocurrencies – you will have all these different loyalty programmes and points from different brands.”

Stylus’ senior Beauty editor Lisa Payne thinks this venture showcases a really interesting value exchange proposition that more beauty start-ups should consider in the future. “As consumers become more knowledgeable of and comfortable with data share, beauty brands are given the opportunity to explore more innovative digital exchanges,” she explained.

For more on new blockchain applications and the broader appeal of cryptocurrencies, see Remixed Realities: The Next Web 2018 and Blockchain Expo London 2018.