Goodcoin – Robust Privacy for Loyalty Programmes and Payment Systems

Goodcoin is a three-year research project – throughout this time a data protection-friendly bonus point and customer loyalty system will be developed. The lead partner of the project is the Humboldt University of Berlin; accompanying research is carried out in cooperation with the Humboldt Institute for Internet and Society as well as with Bonsum UG.

Dissolving conflicting interests through new technology

Bonus and loyalty point systems are often used to analyse the purchasing behavior and to create comprehensive profiles of customer interests. This data helps retailers to provide personalized offers and to approach potential customers. In order to reconcile the customers interests of informational self-determination with the objectives of retailers, this research project aims at a data protection-friendly design of the Goodcoin system.

Customers will remain anonymous during digital shopping, which prevents the creation of consumer profiles by online retailers. Nevertheless, the system is able to statistically evaluate the consumption behavior in order to determine new market trends and to align retailers’ supply structures at an early stage. The project also explores possibilities for implementing data protection-friendly product recommendation systems. If requested, customers can also receive digital advice on products. The concepts in development are based on innovative encryption and anonymisation procedures. When paying online, customers should be able to use anonymous, digital value units, the GoodCoins. The GoodCoins serve as digital coins and represent bonus points for purchases made at the same time.

The private-sphere-friendly realisation of an everyday bonus and customer loyalty system makes a decisive contribution to the technically supported reconciliation of competing rationalities. Innovation serves as a means of resolving governance conflicts.

| Duration: 01/2016 – 12/2018

| Funding: The project Goodcoin ist Teil des BMBF-Verbundprojektes Datenschutz: selbstbestimmt in der digitalen Welt.


Julian Hölzel

Associate Researcher: Data, actors, infrastructures

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