07. April 2023., 12:10 / Author: Nearian

NEAR Balkans x Mastercard

NEAR Balkans x Mastercard A game-changing partnership

We are proud to announce a major strategic partnership for the NEAR ecosystem. NEAR Balkans has joined forces with Mastercard, a leader in global payment systems, to bring Web3 solutions and user engagement closer to a wide audience of FinTech professionals.

How did this partnership come about?

The city of Zagreb, Croatia, recently hosted the first edition of an exclusive FinTech conference Money Motion, with Mastercard being one of the conference organisers. The NEAR Balkans Hub was one of the sponsors behind Money Motion. This presented the perfect collaboration opportunity with Mastercard.

In the wake of the upcoming conference at the time, the NEAR Balkans Hub’s Product lab was ready to launch Tekuno — a blockchain as a service (BaaS) platform for NFT experiences.

Tekuno is a user-friendly product for seamless onboarding of mass audiences to Web3. The blockchain technology in the background is an engine that powers the platform and blockchain knowledge becomes a preference, rather than a necessity.

With this technology in-house, the NEAR Balkans team came up with a concept to provide an upgraded experience to all Money Motion conference attendees.

Mastercard recognized this opportunity for strengthening their brand visibility at the conference, as well as to step into the regional web3 space. So, together with the Money Motion core organisation team, we created an engaging campaign called ‘’Experience the Motion’’.

Experience the Motion

The Tekuno platform has many use-cases and customizable features to create various campaigns and experiences. Just to name a few, it can be used for loyalty programs, marketing activations and events, CRM, HR initiatives, and many more.

Tekuno enables the creation of secure and transparent Proof-of-Doings (PODs) through digital collectibles (NFTs) to attest and reward a wide range of activities. This time, it was used as proof-of-attendance.

The NFT activation named “Experience the Motion”, allowed attendees to prove their attendance at the conference by collecting in total 5 different NFTs — PODs. These PODs were exclusive, dedicated only to the attendees, and could be claimed at specific times during the conference.

The PODs acted as a gateway for a prize raffle entered by following certain rules, competing for exciting prizes: The rewards included exclusive Mastercard merchandise, a special 1–2–1 session with Christian Rau, Senior Vice President Crypto, and Fintech Enablement Mastercard Europe, an invitation to a Web3 NEAR educational workshop, VIP access tickets for conference party and the grand prize — a Mastercard Priceless.com experience at Chiavalon, Istria — an olive oil making and tasting experience for two.

Attendees were able to claim their PODs by simply scanning the QR codes on several predefined locations during the conference such as the entrance, speakers presentations and panels, and the NEAR Balkans expo booth.

Campaign results and reception

The campaign reached more than 14.000 people on social media and was available for over 1.000 attendees over two conference days. The user-friendly technology made it possible to distribute more than 500 PODs to more than 200 unique collectors.

The feedback from the attendees regarding the NFT experience, the amazing rewards made possible by Mastercard, and using the Tekuno app itself was overwhelmingly positive. The participants found the platform so familiar and simple to use, that no help was requested to set up an account or claim the first POD. Users easily navigated the platform, followed the campaign’s fun challenges, and collected their PODs, all for a chance to win exciting prizes. The easy account opening and navigation were particularly notable, both for attendees with previous experiences with Web3 platforms, and users with little to no previous experience with blockchain technology.

Vlaho Hrdalo, Lawyer and Chairman of UBIK — Croatian Association for Blockchain and Cryptocurrency shared with us his positive thoughts about Tekuno:

“This is the most seamless experience I have ever had with a web3 app, and I’ve experimented with many, trust me.”

Also, Nikola Škorić, the CEO of Electrocoin, Gold sponsor of the conference, favoured the campaign and the authentic way of engagement:

‘’Experience the Motion — the NFT activation made possible by Mastercard, and organised by NEAR Balkans and Tekuno for the Money Motion conference, engaged our audience in an authentic and fun way that brought extra value to the conference while rewarding the luckiest ones. We’re happy that Money Motion is a place of technology adoption and that brands see us as a great partner for such activities.’’

Many other attendees, professionals from fintech and beyond, including regional bank representatives, retail marketing leads, educational institutions, and event organisers, were very interested in the platform and its various use-cases. It played with their imagination as they immediately recognized the potential for their own projects and campaigns, which resulted in numerous follow-ups.

What does it mean for Mastercard and the NEAR ecosystem?

The campaign “Experience the Motion” was the first of its kind in the region and acted as a revolutionary activation that changed the way the attendees perceive and understand the NFT technology, all made possible by Mastercard. It offered an engaging NFT quest, valuable rewards, and a user-friendly experience through Tekuno, making the blockchain technology an engine that runs under the beautiful interface of the platform. The success of the campaign demonstrates the potential of Tekuno in the field of event organisation and beyond, opening endless opportunities.

Gea Kariž, Marketing Director at Mastercard Croatia, shared her insights on the successful collaboration between Mastercard, Money Motion, Tekuno, and NEAR Balkans:

‘’Our collaboration with the Tekuno and NEAR Balkans teams provided Mastercard HR with a seamless and exceptional entrance into the Web3 domain.

Through this activation, we not only gained significant brand visibility but also reinforced our commitment to embracing blockchain and other cutting-edge technologies.

The added value of this campaign was the deep engagement we experienced with our end-users, fostering a strong sense of community around our brand and further solidifying our position as a forward-thinking and innovative company.”

The NEAR Balkans team is still under the impression of the positive energy and feedback from the Money Motion conference. It was a significant milestone for Mastercard Croatia to venture into the world of NFT experiences, and we are honoured to have been part of it.

It is crucial to emphasise the significance of partnerships like these for the NEAR ecosystem. Collaborating with established and influential global brands like Mastercard not only boosts NEAR’s credibility, but also opens up opportunities for further use-cases and partner campaigns. With solutions like Tekuno that provide seamless onboarding and NEAR wallet opening, when brought to scale, we can unlock tens of thousands of NEAR accounts, all leading to the North Star metric.

The NEAR Balkans General Manager, Ida Pandur, expressed the importance of this type of partnerships and this type of Web3 products for the NEAR ecosystem:

‘’We at NEAR Balkans are committed to help and enable mass adoption of web3 and decentralisation into everyday lives. The way we do it is by educating, enabling and partnering with innovative organisations to bring web3 to users in simple, value added, use cases. We are happy to have been working with Mastercard and use Tekuno, which is one of the best Web2→Web3 tools UX wise to bring it to life at MoneyMotion and from the interest we see across the region, it’s just getting started.’’

Also, the CEO of Tekuno, Sally Meouche-Grawi, gave her point of view on the bigger picture from a product perspective:

‘’I mean, within the ecosystem, and the blockchain system also, it’s quite straightforward. We’re trying to make it as user-friendly as possible, but it’s still realistically a Web3 product, but it’s a Web3 product that is easy to use. And this is what a lot of these products are critically lacking, which is the easy onboarding experience.

So we are trying to set the standard, let’s say it this way, to show that we can create a Web3 product that any average user can actually use as well. Because from my experience when it comes to Web3 products they are usually developed by developers for developers, this is the trend and we are trying to break it.’’

We are excited about the possibility of future collaborations with Mastercard, but also other partnerships that are unrevealing as we speak, to expand the reach and impact of benefits brought by blockchain technology. The doors are open, and we are ready to continue driving NEAR forward.

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