Virtual Currency Provider Enters Beta Phase 

Jan. 3, 2013

Kurrenci, a New York City-based startup enabling consumers to shop online with virtual currency, is moving into its beta phase, Mosheh Poltorak, the company’s vice president of marketing and business development, told Consumers can buy units of Kurrenci for $1 each using a variety of methods. Users can fund their Kurrenci account using a credit or debit card at the company’s Website or cash at any MoneyGram location in the U.S.

“It’s not fake gold on a fake farm,” said Poltorak. “It’s money for the Internet. You can buy it, earn it or exchange for it. Once you have it you can use it to shop, gift, game, donate. Eventually all the ways you use money in the real world will translate on line through Kurrenci.”

Kurrenci does not charge merchants any transaction fees to accept the virtual cash. What they do charge merchants for is the value of customer acquisition and customer retention delivered through Kurrenci. The company’s combined payment and marketing platform allows each individual merchant to set the rate of exchange in real time.

“When you get it, a Kurrenci is 1-to-1 with a dollar,” Poltorak explained. “Depending on where you use it, each store has a different exchange rate with a minimum of $1. If I’m an e-commerce merchant who wants to increase traffic at my store immediately, I can say, ‘today Kurrenci is worth $1.10 at my store.’ It’s a real-time platform they can immediately use to increase customer acquisition through value.”

Merchants can manipulate the exchange rate to give customers what amounts to an immediate discount. Kurrenci account holders can go to the company’s Website to see what the exchange rate is for different merchants and how they have changed. Kurrenci also will publicize deals through social media and other partners.

Poltorak said 50 merchants are signed up for the beta test, comprising mostly small and midsize merchants (the largest is American Apparel). Kurrenci is a licensed money transmitter so every unit of Kurrenci in circulation is backed by $1 in an FDIC-insured account.