A new payment method for college campuses is leveraging the design elements of popular social networking sites to create a user-friendly payment experience for students. CampusCoin is an online marketplace that uses virtual currency, and according to the company’s co-founder, the solution is a blend of Pinterest, Craigslist and Free and For Sale.
Combining Pinterest’s layout, Craigslist-style listings and the community-centered marketplace of Free and For Sale, CampusCoin enables users to post and sell goods and services. Users can then purchase anything from concert tickets to tips and advice from older students, using a virtual currency called CampusCoins.
According to The Daily Californian, the marketplace launched about two weeks ago and reflects a larger trend – the movement away from cash transactions toward those of digital currency. The solution has already been deployed on the Univeristy of California at Berkeley campus.
Users of CampusCoin sign up for the service with their UC Berkeley email and are awarded 10 coins – with every one CampusCoin holding a value equivalent to one dollar – to spend in the online market. After joining CampusCoin, students can continue to earn coins by offering an item or service to the community or by inviting other friends to the site.
Once the market has a critical mass of buyers, sellers and items, new CampusCoins will be issued for additional actions such as joining the CampusCoin Facebook group. There are currently 332 users registered for the marketplace at UC Berkeley.
CampusCoin is the first community-specific digital currency to hit campus, but other digital payment systems, such as Bitcoin and Venmo, have made significant strides with the college students. When it comes to the more popular Bitcoin, however, some believe that CampusCoin could act as a compliment rather than an outright alternative.
Max Wilson, president of the Bitcoin Association of Berkeley, notes that CampusCoin and Bitcoin are different, but that the systems could build upon each other as more students move away from the use of hard cash. The Bitcoin Association of Berkeley aims to bring a Bitcoin ATM unit to campus in the near future to enable students to trade cash for the digital currency.