One of the world’s most successful retailers, Alibaba, has unexpectedly entered the world of crypto, partnering with bitcoin rewards app Lolli.
Alibaba—a China-based retailer who counts multinational behemoth Amazon among its closest rivals—has entered into a partnership allowing customers to earn 5 percent in bitcoin for every purchase.
The company announced the partnership yesterday—China’s “Singles Day,” or Guanggun Jie, a popular shopping holiday celebrated by young Chinese people. The “holiday” is regarded as the largest online-shopping day in the world, and yesterday registered a record $38 billion in sales across Alibaba’s platforms.
Nevertheless, Chinese citizens are excluded from the Alibaba-Lolli, bitcoin-stacking promo. According to CoinDesk, only residents of the United States will be able to participate. Aubrey Strobel, Lolli’s head of communications, noted that the initial announcement was specifically aimed at Chinese-Americans and travelers who partook in Singles Day.
CEO and co-founder at Lolli, Alex Adelman, highlighted the importance of this partnership, both for the company, and the further adoption of bitcoin in a blog post:
“Our partnership allows our users to earn free bitcoin on millions of products online every day. Arguably the most important piece of this partnership is that it supports our mission of connecting the entire world through commerce.”
Alibaba’s Bitcoin u-turn
The deal represents a colossal 180-turn for the Chinese e-commerce giant. The company took a stern stance on bitcoin payments last month following a clash between crypto exchange Binance and Alibaba’s subsidiary payment company, Alipay.
The clamor started after Binance’s head honcho, Changpeng “CZ” Zhao, jubilantly shared on Twitter that Alipay could be used on the exchange’s new fiat on-ramp. In direct response, Alipay offered a sassy clap back, replying: “NO, you cannot.”
This was swiftly followed up with a tweet from the payments firm, noting that any and all crypto payments would be “immediately” stopped.
But with this newly softened stance on Bitcoin, is it possible that we’ll see more crypto initiatives from Alibaba? And if so, how long until Amazon jumps on the bandwagon?