Miller Lite jumped on the blockchain train last month, using the technology for its trivia game, made possible through a collaboration with startup Vatom Labs. The cell phone-based game rewards of-age customers at certain alcohol vending establishments for answering a number of trivia questions correctly. At face value, the effort reads like a simple marketing play. Under the hood, however, the game uses blockchain and a crypto token in an interesting fashion, employing the technology and asset to help verify participants and pay out winners of the game.

One the surface, the campaign is simply another playful way of gaining customer attention. “In order to reach drinkers in the on-premise in a new and innovative way, Miller Lite and Vatom Labs partnered together to create Great Taste Trivia, a 12-question trivia game served to the mobile phones of legal-age drinkers in bars and restaurants across the country,” Miller Lite associate marketing manager Lucy Bloxam said to me via email. “If a player answers all 12 questions correctly, they received a prize of $5 that can be used toward a Miller Lite,” she added.

Miller Lite’s trivia game is a recent part of its “Know-Your-Beer” endeavor, “an educational program that Miller Lite has been running in on-premise accounts for the past two years,” Bloxam noted. The trivia game is available until September 30, 2019, according to Bloxam. Regarding the project’s success thus far, as well as future plans, she added, “We’re still testing, and will evaluate future plans once the test ends, but early results are strong.”

The Meat Of The Game’s Inner-Workings: An Overview

Blockchain technology is the underlying magic to Miller Lite’s trivia game. “Having designed the experience with the need to authenticate and immediately reward players that complete the trivia game, Vatom Labs utilized its proprietary self-serve creative platform that leverages the blockchain at its core,” Vatom Labs said in an August 21, 2019 press release posted on PR Newswire. “By using SmartMedia [O]bjects, Vatom Labs is able to track activations, engagements and attribute the reward based on those outcomes and to the channel where the user was originally acquired.”

The game utilizes a type of “non-fungible tokens” (NFTs), referred to as “SmartMedia Objects,” to give “a robust experience including a game, social badges, rewards for virality, and ultimately to ensure that the $5 rebate coin the user receives upon winning the game cannot be counterfeited,” the press release explained. The operation works in conjunction with PayPal in order to redeem the token for usable value, the release noted.

Fungibility is a commonly referenced concept in the crypto space. A non-fungible token is not “interchangeable,” as each token is not technically seen as the same, according to an article from The Block. This differs from the easily-exchanged cryptocurrency bitcoin.

A Deeper Look At Blockchain’s Work In The Game

In general, “SmartMedia Objects (SMO) are formatted as NFTs,” and are, at present, capable of running on Ethereum and EOS public blockchains, Vatom Labs cofounder and CEO Tyler Moebius told me in an August 29 email. Miller Lite, however, is going about the situation differently. “Their SMOs are hosted on a sidechain called BlockV,” opening the door for increased “transaction speeds at a lower cost,” Moebius said. BlockV is a private side chain, he added. Other companies that wish to work with Vatom Labs for varying endeavors have the option to use a public or private blockchain, based on their goals, the CEO noted.

Using its “SmartMedia Object platform,” Vatom also has the capability to create similar programs for other companies.

Moebius explained,

“The SmartMedia Object is a[n] NFT that can be acquired, shared, dropped/picked up on a map, redeemed for cash. These are attributes unique to a SmartMedia Object hosted on the BlockV chain. Each SMO can be programmed and designed as its own NFT and its own experience. In the case of Miller Lite, it is a game and a $5 cash rebate object. Both of these are unique to Miller Lite and only they will use these assets, but the underlying capabilities of the SMO can be used to design a unique activation depending on the brand’s goals and objectives.”