Starbucks – the world-renowned coffee house chain – is taking its first steps into the world of web 3.
In partnership with Polygon, the company is building a blockchain-based loyalty program called Starbucks Odyssey, allowing members to purchase non-fungible tokens (NFTs) representing digital collectible stamps.
Starbucks to Integrate NFTs
As announced by Starbucks on Monday, the new program will be available to members of the existing Starbucks Rewards loyalty program, and all Starbucks employees in the United States.
The program gives members access to a variety of new experiences, including merchandise, artist collaborations, and exclusive events. It will also offer interactive games that challenge participants’ knowledge about Starbucks and coffee while rewarding them with NFTs.
NFTs are unique blockchain tokens that can be used to represent real-life assets or serve as collectibles in their own right. While formerly serving merely as speculative images on the internet, NFTs are increasingly providing holders with tangible/ intangible features and benefits.
Each of Starbucks’ NFT stamps will include a point value representing their rarity and can be bought/sold by members within a specialized marketplace. Each comes with artwork created by both Starbucks partners and outside parties.
As the company explained, no cryptocurrency will be needed to purchase the NFTs – only a credit card. Some of the proceeds from the NFT sale will be donated to special causes chosen by Starbucks Rewards members.
Customers can join the waitlist for Starbucks Odyssey starting on Monday.
In its announcement, Starbucks noted that it deliberately chose to use Polygon due to its alignment with the company’s sustainability commitments. Polygon uses a proof-of-stake consensus mechanism, which uses vastly less energy than first-generation blockchains like Bitcoin and Ethereum.
“We took a very thoughtful and thorough approach when evaluating which blockchain to utilize and Polygon’s fast, low-cost, and carbon-neutral network is the perfect foundation for our first digital community,” said Ryan Butz – VP of loyalty, strategy, and marketing at Starbucks.
Polygon co-founder Sandeep Nailwal added that Polygon is a “natural choice” for Starbucks, given both groups’ focus on “diversity, accessibility, and sustainability.”
Ethereum – currently the most active blockchain ecosystem – has used proof of work since inception, but is set to transition to proof of stake later this week. Bitcoin has no plans for such a transition, which some industry leaders think can hurt its userbase and regulatory status.