Starbucks Wants to Make NFT Traders Out of Coffee Drinkers

Members of the Starbucks Odyssey program can earn and buy NFTs to access exclusive merch and events


Source: Shutterstock


key takeaways

  • Starbucks had first hinted at developing Web3 experiences in May
  • While built on Polygon, Nifty Gateway will provide NFT marketplace functionality

Just as Greek hero Odysseus proves devotion to his wife in Homer’s epic poem The Odyssey, so too is Starbucks embarking on its own quest to test Web3’s power over brand loyalty.

The coffeehouse giant on Monday announced a partnership with Ethereum scaling platform Polygon, along with the creation of a new rewards program, Starbucks Odyssey.

As an extension of Starbucks’ existing Rewards program, the scheme will enable users to earn and purchase digital collectible assets — NFTs — that will unlock certain benefits and “immersive coffee experiences,” according to the company. 

US-based Starbucks rewards members and employees, who the chain refers to as “partners,” can play games and complete challenges that test their knowledge of coffee and the Starbucks brand. 

The reward? NFTs, or as the company calls them: “journey stamps.”

Members can also purchase NFTs with either crypto or a credit card and trade them in a custom Starbucks Odyssey marketplace. No crypto wallet or cryptocurrency will be required.

As NFTs are collected, members’ points will increase. As more points are acquired, the better the rewards to choose from. 

Some potential experiences could include a virtual espresso martini-making class, invitations to events at Starbucks Reserve Roasteries or even trips to Starbucks Hacienda Alsacia coffee farm in Costa Rica.

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The Starbucks Odyssey web app was built on Polygon’s proof-of-stake sidechain and intends to enable near-zero gas fees and high transaction speeds. Although, increased throughput has come in exchange for a degree of decentralization when compared to the Ethereum mainnet.

Ethereum co-founder Vitalik Buterin previously voiced caution about the centralized supply of Polygon’s MATIC token and its potential impact on consensus and overall security. (Polygon is separately working on a zero-knowledge rollup implementation that could mitigate some of those concerns, while any future Starbucks activity is likely to be secure regardless.)

In any case, Polygon’s native token MATIC responded with a meager 3% boost to Starbucks’ announcement, peaking at $0.93 at the time of writing — more than 160% above yearly lows recorded in June but still 69% below record highs posted in December.

Nifty Gateway, the Gemini-owned NFT art marketplace, will provide secure NFT storage and marketplace functionality to the Starbucks Odyssey experience, Nifty told Blockworks. 

A portion of the proceeds from the NFT sales will be donated to charity. The waitlist for the Starbucks Odyssey is live now, with the program slotted to launch later this year.

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