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Why Is Starbucks Venturing Into NFTs?

Author: Jeffrey Craig Date: October 28, 2022

Starbucks is no stranger to cryptocurrencies and their surrounding ecosystem. Customers using Bakkt, in collaboration with the Starbucks app, can use cryptocurrencies like Bitcoin in order to purchase Starbucks products. Now, though, Starbucks is taking a further step into the crypto ecosystem. In particular, Starbucks is entering the NFT/Web3 space with its “Starbucks Odyssey” program.

However, the program has yet to be launched, and only back in September did Starbucks open the opportunity to join a waitlist in order to be among the first to experience Starbucks Odyssey.

What Is The Starbucks Odyssey Program?

Starbucks Odyssey NFT Program

Starbucks Odyssey is an extension of the store’s preexisting reward/loyalty program. According to Starbucks, the program (only in the United States) will offer the “opportunity to earn and purchase digital collectible assets that will unlock access to new benefits and immersive coffee experiences.”

However, what exactly does Starbucks mean by being able to “access new benefits and immersive coffee experiences?” The general idea is that Starbucks Odyssey provides members with specific “journeys” or series of activities that will deepen their knowledge of coffee and Starbucks.

As a result of completing these journeys or activities, members will be awarded “journey stamps” in the form of NFTs. Furthermore, along with these journey stamps, Starbucks will also create limited-edition stamps (NFTs). In total, Starbucks explains on its website that all NFTs offered through their Odyssey program/marketplace will include a point value based on rarity and that they all can be either bought or sold amongst members within Odyssey (with ownership secured on a blockchain).

How NFTs Can Revolutionize & Mix With Loyalty Programs & Memberships?

The Starbucks Mobile Order attached to the Starbucks app allows users to enhance their customer experience by allowing them to know when their order is ready, customize orders, increase store efficiency

Does Starbucks Have A Blockchain?

Starbucks Polygon Blockchain

Starbucks has decided to partner with Polygon to build its blockchain. This decision was made because Polygon “uses less energy than first generations ‘proof-of-work’ blockchains.” After all, environmental sustainability is an important mission for Starbucks, and the company is determined to minimize its energy footprint in whatever form – water usage, waste, heat, and so on.

Has Starbucks Created Any NFTs Yet?

Starbucks has not yet released or created any NFTs. This is understandable as the Starbucks Odyssey program is planning to open towards the end of the year. Nevertheless, the company has declared its intention to create Starbucks-focused NFTs art, similar to that which exists on its current products.

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Why Is Starbucks Creating The “Starbucks Odyssey” Experience?

There is without a doubt a profit motive as the NFT market is projected to become a billion-dollar industry. Moreover, by adopting NFTs into the company, Starbucks is also capturing the attention of younger generations, further solidifying Starbucks’ position in the future. But these are the obvious reasons. On its website, in fact, Starbucks explains that there is another reason why they are entering the NFT/Web3 domain.

Starbucks Digitization Web3 Strategy

One of the primary reasons why Starbucks has created its Odyssey experience deals with the idea of a “third place.” A third place is a concept commonly found in sociology and urbanism. A third place is any place – coffee shop, bar, church, gym – that is not the home or workplace, where a person can socialize and relax. Of course, a famous example of such a location is a coffee shop.

The reason why Starbucks connects itself to the idea of a third place in the context of entering into the NFT/Web3 space is that it wants to create a digital third place. The internet, after all, is already a main avenue of socialization. And with continuing technological advances such as NFTs, blockchains, and metaverses, it’s not too hard to imagine a digital third place. Thus, Starbucks is beginning its venture into creating a unique Starbucks-centered digital third place.

Conclusion

Reading through many of the articles on Starbucks’ website, it’s quickly noticed that Starbucks often describes itself as a champion of technological adaptation, typically ahead of the competition. And in the case of NFTs, it certainly is ahead of the curve. Thus, it’s exciting to see exactly where Starbucks takes its NFT presence, and how such things will impact the experience between customers and the company. Perhaps it will, indeed, open new experiences.


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