Starbucks launches NFT-powered rewards, leveraging loyal sippers to enter web3

Tuesday, September 13, 2022 by Robinhood Snacks |

Enter the Mocha-verse… Cold brew’s coming to the blockchain. Yesterday Starbucks introduced a loyalty program powered by non-fungible tokens called “Starbucks Odyssey.” Odyssey will be powered by Polygon, a proof-of-stake "sidechain" that aims to make ethereum transactions cheaper and faster. Polygon’s native token, matic, jumped 5% on the Starbs news.

  • A journey: Odyssey will extend Starbs’ popular rewards program, enabling latte lovers to earn NFTs (called “stamps”) by completing “journeys.” Think: java-inspired games.
  • Peppier perks: Users can redeem stamps for exclusive experiences like virtual espresso-martini-making classes and trips to Costa Rican coffee farms.
  • Brewing up community: Odyssey users can also buy and sell limited-edition stamps.

Spill the NFTea… Last year NFT sales boomed with high crypto prices. But since then the NFT industry has struggled:

  • Trading volume on top NFT marketplace OpenSea has plunged 99% from its May peak. An NFT of Twitter founder Jack Dorsey’s first-ever tweet recently got a top bid of $280 (not a typo) — after selling for $2.9M last year.
  • Getting practical: As sales have slumped, some companies have rolled out “practical” NFT applications: Ticketmaster uses them to verify tickets and prevent resale scams, and eBay’s embraced them to authenticate its goods.

Loyal customers make it easier to innovate… After Starbucks combined its existing payment system with new mobile-ordering tech in 2015, loyal latte-sippers happily adopted the tech to earn rewards — and made Starbucks the top mobile payment platform (it’s now second to Apple Pay, with 31M users). Starbs could become a top player in web3's tokenized future, if customers embrace its new NFT features.