On Monday (September 12), Starbucks, the largest coffeehouse chain in the world, introduced “Starbucks Odyssey”, which will give Starbucks Rewards members and Starbucks employees in the U.S. the chance to earn and buy NFTs that will “unlock access to new benefits and immersive coffee experiences.”

According to Starbucks’ press release, it is “one of the first companies to integrate non-fungible tokens (NFTs) with an industry-leading loyalty program at scale, while creating a digital community that will enable new ways for Starbucks to engage with its members and its partners.”

Starting today, Starbucks customers and employees/partners are able to join the waiting list for Starbucks Odyssey, which will launch later in the year.

Brady Brewer, Starbucks executive vice president and chief marketing officer, had this to say:

Starbucks has always served as the Third Place, a place between home and work where you feel the warmth of connection over coffee, community and belonging. The Starbucks Odyssey experience will extend the Third Place connection to the digital world. For the first time we are connecting our Starbucks Rewards loyalty program members not just to Starbucks, but to each other...

Leveraging Web3 technology will allow our members to access experiences and ownership that was not possible before. Starbucks Odyssey will transcend the foundational benefits that our Starbucks Rewards members have come to love, and unlock digital, physical and experiential benefits that are uniquely Starbucks.

By integrating into the Starbucks Rewards ecosystem and grounding the experience in coffee, connection and community, we are entering the Web3 space differently than any other brand, while deepening our members’ connection to Starbucks. Our vision is to create a place where our digital community can come together over coffee, engage in immersive experiences, and celebrate the heritage and future of Starbucks.

Starbucks Odyssey will be “an extension of the industry-leading Starbucks Rewards program that members can access using their Starbucks Rewards login credentials.” After logging in, members are able to “engage in Starbucks Odyssey ‘journeys,’ a series of activities, such as playing interactive games or taking on fun challenges to deepen their knowledge of coffee and Starbucks.” The reward for a completing journey is a digital collectable “journey stamp” (i.e. an NFT).

Members can “also purchase ‘limited-edition stamps’ (NFTs) through a built-in marketplace within the Starbucks Odyssey web app experience.” All members can buy these with a credit card.  No crypto wallet or cryptocurrency is needed, which makes the Starbucks Odyssey experience “a fun and easy way for members to access this new technology and claim an ownership stake in their loyalty to Starbucks.” 

The press release went on to say:

Each digital collectable stamp will include a point value based on its rarity, and the stamps can be bought or sold among members within the marketplace, with ownership secured on a blockchain. As stamps are collected, members’ points will increase, unlocking access to unique benefits and experiences that have never been offered before. These experiences could range from a virtual espresso martini-making class, to access to unique merchandise and artist collaborations, to invitations to exclusive events at Starbucks Reserve Roasteries or even trips to Starbucks Hacienda Alsacia coffee farm in Costa Rica.

All stamps will feature iconic Starbucks artwork co-created with Starbucks partners as well as outside artists – giving members and partners access to these treasured assets for the first time.  Additionally, a portion of the proceeds from the sale of limited-edition stamps will be donated to support causes that matter to Starbucks partners and Starbucks Rewards members.

Starbucks CMO Brady Brewer told TechCrunch that “while Starbucks had been investigating blockchain technologies for a couple of years, it has only been involved in this particular project for around six months.”

He also mentioned that although this program is based on NFTs, Starbucks is deliberately not making a big deal of its use of blockchain technology in order not to scare off non-technical people who do not know much about Web3:

It happens to be built on blockchain and web3 technologies, but the customer — to be honest — may very well not even know that what they’re doing is interacting with blockchain technology. It’s just the enabler.

The Polygon team published a blog post today, which announced that “Starbucks Coffee Company is working with Polygon to provide the blockchain technology to build its recently announced Web3 experience, Starbucks Odyssey.”

Ryan Butz, VP of loyalty, strategy and marketing for Starbucks, stated:

Building Starbucks Odyssey using technology that aligns with our sustainability aspirations and commitments is a top priority. 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.

And Sandeep Nailwal, Co-Founder of Polygon, said:

Polygon is a natural choice for Starbucks as both companies place tremendous importance on diversity, accessibility, and sustainability. As a leading infrastructure provider enabling people and technology to collaborate and exchange value globally and freely, Polygon provides the ideal launchpad for Starbucks’ entry into Web3.

Polygon Co-Founder Mihailo Bjelic tweeted:

Finally, here is Johnathan Wu, Head of Growth at Aztec Network, explaining why this announcement is such “a huge deal”:

Image Credit

Featured Image via Pixabay