How Starbucks May Actually Get People to Care About NFTs

Launching later this year, Starbucks Odyssey is basically a loyalty program with some semi-hidden Web3 technology

September 13, 2022 2:23 pm
A photo illustration of a Starbucks logo seen displayed on a smartphone screen. Starbucks is introducing a web3-based loyalty program called Odyssey.
Will Starbucks make NFTs useful?
Nikolas Kokovlis/NurPhoto via Getty

The hype over non-fungible tokens has dissipated quickly, but coffee giant Starbucks may actually breathe some digital life into NFTs, thanks to the introduction of their new Web3 venture Starbucks Odyssey, now available for a waitlist sign-up.

Per TechCrunch, Odyssey will allow customers to “earn and purchase digital assets that unlock exclusive experiences and rewards.” And tying all these nebulous Web3 concepts (blockchain, NFTs, etc.) into the existing and popular Starbucks Rewards programs might make all the difference.

On Odyssey, customers can take “journeys,” which is a fancy way of saying they can engage in games, challenges and trivia. More journeys completed equals more digital collectibles in the form of NFTs, which you’ll also be able to buy or trade.

Customers themselves may not actually know that anything they’re doing with Odyssey is Web3-based. There’s no crypto (everything is done via credit cards). You’ll sign in just as you would into your Rewards profile. Even the NFTs available here will be under a different name (“journey stamps”).

“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,” Starbucks CMO Brady Brewer told TechCrunch.

The key here is that these stamps will be tied into actual experiences, including virtual classes, trips and merchandise. At the very least, the company is offering something tangible that goes beyond digital art. As TechCrunch points out, Starbucks has a good history of introducing new technology, from wifi in its stores to digital wallets and mobile ordering (and getting people to care about collectibles, like their annual holiday cups). And by keeping the barriers to entry extremely low — about the same as opening a Starbucks Rewards membership — they may help make NFTs a mainstream endeavor.


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