Starbucks launches an NFT marketplace

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Diving Brief:

  • Starbucks is launching an NFT marketplace called Starbucks Odysseywhich will be integrated into the company’s loyalty program, he announced on Monday.
  • Customers will have two paths to earn Starbucks NFTs: they can collect digital stamps by completing in-app tasks like quizzes, or they can purchase limited-edition tokens directly through the app via a credit card .
  • Starbucks NFTs will “unlock access to new benefits and immersive coffee experiences,” according to the press release.

Overview of the dive:

Starbucks claims to be one of the first chains to tie NFT offerings to its core business, but several large restaurant companies are embarking on Web3 activations in an effort to grow digital touchpoints and attract customers across the generation Z.

Starting Monday, Starbucks customers and employees can join a waitlist to access Starbucks Odyssey, which goes live later this year. The platform will host virtual “journeys” or interactive games and challenges that will allow users to “deepen their knowledge about coffee and Starbucks.”

“Members will be rewarded for taking trips with a collection ‘voyage stamp’ (NFT),” Starbucks said in a press release. “Members can also purchase ‘limited edition stamps’ (NFT) through a marketplace integrated with the Starbucks Odyssey web app experience.

Starbucks NFT will have a point value based on rarity, allowing holders of the tokens access to rewards ranging from virtual espresso-martini-making classes to trips to the company’s showcase coffee farm in Costa Rica. Users can buy and sell tokens on a marketplace within the company’s app.

Brady Brewer, executive vice president and chief marketing officer of Starbucks, said in a press release that the NFT offering is an integral part of the company’s vision for the future.

“This is just the beginning; Starbucks Odyssey is one of the ways we are reinventing the third place to meet our customers wherever they are,” said Brewer.

The NFT issued by Starbucks are secured with a “proof-of-stake” blockchain, which the brand touts as being more energy-efficient than the notoriously inefficient “proof of work” systems like Ethereum or Bitcoin. It is unclear, however, how efficient Starbucks’ system achieves.

Starbucks’ bet on NFT comes in the form of weekly trading volumes, measured in value and number of sales, continue to erode. Weekly trading volume for digital collectibles and art peaked at $914 million last August, according to Block.co, a website analyzing market trends in blockchain-related technology. Since then, the weekly collectibles trade has fallen to less than $30 million, leaving the long term value of digital stamps uncertain.

The cafe chain’s NFT offering also goes beyond the Web3 games of many of its rivals, which have limited their experiments with the technology to limited-time experiential offers. Pizza Hut offered a virtual shopping experience in May, around the same time Jimmy John’s rolled out a virtual restaurant that customers could use to order real, custom sandwiches. Wendy’s announced a virtual restaurant in April. That same month, Chipotle added a virtual work experience to Roblox, giving customers the ability to roll digital burritos in exchange for burrito-themed in-game currency. Both of these initiatives appear to be long-term deals.

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