On Monday Starbucks CEO Howard Schultz announced that the coffeehouse chain would be entering the non-fungible token (NFT) business by the end of 2022.
Schultz returned to Starbucks last month as interim CEO after having previously served as CEO and executive chairman of the company on multiple prior occasions spanning 20 years. He believes that Starbucks is uniquely positioned to succeed in the NFT market.
“If you look at the companies, the brands, the celebrities, the influencers that are trying to create a digital NFT platform and business, I can’t find one of them that has the treasure trove of assets that Starbucks has – from collectibles to the entire heritage of the company,” said Schultz.
Starbucks already has some involvement with blockchain technology. The company is a participant in the Bakkt digital asset wallet and rewards project that launched last year, allowing its iOS app users to use Bakkt stored bitcoin, rewards points, or other Bakkt assets to top up a Starbucks card.
In 2019, Starbucks partnered with Microsoft for blockchain coffee traceability, enabling customers to track their coffee from bean to cup.
Meanwhile in the food industry, McDonald’s USA joined the NFT trend, celebrating the return of its McRib with the launch of limited edition NFTs featuring the sandwich. And PepsiCo’s potato chip brand Lay’s launched an NFT project in partnership with digital asset platform Project Ark in Romania.