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Starbucks launches web3-based loyalty program and NFTs

starbucks coffee beans

Coffeehouse chain Starbucks announced the beta launch of Starbucks Odyssey, a blockchain-powered loyalty program that will open access to new benefits and immersive coffee experiences for customers.

An extension of the Starbucks Rewards loyalty program, the beta experience launched to a small group of waitlist members, including customers and Starbucks employees. The selected participants will be able to immerse themselves in interactive activities called ‘Journeys’ via the Starbucks rewards site. The initial activities will range from taking a virtual tour of Starbucks coffee farm in Costa Rica, to trivia about Starbucks heritage.

Once a Journey is complete, members earn Polygon-based NFTs called ‘Journey Stamps’, as well as Odyssey loyalty points to gain access to benefits and immersive experiences. In addition, the beta participants will collaborate with Starbucks to shape the Odyssey experience’s future.

“Starbucks Rewards members are some of our most loyal and engaged customers, and Starbucks Odyssey is our next big innovation in loyalty to recognize, surprise and delight them,” said Brady Brewer, Starbucks EVP and chief marketing officer. “We are leveraging Web3 technology to reward and connect with our members in new ways, such as offering collectible, ownable digital stamps, a new digital community, and opening access to new benefits and immersive coffee experiences – both physically and digitally.”

The program aims to make NFTs accessible to a wider customer base, as Odyssey participants can purchase Stamps directly with a credit card through Starbucks Odyssey market, with no requirement for a crypto wallet or cryptocurrency. Early next year, members will be able to purchase unique, one-of-a-kind ‘Limited-Edition Stamps’ (NFTs) through the market.

Nifty Gateway is the NFT partner and the experience was developed in association with Forum3, a startup that announced a $10 million funding round today. Forum3 co-CEO Adam Brotman was previously the Chief Digital Office of Starbucks.

Available only in the U.S currently, monthly invitations will continue to be offered to a wider group of members on the waitlist starting in January.

There is a growing number of brands in various sectors launching blockchain-enabled loyalty programs and NFT utilities. Nike-owned RTKFT recently launched a ‘phygital’ sneaker collection, following on from its digital-only collection of customizable NFT sneakers. Warner Music plans to sell songs as NFTs with LGND. Fashion designers are also dropping NFT collections for charity. With the increase in web3 and NFT-based offerings from brands, the competition for “best-in-class” will only increase, and so will customer expectations.