- Starbucks says it is one of the first chains to tie NFT offerings to its core business.
- Still, numerous major restaurant companies are dabbling in Web3 activations to grow digital touch points and attract Gen Z customers.
Starbucks employees and customers can join a waitlist to gain access to Starbucks Odyssey, which will go live later in 2022. The platform will host virtual journeys, interactive games, and challenges to ensure users deepen their knowledge of coffee and Starbucks.
Starbucks said in a press release that members would be rewarded for completing journeys with a digital collectible journey stamp (NFT). Members can also buy limited-edition stamps (NFTs) through a built-in marketplace within the Starbucks Odyssey web app experience.
Starbucks executive vice president and chief marketing officer Brady Brewer said in a press release that the NFT offering was integral to the future vision of the company. He said that Starbucks Odyssey is one of the ways they are reinventing the Third Place to meet their customers wherever they are.
The NFTs issued by Starbucks are protected with a “proof-of-stake” blockchain, which the brand touts as being more energy efficient than the notoriously inefficient “proof-of-work” systems such as Ethereum or Bitcoin.
Starbucks’ bet on NFTs comes as weekly trading volumes, measured by value and the number of sales, continue to destroy. According to Block.co, a website analyzing market trends in blockchain-related technology, the weekly volume of trade in digital collectibles and art objects peaked at $914 million last August. Since then, weekly trade in collectibles has fallen to less than $30 million, leaving the long-term value of digital stamps uncertain.
The NFT offering of the coffee chain also goes beyond the Web3 plays of many of its rivals, who have restricted their experiments with this technology to limited-time experiential offers. In May, Pizza Hut offered a virtual shopping experience when Jimmy John’s rolled out virtual restaurant customers could use to order authentic custom sandwiches.
Wendy’s announced a virtual restaurant in April. That same month, Chipotle added a virtual labor experience to Roblox, allowing customers to roll digital burritos for burrito-themed in-game currency. These two initiatives seem to be long-term offerings.
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