The coffee brand says it believes NFTs have the potential to modernize loyalty programs — and they have compelling use cases beyond being traded "in a highly speculative way."
Starbucks is going to release a series of branded NFT collections that unlock access to "exclusive experiences and perks."
The coffee brand says it believes non-fungible tokens have the potential to modernize loyalty programs — and these digital assets have compelling use cases beyond being traded "in a highly speculative way."
"We are fascinated by how NFTs allow people to own a programmable, brandable digital asset, that also doubles as an access pass."
Starbucks' NFTs could be primarily targeted at the 27 million people who are currently members of its Rewards program in the U.S. alone — and the chain wants to come up with "fun ways to bring communities and experiences to life in the digital realm."
The Web3 experience that the company wants to create will likely be focused on coffee at first, but could branch out into art, music and books in the years ahead through "world-class collaborations with other innovators and like-minded brands."
Crypto Payments Next?
There was little mention of whether Starbucks plans to embrace crypto payments. The company has opened the door to Bitcoin transactions in El Salvador, and in the U.S., coffee fans can top up their cards using BTC via the Bakkt app. The blog post did note:
"Starbucks also has a history of taking leading edge technology, innovating and making it accessible and approachable for mainstream audiences. Our history with loyalty, mobile payment, mobile ordering and Wi-Fi has taught us how to engage customers at scale to unlock opportunities."
Moving forward, the company says it's determined to build an "approachable, widely accessible front-end, backed by the right blockchain technologies that are fast and reliable."
Starbucks is clearly keen to ensure that its foray into Web3 and NFTs doesn't clash with the company's values, adding:
"Our approach to blockchain technology — while ultimately likely to be multi-chain or chain agnostic — will certainly start with collections backed by blockchains and infrastructure that is consistent with our multi-decade commitment to sustainability."
The company plans to release its first NFT collection later this year — and while its ambitions will be realized in a phased approach, Starbucks says it is "willing to move fast, experiment, learn and collaborate," adding:
"This first collection will form the core digital community and backbone against which we hope to build future collections and collaborations — all building on the same new ecosystem."