MILAN – Starbucks is officially making its first foray into into building with Web3 technology. On September 12, the world biggest chain of coffeehouses announced the firm has partnered with the blockchain project Polygon and unveiled Starbucks Odyssey, launching later this year. The Web3 platform Starbucks Odyssey will provide Starbucks rewards members and the company’s U.S. employees with “the opportunity to earn and purchase digital collectible assets that will unlock access to new benefits and immersive coffee experiences,” according to a company blog post published yesterday.
Currently, Starbucks rewards members earn stars when they make purchases, which can then be redeemed for a free coffee or similar item. The program, which opened up a waitlist yesterday, will reportedly run on Polygon’s proof-of-stake blockchain network.
To develop the project, Starbucks brought in Adam Brotman, the architect of its Mobile Order & Pay system and the Starbucks app, to help serve as a special advisor. Brotman’s team worked on Starbucks Odyssey alongside the Seattle coffee chain’s own marketing, loyalty and technology teams.
“Starbucks has always served as the Third Place, a place between home and work where you feel the warmth of connection over coffee, community and belonging. The Starbucks Odyssey experience will extend the Third Place connection to the digital world,” said Brady Brewer, Starbucks executive vice president and chief marketing officer. “For the first time we are connecting our Starbucks Rewards loyalty program members not just to Starbucks, but to each other.”
“Leveraging Web3 technology will allow our members to access experiences and ownership that was not possible before. Starbucks Odyssey will transcend the foundational benefits that our Starbucks Rewards members have come to love, and unlock digital, physical and experiential benefits that are uniquely Starbucks,” continued Brewer.
“By integrating into the Starbucks Rewards ecosystem and grounding the experience in coffee, connection and community, we are entering the Web3 space differently than any other brand, while deepening our members’ connection to Starbucks. Our vision is to create a place where our digital community can come together over coffee, engage in immersive experiences, and celebrate the heritage and future of Starbucks.”
Polygon also confirmed the partnership on Twitter and in a blog post called “Starbucks Taps Polygon for Its ‘Starbucks Odyssey’ Web3 Experience.” According to Polygon, this is a” one-of-a-kind loyalty program experience is powered by the low fees and high transaction speeds on the Polygon PoS network.
Overview of Starbucks Odyssey
Starbucks Odyssey will be an extension of the industry-leading Starbucks Rewards program that members can access using their Starbucks Rewards login credentials, says the company. “Once logged in, members can engage in Starbucks Odyssey ‘journeys,’ a series of activities, such as playing interactive games or taking on fun challenges to deepen their knowledge of coffee and Starbucks.” Members will be rewarded for completing journeys with a digital collectable ‘journey stamp’ (NFT).
Members can also purchase ‘limited-edition stamps’ (NFTs) through a built-in marketplace within the Starbucks Odyssey web app experience. Limited-edition stamps will be available for all members to purchase directly with a credit card. No crypto wallet or cryptocurrency will be required – making the Starbucks Odyssey experience a fun and easy way for members to access this new technology and claim an ownership stake in their loyalty to Starbucks.
Each digital collectable stamp will include a point value based on its rarity, and the stamps can be bought or sold among members within the marketplace, with ownership secured on a blockchain. As stamps are collected, members’ points will increase, unlocking access to unique benefits and experiences that have never been offered before. These experiences could range from a virtual espresso martini-making class, to access to unique merchandise and artist collaborations, to invitations to exclusive events at Starbucks Reserve Roasteries or even trips to Starbucks Hacienda Alsacia coffee farm in Costa Rica.
All stamps will feature iconic Starbucks artwork co-created with Starbucks partners as well as outside artists – giving members and partners access to these treasured assets for the first time. Additionally, a portion of the proceeds from the sale of limited-edition stamps will be donated to support causes that matter to Starbucks partners and Starbucks Rewards members.
Customers can sign up for the waitlist at https://waitlist.starbucks.com/. Invitations will be sent to select waitlist members later this year, who will be among the first to explore the experience. As Starbucks Odyssey evolves, the company will continue to gather feedback from members and Starbucks partners, which will help shape the future of this innovative, new experience for Starbucks Rewards.