Starbucks Odyssey Rewards Program Is a Big Win for Web3!

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Starbucks recently pulled back the curtain on their Web3 aspirations and how they’ll be integrating NFTs into their loyalty rewards program. This isn’t just a huge win for NFTs if done right, but for the blockchain space as a whole!

It’s Starbucks!

We’re always forward-looking in Web3 and talking about “When x company adopts Web3, things will change—when Disney , when Starbucks, when Apple start using this tech, the space will change…”

Well, believe it or not, that day has finally arrived. Starbucks is present in over 80 different countries and operates 32,000 stores worldwide. Their customer loyalty program is consistently revered as one of the strongest in the world. As of October 2021, the program has “nearly 25 million members and Starbucks Rewards now represents 53% of the spend in their stores.”

The program revolves around customers earning stars and winning rewardsThe program revolves around customers earning stars and winning rewards

We could take up an entire article talking about just how innovative the program is and how it uses machine learning and personalization to increase engagement for their customers. However, the main point here is that one of the most successful loyalty programs in history is now actively integrating Web3 tech.

Starbucks Executive VP and Chief Marketing Officer, Brady Brewer (Great coffee executive name by the way), stated that:

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. For the first time we are connecting our Starbucks Rewards loyalty program members not just to Starbucks, but to each other.

While this all sounds exciting, you may be asking yourself, “Well, how does the program actually work?”

Introducing Starbucks Odyssey

While there’s no set date for the launch of the program, loyalty rewards members can expect to participate in the program “later this year” and will likely use the Starbucks Mobile app to rack up rewards.

You can join the waitlist here .

Polygon’s official announcement about their partnership with Starbucks

Once inside the app, members will be able to complete “journeys” which are fun challenges such as trivia, games, and more that will reward them with a digital collectible called a “journey stamp.”

These stamps are tradable, meaning they can be bought and sold all within the in-app marketplace. Stamps will feature artwork co-created by Starbucks partners and outside artists. In addition, a portion of the proceeds generated from the sale of the stamps will be donated to various charities.

It’s also worth mentioning that acquiring stamps (the NFTs) has an incredibly low barrier to entry in that no digital wallet or crypto is required. The stamps themselves are access tokens to unique rewards and experiences that range from classes on how to make complicated brews to bigger experiences such as a trip to Starbucks Hacienda Alsacia, a coffee farm in Costa Rica .

It’s clear that Starbucks has put a lot of thought into how they will integrate Web3 tech within their industry-leading rewards program. They’ve stripped away one of the largest stumbling blocks in Web3, namely the need to set up a crypto wallet and took things a step further by having an in-app marketplace that uses a credit card. These are methods Starbucks loyalty members are already familiar with and will minimize friction when interacting with Starbucks Odyssey.

Sustainability and the Environment

Within their press release, Starbucks stated that using technology that aligns with their “sustainability aspirations and commitments” was a top priority. This is likely why they chose Polygon as a partner. As such, Polygon is building a Proof-of-Stake (PoS) blockchain for Starbucks that will help run the program.

This, however, didn’t stop NFT un-enthusiasts from coming out of the woodwork…

Run away, NFTs are bad for the environment!Run away, NFTs are bad for the environment!

Comments such as these highlight the gap in knowledge between mainstream consumers and the technology that is being utilized here. While people love to chirp about the environmental impact of NFTs, the fact is that Starbucks chose Polygon for a good reason.

Let’s break down how much carbon and other dangerous gases (measured in C02e) are produced here:


  • That guy’s tweet = .2 grams of CO2e
  • Brewing 1 cup of coffee with an automatic coffee maker = 200 grams of COe2
  • Sending a transaction on Polygon = .2 grams of CO2e

So the amount of C02e produced by sending a tweet equates to the exact same amount being used to send a transaction on Polygon. I know for a fact that I’ve seen a lot of replies on the Starbucks Odyssey announcement today detesting the decision to move into NFTs, and ironically, they’ve already produced more C02e by spreading misinformation instead of researching the technology!

Let’s also highlight the fact that Polygon has been carbon-neutral since June 2021 and is actually on the road to being carbon negative. This is likely a strong reason why Starbucks decided to tap into them as a partner in the first place!

Polygon and Starbucks’s Partnership Going Forward

If executed well, Starbuck’s Odyssey program will be a huge win for everyone in the Web3 space. They are in the process of integrating NFTs into one of the most successful loyalty programs in history, and I for one cannot wait to see where it goes…

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Ray doesn't believe the metaverse will be viable until we can engage in hand to hand combat via haptic suits.

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