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Starbucks Embarking Change: NFT Stocks

Steve Kaczynski, co-author of “The Everything Token” and Starbucks Odyssey community lead, predicts that brands and loyalty programs will expand their use of NFTs in 2024, focusing on community-based brand building.

 Steve Kaczynski, the lead of the program, expressed uncertainty about his future at the company during a recent podcast interview.

Starbucks launched Starbucks Odyssey in 2022, combining its Reward loyalty program with NFTs to improve customer experiences. The platform helps users find their tribe, enabling connections between people in different locations and real-life interactions.

The loyalty program has a five-tiered system with over 58,000 active participants, including non-web natives. Those in tier five buy a significant amount of secondary marketplaces, with Starbucks sending the top 20 participants to Costa Rica.

Image Credits: NBCNews

Kaczynski highlighted the potential of NFTs for local businesses, suggesting they can use them for loyalty programs and incentivizing, comparing ownership to owning a unique digital item.

Kaczynski suggests NFTs can enhance community-based brand building by providing “brand anchors” for gated areas like reward programs, emphasizing the importance of optionality for community members.

Starbucks Odyssey, launched in 2022, combines Starbucks’ Reward loyalty program with NFTs to improve customer experience. Despite a downturn in the NFT market, the program had a significant impact on its community, with over 58,000 active participants and fostering friendships across geographical boundaries.

NFTs are being used by local businesses to create third-party utilities, such as loyalty programs and ticket incentives. For example, Hot Pockets offers a 20% discount to gamers who buy their Fortnite skin and connect it to a crypto wallet. This encourages active gamers to spend disposable income on third-party items. Owning NFTs offers more value than just expensive monkey pictures on the internet. This allows brands and companies to buy and sell loyalty, making the buying and selling process less one-way. This optionality is important for many people.

Starbucks launched a web NFT project to expand the Rewards loyalty program using blockchain. Odyssey Beta closed on March 31st, leaving questions about the NFT project’s duration through March 2025.

Image Credits: TheVerge

Starbucks is ending its Web rewards program, Odyssey, which allows members to access collectible NFTs. The program will close on March 31, with the remaining journeys ending on March 25. Users will not lose their Stamps, hosted on Nifty Gateway, but must sign up for Nifty using their Starbucks Rewards email. Odyssey was launched in late 2022, offering activities and coffee-related mini-games to encourage ongoing participation. As of 2024, brands and consumers have moved on from NFTs, and the Odyssey marketplace will transition to the Nifty marketplace.

Melinek, J. (2024, March 15). Starbucks ditches its Odyssey NFT program. TechCrunch. https://techcrunch.com/2024/03/15/starbucks-odysseys-nfts-brand-loyalty/