Coffee chains are entering the crypto world: The latest examples are Starbucks and South Korean coffee brand Tom N Toms.
Starbucks announced on Monday that it will launch a customer loyalty platform called “Starbucks Odyssey” on public blockchain Polygon.
The platform’s users will get non-fungible tokens (NFTs), or “stamps,” by playing games or through direct purchase. Stamps can be transacted between users or exchanged for Starbucks benefits and experiences.
Starbucks will allow customers to pay for the NFTs directly with a credit card, with no need for cryptocurrencies and crypto wallets.
The company did not share the cost of its NFTs nor the amount available at launch, saying those decisions are still being worked out, nor did it reveal whether it will launch only in some specific countries. The platform currently allows pre-registration, and will open up to some users later this year and more broadly next year.
Launching the blockchain-based loyalty platform is considered “reinventing the Third Place to meet our customers,” said Brady Brewer, Starbucks executive vice president and chief marketing officer.
“Digital Third Place community enabled by Web3 technology where Starbucks Rewards members and our partners can connect through unique experiences and come together around the love for coffee,” Brewer added.
Third place is a term coined by a sociologist in the 1980s to mean an informal gathering place where people meet and mingle.
While the largest coffee brand in the world announced it is tapping into NFTs, several smaller players have already been dipping into blockchain.
New York-based roastery Coffee Bros. launched a profile-picture (PFP) NFT collection named Crypto Baristas last year to help fund its first cafe in the city while giving offline perks to owners.
The Crypto Baristas NFT project has since taken on an initiative to make their coffee business more transparent and environmentally friendly.
More recently, Tom N Toms Coffee, a chain coffeehouse based in South Korea with over 500 shops internationally, announced that it is launching its own NFT market called TOMS NFT on Sept. 20.
The Korean coffeehouse brand is already knee-deep in blockchain technology. Back in January, it issued its own utility token, TomTom Coin (TOMS).
Similar to Starbucks’ NFT plan, the TOMS token was created to reward the cafe’s customers and as a payment measure. The token has since been listed in major crypto exchanges such as Coinbase and Binance.
“The TOMS project was started so that the Tom N Toms brand will not be limited to being just a coffee shop, and become a lifestyle using blockchain and crypto technology,” TomTom Coin says on its website.
Tom N Toms is taking the project one step further on their upcoming NFT platform to allow users to create, store, trade and auction digital art, game items or memes.