The coffee giant’s new Starbucks Odyssey rewards program opened up for select beta testers ahead of expansion in 2023.

In brief

  • Starbucks has launched its NFT-driven rewards program Starbucks Odyssey in beta.
  • The platform will add more users in January and implement a marketplace that enables trading along with buying limited-edition NFTs.

Starbucks Odyssey, the coffee chain’s new Web3 rewards platform built on Ethereum sidechain network Polygon, is officially rolling out to the world. And the company says that demand for the platform so far has been “unprecedented.”

Starbucks launched the platform on Thursday for an initial group of beta testers chosen from its waitlist. Additional testers will be added to the platform in January 2023 ahead of increasing functionality and access to come early next year.

The company did not disclose how many customers signed up for the waitlist, nor how many users were given access this week. However, a spokesperson told Decrypt that Starbucks has seen “unprecedented interest in Starbucks Odyssey,” and that the response from customers has been “overwhelming” so far.

Screenshots from the Starbucks Odyssey app. Image: Polygon

First announced in September following months of teases, Starbucks Odyssey builds upon the firm’s existing Starbucks Rewards initiative, but with a Web3 twist. Users can earn rewards points for buying food and drinks at stores, but also for participating in activities via the Odyssey mobile app, such as quizzes and other digital experiences.

Completing activities and amassing points then earns users “Journey Stamps” tokenized as NFT collectibles on Polygon. These stamps, which reflect the history of the 51-year-old coffee juggernaut, can be collected and eventually traded. An NFT is a blockchain token that represents ownership in a unique asset, including digital goods like artwork and collectibles.

The stamps and points also collectively unlock access to potential exclusive experiences, such as online drink-making classes, events at Starbucks’ flagship Reserve Roastery locations, or even a trip to the company’s coffee farm in Costa Rica.

In 2023, Starbucks Odyssey will launch its NFT marketplace powered by Nifty Gateway, letting users buy and sell their Journey Stamps, as well as purchase limited-edition NFTs created in collaboration with company partners. Funds from the latter NFT sales will be used in part to donate to charitable causes, the company said.

Starbucks is one of several major brands to recently tap Polygon for a Web3 push, alongside Meta with NFT minting on Instagram, Reddit with NFT avatars that have already reached more than 3 million users, and Nike’s upcoming digital apparel platform.

Polygon Studios CEO Ryan Wyatt recently discussed its brand success with Decrypt, pointing to factors like a mix of Web2 and Web3 experience on his business development team, as well as growing consensus around the Ethereum ecosystem as opposed to other layer-1 blockchain networks.

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