It’s been more than a year since NFT sales peaked — and then collapsed — but that’s not stopping enterprising multi-billion dollar corporations from trying to get in on the action.
Starbucks launched its first paid collection of NFTs today, a group of 2,000 digital “stamps,” each priced at $100. Starbucks calls its NFTs “Journey Stamps,” a less technical-sounding term that the uninitiated might use as a way to explain what they just spent money on. And people did buy them — CoinDesk reports that the “stamps” sold out in under 20 minutes.
The coffee company first launched its NFT and Web3 push in December, when it opened up a new membership program called Starbucks Odyssey. An extension of the existing Starbucks rewards program that gives customers perks like free drink upgrades, Odyssey promises to deliver new benefits and “immersive coffee experiences that [customers] cannot get anywhere else” as members complete games, quizzes, and make purchases. Rewards might include virtual classes, access to merchandise, or a trip to a Starbucks coffee farm at higher membership tiers. Free coffee, notably, isn’t listed as a possible reward. Purchasing an NFT gives members additional “points” that they can use to level up their tier.
Dozens of big brands have wrung the NFT towel dry over the past couple years. A non-exhaustive list: Taco Bell, Nike, Adidas, Paramount, GameStop, a bunch of celebrities via a revamped LimeWire, the NBA, CNN, and the list goes on. What’s particularly odd about the Starbucks NFTs is that they’re coming so late, though the most devout Starbucks and crypto fans did scoop them up. According to Nifty Gateway, 1,164 people own an NFT from the new collection.
As a casual Starbucks drinker, seeing a new membership program made me think of one thing: how my Starbucks “stars” are worth less now under the updated rewards program that the company announced earlier this year. You could call it shrink-flation for the original virtual coffee tokens. And when times are tough for rewards programs, I suppose selling off a slew of new digital tokens makes sense — especially when there are people who’ll buy them.