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Starbucks selects Polygon to host its new NFT-based loyalty program

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(Kitco News) - Starbucks (SBUX) is the latest company to signal that it is entering the non-fungible token (NFT) game with the start of an NFT-based loyalty program that will be utilizing Polygon’s proof-of-stake network to operate. 

The new program is named Starbucks Odyssey and is described as a Web3-powered experience that will allow Starbucks Rewards loyalty program members and Starbucks partners (employees) in the U.S. to earn or purchase digital collectible stamps in NFT form. 

The company first hinted at the development of its own unique Web3 experience back in May when it announced plans to launch several NFT collections that provide “unique experiences, community building and customer engagement.”

Based on a report from TechCrunch published on Monday, users will go on “journeys” that will involve playing interactive games or taking on challenges that are designed to provide a deeper education into the Starbucks brand and coffee. Successfully completing a journey will earn the user an NFT called a “journey stamp.”

Starbucks chose Polygon (MATIC) for its ability to offer high-speed transactions at a low cost, all while operating on top of the Ethereum (ETH) network. The scaling solution has committed to becoming carbon negative by the end of 2022, and the Ethereum Merge will further help this goal by reducing the carbon footprint of Polygon by 99.91%.  

“Polygon is a natural choice for Starbucks as both companies place tremendous importance on diversity, accessibility, and sustainability,” according to Polygon co-founder Sandeep Nailwal. “As a leading infrastructure provider enabling people and technology to collaborate and exchange value globally and freely, Polygon provides the ideal launchpad for Starbucks’ entry into Web3.”

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The implementation of Web3 technology will open new avenues for Starbucks to engage with its loyalty program members by “unlocking access to immersive coffee experiences from unique merchandise and artist collaborations to invitations to exclusive events,” according to the announcement. 

Ryan Butz, vice president of loyalty, strategy and marketing for Starbucks, indicated that the organization chose Polygon for its ability to process transactions at a high rate for low costs, while also mitigating environmental concerns. 

“Building Starbucks Odyssey using technology that aligns with our sustainability aspirations and commitments is a top priority. We took a very thoughtful and thorough approach when evaluating which blockchain to utilize and Polygon’s fast, low-cost, and carbon-neutral network is the perfect foundation for our first digital community,” Butz said. 

The waitlist for Starbucks Odyssey opened on Sept. 12 ahead of the platform's full launch later in 2022. 

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