Starbucks is diving into the world of NFTs.
As part of its quarterly earnings report Tuesday, the Seattle coffee giant revealed plans to use the blockchain-based technology to create a digital community and provide access to exclusive perks.
NFT, or non-fungible token, is a burgeoning technology that allow people to secure unique ownership of artwork, videos, photos, and other digital content on the blockchain.
Starbucks is trying to extend its “Third Place” concept — a place between home and work — to the digital world. Customers will be able to purchase unique NFTs from Starbucks and use them to get special access to Starbucks-related experiences and perks.
Here’s more from a blog post:
What if Starbucks could create a new, global digital community – a community defined by collaboration, experiences, and shared ownership – all centered around coffee to start, and then perhaps expanded into the many of the areas Starbucks has played in over the years as a coffeehouse; art, music, books and beyond?
The company said this is a natural follow to its other tech-fueled initiatives such as mobile ordering, in-store WiFi, and the Starbucks Rewards program.
The new platform, which will roll out later this year, is described as “Starbucks Digital Community Web3.”
“This community will further strengthen the Starbucks brand, engage our partners, and we expect it to be accretive to our business,” Starbucks Chief Marketing Officer Brady Brewer said on the company’s earnings call Tuesday.
Brewer added that Starbucks is “making deliberate choices to build the community on environmentally sustainable Web3 platforms.”
Starbucks CEO Howard Schultz, who recently returned to lead the company, hinted at the NFT business last month during an internal town hall meeting.
“If you look at the companies, the brands, the celebrities, the influencers that are trying to create a digital NFT platform and business, I can’t find one of them that has the treasure trove of assets that Starbucks has, from collectibles to the entire heritage of the company,” Schultz said at the meeting.
Other consumer brands including Taco Bell and Papa Johns are dipping their toes in NFTs. iHeartMedia is creating a new NFT-based podcast network. TIME released the first-ever full magazine issue as an NFT.
Starbucks has more than 30,000 stores and employs more than 400,000 people. The company is facing a growing unionization movement.
Shares of Starbucks are down more than 20% over the past year. The stock rose in after-hours trading Tuesday following the company’s fiscal second quarter results, with net revenue up 15% year-over-year to $7.6 billion.