Coffee and Crypto: How Starbucks Plans To Dominate The NFT World

Starbucks is the latest company to enter the world of non-fungible tokens (NFTs), announcing a new initiative that will allow customers to purchase digital collectibles. The move comes as the coffee giant faces renewed criticism over its treatment of workers, with some accusing the company of engaging in union-busting tactics.

The NFT initiative, which is being launched in partnership with blockchain platform Enjin, will see Starbucks customers able to purchase virtual cups and other collectibles that can be stored on a digital wallet. The items will be available for purchase using Starbucks Rewards points, and will be exclusive to the coffee chain’s app. 

The initiative, which was announced on the company’s website, will see Starbucks accept payments in Bitcoin, Ethereum, and other major cryptocurrencies. Customers will be able to use their digital wallets to pay for their drinks and food. The company says that the initiative is part of its efforts to “embrace new technologies.”

On his first day back as the CEO of Starbucks, Howard Schultz promised additional worker benefits to workers and digital innovation using NFTs. In a partner open forum, Schultz mentioned that “sometime before the end of the calendar year, we are going to be in the NFT business.”

This is not the first time that Starbucks has experimented with blockchain technology. In 2018, the company launched a pilot program that allowed customers to track the provenance of their coffee beans using a blockchain-based system.

The move is likely to fuel accusations that Starbucks is trying to distract from its labor relations issues, with the company facing a growing number of protests over its treatment of workers. Some employees have accused Starbucks of trying to prevent them from unionizing, and the coffee giant has been hit with several lawsuits alleging that it has violated labor laws.

In recent months, several high-profile incidents have led to accusations that Starbucks is engaged in union-busting. In one incident, a store manager in Los Angeles was caught on video allegedly trying to intimidate workers who were considering unionizing.

Starbucks has denied any wrongdoing, and has said that it is committed to providing a fair and supportive work environment for all employees. However, the company’s NFT initiative is likely to raise eyebrows among those who believe that it is trying to downplay its labor relations problems.

Critics say that the NFT initiative is just another example of how corporations are trying to cash in on the crypto craze without doing anything to benefit workers or consumers. Despite the criticism, Starbucks has remained one of the most popular coffee brands in the world. The company has over 24,000 stores in more than 70 countries. Starbucks also made record profits in Q4 of 2021 while employees shared concerns over unhealthy and unpredictable schedules in addition to benefits problems and low pay.

Starbucks appears to be moving forward with its cryptocurrency plans. It remains to be seen how customers will react to the initiative, but it could be a major step forward for the adoption of digital currencies.