22 Mar, 2024

Polygon Labs Paid $4M to Sponsor Starbucks Crypto Project

Polygon Labs Sponsor Starbucks Crypto


  • Following Starbucks’ announcement of discontinuing its NFT-powered loyalty program, sources near the program say Polygon Labs paid $4M to Sponsor the crypto project.
  • Polygon’s partnership with Starbucks was part of its growth strategy to secure household collaborations with famous brands worldwide.

Polygon’s Offer to End Competitive Hunt by Proponents

Polygon pays Starbuck $4M to sponsor crypto project.
Starbucks | Source: Shutterstock

On March 15th, 2024, Starbucks announced that it shuttered its Nonfungible Token (NFT)  loyalty program deal with Polygon.

The company discontinued the program to focus on what’s to come in the Web3 economy. The 2022 deal saw Polygon (MATIC) pay Starbucks $4 million to host Starbucks Odyssey.

Usually, companies pay their tech vendors for the services offered. But for Starbucks, it was the other way round.

The blockchain developer parted ways with this staggering amount to end a competitive hunt by proponents. 

The proponents were from at least three blockchain ecosystems that wanted to also partner with Starbucks.

The payout is a testament to the cost of business development and innovation in crypto. Notably, Polygon Labs sought a headline-grabbing partnership in 2022 to elevate Polygon’s name recognition.

If brands like Nike and Starbucks used Polygon as their Launchpad for cryptos, their vast customer bases would follow suit.

However, they did not.

Polygon Starbucks’ Odyssey Partnership

Polygon Sponsor Starbucks
Polygon Sponsor Starbucks | Source: Shutterstock

Starbucks Odyssey wanted to redefine Starbucks’s popular loyalty program with a crypto tint.

Its members would get stamps—collectible NTFs for completing tasks. They would then use those stamps to qualify for rewards, including invitations to coffee-themed experiences.

The program was a money-maker for the coffee giant, making millions of dollars with taxing stamps of secondary sales.

Stamp buyers could also resell their stamps through a digital storefront created by Starbucks and Nifty Gateway.

The first monetized Odyssey NFT series— the Siren Collection, sold out in minutes, trading at a 4x premium.

Even before the official announcement, Odyssey NFT’s value proportion was stressed. Its last sale was $215, but its buyers only offered $86 per Siren NFT.

On the other hand, sellers were also willing to sell them for not less than $165. After a successful 18-month run, the Starbucks NFT’s loyalty program craves a niche for an invite-only beta program.

Its cult-like community is in the sense of shock after the abrupt ending of the program.

Out with the Old, In with the New Polygon

The Starbucks’ Odyssey partnership amplified Polygon’s high-flying and flashy strategic leadership. It sought out these deals to enhance its presence and become popular.

This big-name forward deal-making style Polygon pursued was under Ryan Wyatt—the former president of Polygon Labs from early 2022 to mid-2023

Evidently, the blockchain developer is now focused on building innovative tech rather than inking partnerships. The blockchain developer intends to become a tech powerhouse focused on ZK tech.

 It was common for Polygon to pair grants with their partnership, as it was a common practice across crypto. Polygon is, therefore, looking to partner with institutions that would immediately impact on-chain—and not just marketing value.

The abrupt switch highlights the broader challenges of creating crossover Web3 products for non-crypto audiences. Odyssey’s loyalty program was intended for users who didn’t have a crypto wallet and no knowledge of blockchains. Basically, most human beings, by extension, Starbucks customers.

Notably, the partnership with Starbucks has helped Polygon establish credibility. Market watchers are closely monitoring the dynamics as they unfold on the market.

Do you think the end of Starbucks’ Odyssey partnership will impact the price of Polygon (MATIC)?