At a Starbucks company presentation today, one longtime employee confronted the coffee brand’s top executives with his concerns about NFTs.
The presentation from Chief Marketing Officer Brady Brewer included a section on the potential upsides of NFTs—unique blockchain tokens that signify ownership over an asset—about a week after Starbucks officially announced its push into Web3 during its quarterly earnings call.
The company shared in a statement co-authored by Brewer and adviser Adam Brotman that it plans to “create a series of branded NFT collections” to establish “a new model of what it means to be connected to the Starbucks community.”
But Mark, a Starbucks employee who only provided his first name but described himself as a “technologist,” aired his grievances with NFTs during the Q&A with executive leadership, after Brewer said Starbucks plans to launch NFTs “within this year.”
Mark took issue with the environmental impact of NFTs. “Blockchain, whether it’s proof of stake or proof of work, is not planet positive … it is going to destroy the planet … and it makes me, as a technologist, and I’m not the only one, very worried about that, that this company would go in that direction. I don’t want to feel this way about Starbucks.” Mark also argued that NFTs are more exclusive than inclusive.
A Starbucks marketing exec in charge of the NFT push offered few specifics in his response.
“We share your concern for both the environmental impact as well as what is the future of this space,” the exec said. “The world will somehow come to terms with what this platform is.” pic.twitter.com/2GPNeC1TQO
Brewer compared Starbucks’ foray into NFTs with its previous digital products, like adding WiFi to stores, mobile payments, and mobile orders. He also reiterated the company’s commitment to “sustainability” when it comes to developing NFTs.
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