Starbucks, one of the largest mainstream companies in the US, has teamed up with Microsoft to track coffee beans with the blockchain. Last month, GeekWire reported Starbucks would implement the tech giant’s recently announced Azure Blockchain Service to track coffee production and provide more transparency to its customers.
It’s been a long and winding road
Starbucks has long been the subject of crypto news. Back in 2018, the then CEO hinted at a coming dApp. Then in August 2018, the Seattle-headquartered coffeehouse revealed itself as one of Bakkt’s key partners. And last May, Cameron and Tyler Winklevoss, well-known bitcoin billionaires, bought coffee in Starbucks with cryptocurrency via Spedn.
But it was not until last May that the company made an official move towards the new technology by making a deal with Microsoft. And once again, rumors have it that the coffee giant might start accepting bitcoin payments in its US branches later this year.
Is all this the long-awaited mainstream adoption finally coming to the crypto market?
“Blockchain before bitcoin”
In 2018, Starbucks’ executive chairman and former CEO Howard Schultz was skeptical about Bitcoin saying “it wouldn’t be “a currency today or in the future.” Not so with the blockchain. In an interview with Fox Business, Mr. Schultz said “I think blockchain technology is probably the rails in which an integrated app at Starbucks will be sitting on top of.”
First announced in 2018, the “bean to cup” initiative based on the Microsoft Azure blockchain system will allow customers to track the production of their coffee and give coffee farmers from Rwanda, Colombia, and Costa Rica with more financial independence.
The project is now running as a pilot.
What’s to come
Per anonymous sources, as part of the deal with Bakkt, Starbucks will install Bakkt’s payment software in its US branches to allow customers to pay with digital currencies. Such funds will be instantly converted to fiat, so that the coffee giant does not have to deal with crypto.
Many now believe that Starbucks’ foray into the blockchain and reported adoption of BTC is a clear case of retail adoption.