Starbucks Joins Micah Johnson’s NFT Collection Akutars

Credit: Akutars

In a surprise move, Starbucks announced a partnership with Micah Johnson’s Akutars collection in its Discord channel. Through the deal, the company will launch a special Journey called “Aku Adventure” that begins on July 17th and runs through August 13th. Members of Starbucks Web3 loyalty program will be able to “embark on a mission with Aku,” as well as collect a new stamp that the mascot designed.

The collaboration is the latest for Micah Johnson and Akutars, which recently partnered with Beats by Dre to debut an Aku-inspired set of headphones. Johnson created the original Aku mascot after hearing a young boy ask his mother if astronauts could be black. The collection is meant to inspire children to dream big and has drawn attention from mainstream news outlets, as well as celebrities.

As part of the launch of its Aku-themed Journey, Starbucks will donate $100,000 to Blessings in a Backpack, a non-profit organization that tries to alleviate food insecurity among children. The organization states on its website that 59% of children who receive aid from Blessings in a Backpack find it easier to learn.

Starbucks Makes Moves in Web3

When Starbucks announced in 2022 that it was entering Web3, the NFT community met the news with enthusiasm. After all, Starbucks is the world’s largest coffeehouse chain, with stores in over 80 countries. Its Web3 program called Odyssey has not disappointed.

Members of that program, for which there is a sizeable waitlist, are able to collect non-fungible tokens called Stamps by going on “Journeys,” which the company bills as entertaining and interactive activities. Journey-goers can also collect Points, which they may redeem for digital or IRL prizes.

Odyssey is, in essence, a Web3 loyalty program that combines the blockchain, non-fungible tokens, and activities to enhance a customer’s relationship with the brand. So far, it has been the largest to date and has drummed up the most interest. While time will tell if it is successful, the company is certainly off to a good start in Web3.

Micah Johnson Collects Accolades for Akutars

Akutars, on the other hand, has had a much more topsy-turvy journey in this new technology space. A glitch in its smart contract accidentally locked in $34 million after minting, an error that no doubt would sink many projects. Still, Micah Johnson and his team have kept pushing. And with the progress came the accolades.

Fortune named Johnson, a former MLB player, one of the top 50 influential people in NFTs, and Fast Company, a leading publication in the business world, called Akutars one of the most innovative companies in 2022. The Aku mascot has become associated with pursuing your dreams, and it has made in-roads into the mainstream media.

Like with the Starbucks’ Web3 loyalty program, time will tell how Akutars does. It may be some time before the bear market ends in the NFT space. But these partnerships show that Johnson and his team have been building, always a good sign no matter the market conditions.

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