How Brands Are Using NFT Loyalty Programs

NFT Royalty Program

Digital assets can be used in new kinds of NFT loyalty programs and brand membership plans. NFTs blur the lines between rewards, membership, physical goods, digital art, and collectibles. Early movers using NFTs include Starbucks, Le Bristol Paris, Early Majority, and 9dcc.

Web3 can bring real utility to companies and brands, including through NFT loyalty programs which give perks to holders. There’s also the expanding crossover between physical products and digital items, and there are plenty of Web3 experiments looking at ways to link up the virtual and the real.

Because this is all new and developing, the boundaries between different kinds of utility aren’t clear, and NFTs with utility don’t always fit into neat categories. As ideas are tested out, NFTs sometimes combine functions: rewarding loyalty, acting as tickets or proving attendance, opening access to services, or opening the doors to members’ clubs, and allowing holders to redeem physical goods, along with many other possible applications.

They might also, in some cases, simply function as limited edition collectibles or specially produced works of art, but these uses can also be combined with practical applications.

Early Movers

Although it’s still early days for NFTs, some early movers have been putting them to use and testing the mechanics, including famous, non-crypto names, and emerging, crypto-native newcomers, and ranging from the popular and easily accessible to the prohibitively expensive and deliberately exclusive.

Also, something you might notice around this area is how brands often prefer the term Web3 over referring to NFTs, and they pretty much never talk directly about crypto. Web3 perhaps sounds like an easier sell, but this preference also shows how crypto may start to operate in a more under-the-hood way as the tech becomes integrated with the mainstream.


NFT loyalty programs
Image credit: Starbucks

One of the biggest corporate names to embrace NFTs has been Starbucks, which is taking loyalty cards and enhancing them through NFTs. The company’s new membership scheme is called Starbucks Odyssey, and it launched in beta last December to selected waitlist participants.

Membership includes the ability to complete interactive online games and activities called Journeys, which earn points and NFTs called Stamps (issued on Polygon), which then lead to rewards including merchandise and access to events. There are also limited edition Stamp NFT releases, which act more like art and design collectibles.

There’ve been two limited edition Stamp drops so far, and a third is coming up on June 7th, to be airdropped to current limited edition Stamp holders who have completed at least two Journeys by June 6th.

Early Majority

NFT loyalty programs
Image credit: Early Majority

Fashion and Web3 seem to be getting along especially well together, with everyone from high-end labels to sportswear and streetwear makers exploring the new tech. From this sector, an interesting outfit called Early Majority has been experimenting with ways to bridge the gap between physical apparel and digital assets.

Early Majority is focused on stylish outdoor wear, coming at it from an artistic angle, and you can become a member of the project by minting a Digital Member Badge NFT. These assets bring a substantial list of useful benefits, including merchandise, access to IRL events, first access to new releases, and member-tiered pricing on the company’s products.


NFT loyalty programs
Image credit: 9dcc

Launched in August 2022, 9dcc is a fashion and lifestyle venture that feels deeply infused with NFT culture (even that name, 9dcc, is the last four characters of an ETH wallet address). It was founded by influential NFT advocate and Web3 builder Gmoney, and its second collection, called ITERATION-02, was the product of a collaboration with Art Blocks founder and Chromie Squiggle creator Snowfro.

The clothing 9dcc has produced up to now comes fitted with NFC chips connecting buyers into the project’s network, and garments are only buyable through minting NFTs, and are not available for general sale.

Owners of 9dcc items can participate in reward-earning games, rack up the project’s Network Points, and distribute POAP (proof of attendance protocol) tokens to other people who scan their NFC chips, thereby expanding the 9dcc network. And by the way, forget about the phygital label, 9dcc refers to its garments as networked products, which is definitely a cool-sounding term.

Overall, 9dcc is unusual in that it garnered attention from traditional media, and its Network Points and POAP systems enable social connections, but at the same time, its complex sales methods come across as designed to be accessible only to deeply NFT-native buyers, and it sometimes feels like it’s aiming for digital exclusivity over mainstream onboarding.

Le Bristol Paris

NFT loyalty programs
Image credit: Le Bristol Paris

Elegant and iconic, Le Bristol Hotel has a formidable reputation and is one of the top places to stay in Paris, and if you go to its website now you might notice a prominent tab labeled L’H3ritage. This is a Web3 members-only club that can be accessed by holding one of eleven Bristol Unlocked NFTs, and those can be minted after first completing a KYC registration process.

The NFTs are, as you’d expect, expensive, clocking in at 8 ETH each, but for that outlay, holders receive benefits including a night in one of the hotel’s Signature Suites, and 5-year access to events and experiences, facilities, special menus, and–in true NFT style–whitelists “for future activations and collaborations”.

These NFTs are luxury items with a limited audience, but they demonstrate that NFTs can have a broad reach and a sweeping range of applications. The boundaries are still being tested, but Web3 can potentially take in everyone from crypto-immersed JPEG aficionados to guests at the highest-end Parisian hotels.

How Brands Are Using NFT Loyalty Programs - - 2024

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How Brands Are Using NFT Loyalty Programs - - 2024
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