Starbucks set to launch NFT-based loyalty program on Polygon
On September 12th, Starbucks announced Starbucks Odyssey, its upcoming NFT-based loyalty program with proof-of-stake blockchain technology built by Polygon. Customers and employees in the U.S. will be able to earn and buy collectable digital stamps (NFTs) that unlock benefits and immersive experiences, from limited-edition merchandise to virtual espresso martini-making classes. 
“For the first time we are connecting our Starbucks Rewards loyalty program members not just to Starbucks, but to each other. Leveraging Web3 technology will allow our members to access experiences and ownership that was not possible before,” a Starbucks spokesperson commented.
No crypto wallet or cryptocurrency will be required to participate in the program. The waitlist is currently open and the initiative is set to launch later this year.
Ethereum officially switches to proof-of-stake
The Ethereum Merge – designed to cut the cryptocurrency’s energy consumption by more than 99% – officially took effect on September 15th, with more than 41,000 people tuning in live for a “Ethereum Mainnet Merge Viewing Party” on YouTube.  This move from proof-of-work to proof-of-stake, which swaps out miners for validators, requires much less power than crypto mining. Industry experts also say the transition makes the protocol more secure and more sustainable, while reducing the barrier to entry for institutional investors. 
Emerging markets lead the way in global crypto adoption
New data from Chainalysis’ 2022 Global Crypto Adoption Index is in, and some of the stats may surprise you. Emerging markets drove global crypto adoption in the last year, with Vietnam ranking first and the Philippines coming in second. Out of the top 20 ranked countries, ten are lower middle income: Vietnam, Philippines, Ukraine, India, Pakistan, Nigeria, Morocco, Nepal, Kenya, and Indonesia; eight are upper middle income: Brazil, Thailand, Russia, China, Turkey, Argentina, Colombia, and Ecuador; and two are high income: the United States and United Kingdom.  And despite the crypto bear market, crypto adoption levels increased by 880% in the past year. 
In case you missed it:
- Fidelity considers offering Bitcoin trading to individual investors
- South Korea issues arrest warrant for Terra co-founder Do Kwon
- Starbucks Brewing Revolutionary Web3 Experience for its Starbucks Rewards Members
- The Ethereum Merge Is Done, Opening a New Era for the Second-Biggest Blockchain
- Ethereum’s Massive Software Upgrade Just Went Live — Here’s What It Does
- The 2022 Global Crypto Adoption Index: Emerging Markets Lead in Grassroots Adoption, China Remains Active Despite Ban, and Crypto Fundamentals Appear Healthy
- Emerging Markets Lead Global Crypto Adoption in Bear Market, Chainalysis Says
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