Coin For Coffee is a method to use bitcoins to pay for coffee at Starbucks. All users need is a smartphone.
Users access the Coin For Coffee website where they choose an amount in USD to send as Bitcoin. After verifying the user’s email address, the Coin For Coffee system then generates an address to which the corresponding Bitcoin amount should be sent. There is also a QR code which can be scanned in order to copy the address.
Once the amount is sent, a barcode is produced on the user’s smartphone which they scan at the till in Starbucks.
While the minimum amount available to send is the equivalent of US$5, any unspent bitcoins are refunded to the user 30 minutes after scanning the barcode.
The project is an excellent example of the flexibility of the Bitcoin system. Its creator, Matt Luongo, confirmed in an interview with CoinDesk that first and foremost was for “people to be able to spend their bitcoins wherever they want”.
As the barcodes generated are not Bitcoin payments but de facto giftcards, Starbucks has not needed to create the infrastructure to accept Bitcoin payments itself. Indeed, Coin For Coffee has no official affiliation with the chain.
The Coin For Coffee website also has a link to sign in to a Coinbase wallet or even register as a first-time user, rewarding anyone’s passing curiosity as well as serving regulars. The ease of use means the whole process can be completed within a couple of minutes, or while waiting to be served.
Coin For Coffee has is genesis in Coin For Card, which allows Bitcoin to be exchanged for the value of Starbucks giftcards.
There will no doubt be much interest generated by the idea of Bitcoin use at Starbucks and other major coffee chains. As the currency becomes more widespread, an official partnership could open up casual trading to a huge demographic.
The Coin Telegraph will bring you up to date with any developments in the Coin For Coffee scheme.