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.