This Utah soda shop is getting into NFTs
f you find yourself hitting the soda shop on a daily basis, you might be into the latest product from Thirst: an NFT.
Thirst NFTs are more or less a coupon for free products and discounts, with a “digital playing card” that comes with it. Thirst NFTs are selling at three price points: $400, $600, and $800. Cisneros believes loyal customers will recoup their money within a year.
All NFTs represent an item from the Thirst menu, from popular drinks to cookies to beignets. Holding an item’s NFT depiction entitles the owner to one of those items free per day.
For example, any drink NFT entitles the holder to a free drink of up to 44 ounces daily. Some NFTs can be redeemed for any item on the menu, and NFTs in the gold or silver rarities ($600 or $800) come with 10 percent and 25 percent discounts on every item in addition to that free daily item.
The price point is based on a customer coming into the store three times per week. If each item is worth $5, that would equate to $780 in free drinks or food, not including any additional discounts.
“I have people come through my drive-thru every single day spending a lot of money,” says founder Ethan Cisneros.
One key aspect of NFTs is that they can be bought, sold, or transferred. Someone could buy the coupon, use it for a year, then if they decide they’re over soda, they could sell it to someone else—possibly even earning money in the transaction.
Cisneros likes the fact that it could still hold some value for a customer if they decide they no longer want it. That’s a large part of the value of using NFT technology as opposed to a scannable punch card.
“I call them digital postcards because that’s what they are,” he says. “We’re using NFT technology to create our resellable value-driven asset that’s a digital-first card. I think there are new ways I can explain it that will kind of open people’s eyes… I think more and more people are going to adopt it.”
There are a total of 375 Thirst NFTs out there. About 75 were minted in the first six days of availability, which began in early June. There’s no limited minting period during which people have to rush to get them before they’re gone, as Cisneros didn’t want it to feel like there was pressure on people to make a quick, pressured decision. The remaining NFTs will be available until they sell.
“This is a project that is completely different than the existing projects creating this bubble in the market that is… crashing.”
Thirst NFTs are launching at a time where many NFTs have dropped in value alongside the cryptocurrency markets, but that doesn’t worry Cisneros. He believes part of the recent drop in NFT valuations can be attributed to many projects’ lack of utility.
“I’m not selling to the crypto community,” he says. “This is a project that is completely different than the existing projects creating this bubble in the market that is… crashing.”
He believes Thirst lifetime passes can benefit customers and help forge “the greatest connection with a customer of all time.”
“If you own one of my NFTs and there’s a limited amount of them and more people are starting to want them, you have interest in telling everyone about Thirst,” he says. You have interest in making the demand for these NFTs greater because that’s your asset.”
Cisneros opened his first Thirst shop in 2016. It wasn’t popular at first, he admits. Cisneros thinks back to the early days, posting on social media 15 times a day, constantly messaging potential customers with coupons to try and drum up interest in his business.
Since then, Thirst has found some success. Cisneros has opened several new stores throughout the valley, including locations inside Vivint Smart Home Arena and Rio Tinto Stadium, the respective homes of the Utah Jazz and Real Salt Lake. And he has plans for larger expansion—one in Saint George and another 10 and 15 Utah stores before he starts looking at other states.
But Cisneros doesn’t want to just be a soda chain. He sees Thirst as a “more relevant, cool version of what Sonic is—which is drinks, snacks, and treats,” also drawing a comparison to Auntie Anne’s pretzels. Thirst’s highest-selling item is soft pretzels, despite conceptions of Thirst as just a soda shop, but maybe in the future, the company’s bestselling item will be NFTs.