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McDonald’s El Salvador to Accept Bitcoin as Experts Question Profitability

In El Salvador, McDonald’s is now accepting bitcoin payments. Bitcoin payment processor OpenNode announced Tuesday (Sept. 7) that the quick-service restaurant (QSR) will accept the cryptocurrency at all 19 of its restaurants in the country.

The news follows a Quiznos announcement last month that the sandwich chain would accept bitcoin at select locations in Colorado through digital asset marketplace Bakkt. In the spring, Landry’s, the company behind over a dozen well-known restaurant chains including Bubba Gump Shrimp Company, Rainforest Cafe, Joe’s Crab Shack and Morton’s The Steakhouse, announced that it would accept bitcoin in its restaurants. Back in 2017, Burger King announced that it was debuting a “Whoppercoin” cryptocurrency at its Russian locations. (By fall of 2019 Whoppercoin’s value had fallen to zero.)

Read more: Quiznos, Bakkt Debut Pay With Bitcoin In Some Restaurants

Restaurant Roundup: Landry’s To Accept Bitcoin

Burger King Brings New Digital Currency, Whoppercoin, To Russia  

However, it is possible that the economics of restaurants accepting crypto payments, and specifically bitcoin payments, for purchases as small as fast-food orders may prove not to work out in the long run.

“If you wanted to buy a cup of coffee with bitcoin, that transaction could cost you $20 (in network fees),” Keith Johnson, general manager of Ternio, said in an interview with PYMNTS earlier this year. “Additionally, there is a speed issue that needs to be addressed, since transacting with BTC requires the blockchain to be updated with a number of confirmations, which takes time. In periods of high network congestion, that can take hours.”

See also: Beyond Bitcoin: Mainstream Acceptance Sparks Push For Everyday Cryptocurrency

Still, the demand is there among crypto owners, though these make up only a small share of all consumers. PYMNTS’ May 2021 study, The Cryptocurrency Payments Report: How Consumers Want To Use It To Shop And Pay, a PYMNTS and BitPay collaboration, which surveyed more than 8,000 consumers, found that only 12% of respondents reported that they currently own cryptocurrency, while 84% have never owned crypto. Of these owners, almost a quarter had already purchased from restaurants or food delivery services using cryptocurrency, and 53% reported that they would consider making such purchases in the future.

Additionally, data from the July edition of the report finds that, for consumers who would purchase from restaurants or food delivery services using cryptocurrency, about a third would do so to make their financial transactions more secure, 35 percent would do so to make online payments more efficient, and a similar share would do so to pay lower online transaction costs.

Related news: PYMNTS BitPay Study: How Consumers Want To Use Crypto To Shop And Pay in 2021 And After 

New Crypto Report: 57 Pct Of Crypto Holders Will Pay That Way If Offered The Option

McDonald’s move to accept bitcoin in El Salvador comes after the news broke Tuesday that the country has become the first in the world to accept bitcoin as a national currency. The country bought $21 million of bitcoin, and tweets from the country’s president Nayib Bukele state that the country plans to purchase “a lot more” of the cryptocurrency in the future.

You may also like: El Salvador’s Risky Legal Tender Leap Into Bitcoin

“We are incredibly excited to work with McDonald’s to help make adoption of the country’s Bitcoin Law an operational success,” Julie Landrum, OpenNode’s head of growth, said in a statement. “It’s just a massive opportunity to demonstrate the power of [our] Lightning Network for everyday high volume, low value purchases at the most popular and successful fast food chain in the world. Clearly another significant milestone on the path to growing the bitcoin economy.”

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