August 16, 2022
By Anjali Kochhar
It’s getting cold in crypto land. Like temperature, prices are dropping on the cryptocurrency chart. But, as they say, good food makes winters endurable, so the time seems right for investors to shift their focus to bills of fare.
Taking the opportunity, food giants are getting into the crypto scene.
Not only big chains, but smaller shops are also adopting the crypto culture. Experts call it a “natural progression” between the food sector and the digital assets sector.
The talks began last year when Mcdonald’s and Burger King introduced their NFTs (non-fungible tokens). While Mcdonald’s celebrated 40 years of its sandwich McRib by introducing its NFT on Twitter, Burger King enticed customers with its “Keep It Real” campaign presenting an opportunity to collect digital arts.
Food giant Taco Bell was already part of the NFT game by then with its NFTacoBell available at the marketplace Rarible.
As the restaurant business took a nosedive during the Covid-19 pandemic, fast food brands used a digital-first strategy to their rescue.
Global coffeehouse company Starbucks, too, accepts payments via a variety of digital assets. Customers can integrate the fintech application Bakkt in their Starbucks app and convert their digital currencies to Starbucks card balances for making a purchase.
“By accepting a variety of payment methods, Starbucks allows customers to select the option most convenient and relevant to them,” spokesperson of Starbucks told NFTMetta.
By now, not only big brands, but smaller food outlets are also part of the game.
Kurt Ivy, the owner of Coffee Nova, a coffee house in Downtown Warren, Ohio, believes that smaller food suppliers, who don’t have access to traditional financial tools, are now accepting cryptocurrencies to participate in the global market.
“Currently, partly what is enticing people is the popularity,” he said. He revealed plans to accept cryptos in the years to come and adopt NFTs as a marketing strategy as well.
Both sectors are increasingly engaging with each other to reach new heights. This, according to experts, was bound to happen.
“Food chains getting into the crypto scene is a natural progression. In fact, the NFT and crypto strategy is no different from their current rewards programs,” Anndy Lian, chairman, BigONE Exchange, told NFTMetta.
Lian suggested that food chains can start giving NFTs to their young customers instead of giving away toys with meals.
This can create a “win-win-win” situation for them, Lian added.
Sharat Chandra, VP-Research and ID, EarthID, said, “NFTs offer a unique element of personalization which goes a long way in ensuring brand recall and loyalty. Digital collectables as non-fungible tokens also help brands leverage consent-based data capture to offer large-scale hyper-personalized services.”
He further said that NFTs have better liquidity than traditional reward points.
Jay Hao, chief executive officer of OKX, a global cryptocurrency exchange, opines that food chains across the country have been “frontrunners” in adopting crypto for payments but the deployment of NFTs has added a new dimension to their marketing campaigns.
Kunal Verma, director of a Singapore-based NFT platform Yunometa, pointed out that food chains are targeting young investors with their new strategies.
“Fast food and cryptocurrency collaboration represent a perfect partnership to continue to appeal to younger investors while showcasing its wares. They are a great launchpad for bringing a mainstream appeal to crypto and looks like this trend is here to stay,” he said.
However, like any other engagement, this too comes with its own challenges.
On one hand, regulators are slowing down the process of a possibly huge collaboration as until crypto gets a green signal from the watchdogs, even private players will remain handheld.
Fear is that crypto winters can soon become crypto “ice-age” if the Federal Reserve continues tightening monetary policies.
On the other hand, not many customers are familiar with the metaverse yet. So, the food outlets need to keep rolling out campaigns intensively to attract customers.
Arijit Mukherjee, founder of Yunometa, believes that it would be a “real challenge” to convince diners to be a part of this ecosystem. While youngsters might get excited about the idea, it will take time to convince people of all age groups to come to terms with it.
But he also believes as soon as food tech and blockchain come together, which they already have in some ways through NFTs and metaverse projects, and find real-world use cases and rewards for their consumers, “we will begin to see the shift in momentum towards the industry really quickly.”
Meanwhile, as the cold is becoming unbearable, both outside and on the crypto chart, it’s a good opportunity to cuddle up in blankets, order hot food from your favorite restaurant, collect NFTs, and enjoy the winter season.
About the author
Anjali Kochhar covers cryptocurrency stories in India as well as globally. Having been in the field of media and journalism for over three years now, she has developed a sharp news sense and works hard to present information that goes beyond the obvious. She is an avid reader and loves writing on a wide range of subjects.