In El Salvador, McDonald’s now accepts bitcoin payments. Bitcoin payment processor OpenNode announced on Tuesday, September 7 that the Quick Service Restaurant (QSR) will accept cryptocurrency at its 19 restaurants across the country.
The news follows an announcement by Quiznos last month that the sandwich chain would accept bitcoin in certain locations in Colorado through the Bakkt digital asset marketplace. In the spring, Landry’s, the company behind more than a dozen well-known restaurant chains, including Bubba Gump Shrimp Company, Rainforest Cafe, Joe’s Crab Shack, and Morton’s The Steakhouse, announced it would accept bitcoin in its restaurants. In 2017, Burger King announced that it was launching a “Whoppercoin” cryptocurrency on its Russian sites. (By fall 2019, Whoppercoin’s value had dropped to zero.)
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However, it is possible that the economy of restaurants accepting crypto payments, and particularly bitcoin payments, for purchases as small as fast food orders, may not work in the long run.
“If you wanted to buy a cup of coffee with bitcoin, this transaction could cost you $ 20 (in network fees),” Keith Johnson, managing director of Ternio, said in an interview with PYMNTS earlier this year. “In addition, there is a speed issue that needs to be addressed, as the transaction with BTC requires updating the blockchain with a number of confirmations, which takes time. In times of severe network congestion, this can take hours.
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Still, demand exists among crypto owners, although these represent only a small portion of all consumers. The May 2021 PYMNTS 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 have said they currently own cryptocurrency, while 84% have never owned crypto. Of those owners, nearly a quarter had previously purchased from restaurants or food delivery services using cryptocurrency, and 53% said they would consider making such purchases in the future.
Additionally, data from the July edition of the report reveals that, for consumers who would shop at restaurants or food delivery services using cryptocurrency, about a third would do so to secure their financial transactions, 35 % would do this to make online payments. more efficient, and a similar share would do so to pay for lower online transaction costs.
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McDonald’s decision to accept bitcoin in El Salvador comes after the announcement on Tuesday that the country has become the first in the world to accept bitcoin as a national currency. The country bought $ 21 million worth of bitcoin, and tweets from the country’s president, Nayib Bukele, indicate that the country plans to buy “a lot more” of cryptocurrency in the future.
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“We are incredibly excited to be working with McDonald’s to help make the country’s Bitcoin law passage an operational success,” said Julie Landrum, Head of Growth at OpenNode, in a statement. “It’s just a huge opportunity to demonstrate the power of [our] Lightning Network for high-volume, low-value everyday purchases from the world’s most popular and successful fast food chain. Clearly another important step on the path to the growth of the bitcoin economy. “