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WhopperCoin: Burger King’s Very Own Cryptocurrency

August 31, 2017         By: Steven Anderson

While retailers and restaurants with their own mobile payments systems is nothing new, retailers incorporating cryptocurrency is a much different matter. It was a big deal at the time when Overstock.com started accepting bitcoin, and it recently branched out to take other cryptocurrencies as well. Now, we’ve got a different case, where a retailer is actually making its own cryptocurrency, and it’s none other than Burger King.

Dubbed the WhopperCoin—because of course it’s the WhopperCoin—the currency is almost set up like a rebate program with a bit of electronic edge. It’s currently only available in Russia, and customers are given one WhopperCoin for every ruble—just shy of $0.02 US as of this writing—that’s spent on Burger King products. Once customers have pulled together a hefty 1,700 WhopperCoins, they’ll be able to turn said coins in for a free Whopper.

Doing the math on that suggests that Burger King’s planning to fork over one Whopper for almost every $30 spent, which may make the ultimate promotional value of the WhopperCoin a bit sketchy. This isn’t just an oddly limited promotional event; Burger King’s setting up both Apple and Android apps that will allow users to both share and trade WhopperCoin, much like any other cryptocurrency.

It’s easy to think of this as a kind of tangible rewards point, with the big difference being that rewards points can’t be traded directly for cash. Theoretically, WhopperCoin could be. It could also be part of a hedging operation that trades WhopperCoin for, say, Nexus or for even Etherium or bitcoin outright. At the same time, one can’t help but wonder, when does McDonald’s come out with MacCoin? When does Wendy’s come out with DaveCoin or FreckleCoin? Surely no Burger King competitor can let this stand unchallenged for long.

Are we witnessing the start of an era where every restaurant, every retailer has its own cryptocurrency? Maybe, maybe not; if WhopperCoin doesn’t get out of Russia it will likely go unanswered. The possibility, however, remains that we could see a lot more cryptocurrency in play in short order. That in turn could have some very unexpected consequences for the entire field of cryptocurrency in general.