Burger King Russia launches “Whoppercoin”, accepts crypto as payment method

Burger King Russia launches “Whoppercoin”, accepts crypto as payment method

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Whoppercoin is a cryptocurrency made by Burger King which can be traded for Whoppers.

Ever get tired of using retailers’ loyalty apps or punch cards? Wouldn’t you much prefer a more complicated system that incorporates tech-buzzwords and hype?

Why not try using a cryptocurrency loyalty program instead? That’s the bold vision behind Whoppercoin, Burger King Russia’s new cryptocurrency loyalty program combining blockchain technology with the humble Whopper burger.

Chomping On Whoppers Counts As Mining Whoppercoin

For each ruble spent at Burger King locations in Russia, diners will get a quantity of Whoppercoin sent to their digital wallet via Waves, provided that they have the Burger King app and register the transaction.

Whoppercoins are backed by a guarantee from Burger King that for enough Whoppercoins, users can cash them in for an actual Whopper to enjoy for “free”. The BBC’s estimate puts the payoff ratio at about one free Whopper bought using roughly 1700 Whoppercoins accrued from five or six Whoppers bought with rubles at the current cost of a Whopper.

Given that the ruble has a history of fluctuating wildly, it’s possible that Burger King’s Whoppercoin campaign could backfire in the face of flash volatility, but price controls by Burger King could easily circumvent this risk.

Reinventing The Loyalty Card?

Burger King uses Waves to run the backend of Whoppercoin, and it’s clear that the entire endeavor is a publicity stunt rather than a genuinely innovative cryptocurrency. The technical specifications of Whoppercoin like block size and update rate are unknown as of this point—most likely because Burger King’s target audience doesn’t care, so long as they can trade Whoppercoins for Whoppers.

Like nearly all cryptocurrencies, Whoppercoin uses a blockchain to track how many coins are in each wallet, but there are few other similarities. It’s unlikely that users will be able to develop additional apps to run on top of the Whoppercoin protocol.

Indeed, Whoppercoin is akin to frequent flyer miles rather than a genuine cryptocurrency. Whoppercoins are supposedly tradeable between wallets, though there’s no major exchange that lists Whoppercoin as of yet. Whoppercoins can be traded via the Waves platform, but trading volume is, shall we say, quite anemic.

But that hasn’t stopped a few hopefuls from trying to leverage the cryptocurrency angle of Whoppercoin into something greater, however.

Whoppercoins As An Investment Instrument

Multiple publications quoted Ivan Shestov, head of communications at Burger King Russia as stating, “Now a Whopper is not only a burger that people in 90 different countries love—it’s an investment tool as well. According to the forecasts, cryptocurrency will increase exponentially in value.” It’s unclear which forecasts Shestov is referring to, perhaps unintentionally. Marketing language aside, the Whoppercoin is a deflationary cryptocurrency, so its value could increase over time.

There are only one billion Whoppercoins in existence, which should be more than enough to provide for the Russian public’s rate of Whopper consumption. Shestov is clearly banking on the common cryptocurrency idea that a finite pool of coins disbursed grants inherent rarity and value to the cryptocurrency.

Shestov’s claim that Whoppercoin is a valid investment tool rightly deserves ridicule, however. Though cryptocurrencies themselves are experiencing a period of high popularity, most traders and cryptocurrency insiders understand that the vast majority of coins go nowhere price wise.

What’s Next On Whoppercoin’s Plate?

It’s anyone’s guess as to whether Whoppercoin will be extinct within a year, or whether it’ll expand beyond the Russian market. But could Whoppercoin experience a paradoxical hype-fueled “flight to the moon” along the lines of Dogecoin?

Whoppercoin has an undeniable fun factor, but the primary limitations that it currently faces are its isolation to Russia and a lack of any reason for peer to peer trading of Whoppercoin.

Much like other restaurant loyalty points systems, there’s no incentive to trade between strangers, and trades between friends are typically a more informal “I’ll use my points, and you can pay me back” setup. Cryptocurrency traders will likely retain a pittance of Whoppercoins for their portfolio as a hedge against improbable spikes in value, and refrain from active trading or even paying attention to its price.

There’s a major catch that might stop Whoppercoin quickly, too: Burger King establishments worldwide don’t yet distribute Whoppercoin, meaning that only Russians can accrue it. It’s clear that this prevents any kind of arbitrage opportunity for Whoppers between markets.

Burger King has only existed in Russia since 2010, meaning that it’s still relatively new there. BK’s entry into Russia has been met with success, and they’ve since continued their aggressive expansion there.

In 2015, BK reported over 500 locations in Russia, so Whoppercoin has a fighting chance as far as gaining traction is concerned.