Cryptocurrency is going mainstream whether you like it or not. This week Chipotle, purveyor of casual Mexican dining, has leaned all the way into the practical application of digital currency.
Customers can now purchase burritos, bowls, or whatever their hearts desires using Bitcoin. The fun doesn’t stop there, however, as Chipotle will accept up to 98 digital currencies that include Litecoin and Dogecoin through a partnership with Flexa, a digital payment system company.
The policy has gone into effect across Chipotle’s entire network of locations — in order to get started, users link their digital wallets with Flexa, select Chipotle within the app’s interface, and then complete their purchase with “a single scan.” According to Restaurant Business, a trade publication which first broke the news, the whole transaction can be processed in “under a second.”
Novelty or functional?— While this decision signals a larger faith placed in crypto writ large, it is unclear if people will actually transition towards using Bitcoin for daily expenses. A poll from Pew Research shows that 16 percent of Americans say they’ve either invested in, traded, or used cryptocurrency.
There’s also the whole idea of volatility within digital currencies, an idea that will be repeated ad nauseam whenever there’s an attempt at bringing crypto into the mainstream. Regardless, it still holds weight — the price of Bitcoin can fluctuate wildly in a very short period of time. The value of a single bitcoin today, will not be the same as it is tomorrow, let alone a week or two from now.
As Gizmodo pointed out, because the purchasing power of your crypto can vary unexpectedly it doesn’t make sense to purchase a single meal at Chipotle, when that same amount of digital currency could yield multiple meals less than 24 hours after the initial transaction.
Flexa will be settling transactions with Chipotle through either fiat or crypto, although at this moment it is unclear how the restaurant will choose to be compensated. This decision could shed even more light on the general attitude towards the application of digital currencies.