The crypto-themed restaurant that no longer accepts crypto

When bored and hungry opened for the first time in Long Beach in April, the burger joint not only embraced the aesthetics of cryptographic culture. It was also all within the digital money part.

Of course, references to memes rockets e bulls they splashed the walls, and Bored Apes — those cartoon monkeys that celebrities like Paris Hilton and Post Malone presented as six-figure investments — covered the cups and trays. But customers were also offered the option to pay for their meals in cryptocurrency. The restaurant was putting its bitcoin where its mouth was, so to speak.

Not even three months later, in the midst of a cryptocurrency crash that causes some investors to search the door, it is no longer so.

One recent afternoon, during a lunch break, when a cashier stamped paper bags with the logo of the fast food place, the twin menus hanging over his head, listing Bored & Hungry’s meat-and-vegan options, respectively, they showed prices only in the former. – fashionable US dollars.

A smashburger: $ 9.25. Chips seasoned with pepper: $ 3.50. A monkey-themed soda cup: $ 3.50.

Missing: Any mention of ethereum or apecoin, the two coins he boasted of emerging would make history by accepting as payment.

Also missing: owner Andy Nguyen, who did not respond to repeated emails asking about the change.

But an employee who refused to give his name said the store did not accept cryptographic payments. “No today, I don’t know,” they said, refusing to clarify how long ago the store stopped accepting crypto or whether that option will eventually return.

With both currencies more than 60% since early April and undergoing double-digit intraday changes, it would be understandable for any company to resist accepting them instead of dollars. But utility can also be a factor. At the grand opening of the restaurant, an employee told The Times that cryptographic payments were difficult to handle and that customers largely ignored them.

Restaurateur Andy Nguyen says he paid more than $ 330,000 for the various monkey-themed NFTs that form the basis of his restaurant’s brand.

(Brian Contreras / Los Angeles Times)

Almost three months later, it was difficult to find a pattern that cared much in one way or another about the restaurant’s fidelity to the cryptographic cause.

“Yes, ethereum is a currency in which you can change [non-fungible tokens, or] NFTs and stuff … but when it comes to buying food and all that, maybe not, ”said a crypto-enthusiastic diner, Marc Coloma, as he ate chips outside the restaurant.“ People want to keep their ethereum. They will not want to use it. “

Michael Powers, 46, of Long Beach was less informed. He often comes to Bored & Hungry, as he estimated two or three times a week, but although the monkey-themed signage was what first attracted him, he didn’t know the place was NFT-themed until his kids explained it to him.

Powers ’foray into crypto, an investment in dogonin currency promoted by Elon Musk, didn’t end well and he doesn’t plan to try again. “I filled up” with crypto, he said, though not from the burgers, which offer an exclusive riff of In-N-Out’s “animal-style” sandwiches. (Chopped onions and creamy sauce are a nice touch that, by the way, isn’t subject to exorbitant value variations or transaction fees).

Another Long Beach local, 30-year-old Richard Rubalcaba, said he bought Ethereum after meeting other crypto investors during the four-hour wait for the grand opening of Bored & Hungry. But on this visit he also paid in US dollars.

“I do not know how [crypto purchases] it would work, with the accident, ”he said.

The cryptographic ecosystem is currently in free fallwith high-profile companies taking drastic measures to avert disaster or simply collapsing completely while cryptocurrencies themselves dive into value.

The two electronic currencies that Bored & Hungry initially accepted, ethereal e apecoin, have dropped to 23% and 17% of their highs over the past year, respectively. Estimates place the entire sector at less than a third of what it had in early 2022.

The non-fungal chips that make up the backbone of the Bored & Hungry brand were also not immune. A sort of digital trading card series built around anthropomorphic monkey designs, Bored Apes features Justin Bieber and Snoop Dogg among his own. owners; some sold by million of dollars. However, they now face the same market pressures like the rest of the cryptographic economy.

According to cryptographic news media Decrypt, the cheapest available NFT in the series (i.e., the “floor”) has fallen below $ 100,000 for the first time since last summer, and the project as a whole has recently seen its value reduced by approximately halfway through last year. course of a month.

That only increases the urgency of getting new buyers into the “community” of monkeys.

The exterior of the Bored & Hungry fast food place in Long Beach.

Diners can get meat or vegetable-based burgers at Bored & Hungry, but when a reporter asked if the cryptocurrency could be used to pay, he said no.

(Brian Contreras / Los Angeles Times)

One customer, 33-year-old Lindsey of St. Peter’s, said she didn’t know anything about crypto, but came to Bored & Hungry because she’s a fan of the vegan burger brand she carries. But, he said, the restaurant scene made him want to learn more about the ecosystem.

“I’m pretty much out of the world of cryptocurrencies and all that stuff,” said Lindsey, who declined to give her last name, “so I’m definitely going to go home and Google that.”

Another local, Nick Jackson, 29, said he prefers to collect Yu-Gi-Oh trading cards, but added that previous visits to Bored & Hungry led him to start researching ethereum and apecoin as well.

Jessica Perez, 24, of Gardena doesn’t follow cryptocurrency either, but she was making a trip back to Bored & Hungry. She and her friends like burgers, she said, “We rated this up there with In-N-Out, maybe even better.”

Perez has no immediate plans to invest in crypto, but says he would consider it. The restaurant “is a great way to promote cryptocurrency,” he said.

Maybe that was what Nguyen thought when he spent more than $ 330,000 about the various NFT monkeys on display in his restaurant.

Cryptoceptics have long warned that someone would be left holding the bag when the advertising cycle unfolds. Better that bag should contain a burger and fries than anything.

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