Signaling growing acceptance of digital currencies, crypto heads can now use their Bitcoin to buy burritos.
Chipotle Mexican Grill on Wednesday began accepting cryptocurrency in U.S. stores and online, including Bitcoin and other digital currencies, using Flexa, a payment provider that converts currencies.
Guests who want to pay using crypto need to download a Flexa-enabled app, such as Gemini or SPEDN, to pay. Flexa is offering a 10% discount at Chipotle stores for using the apps during the month of June (but offer does not apply online).
The announcement was made by Flexa, but Curt Garner, Chipotle’s chief technology officer, said in a statement, “We are constantly exploring innovation that will enhance our guest experience, and that now includes accepting digital currency payments with Flexa in Chipotle’s U.S. restaurants.”
Chipotle is among a small but growing number of retail brands accepting cryptocurrencies for payment, though generally through a third party that converts the digital assets into dollars. Other retailers include watch maker Tag Heuer and luxury brands Balenciaga and Gucci.
The carmaker Tesla reportedly accepted crypto payments for a period but stopped last year after federal officials said digital transactions of $10,000 or more had to be reported to the Internal Revenue Service for review.
Federal regulation on the issue is looming, with more than 50 bills reportedly in Congress that could fundamentally govern how digital assets can be used as legal tender.
Still, many restaurant companies are looking to tap into growing interest in the volatile world of cryptocurrency.
Starbucks for a couple years has been allowing loyalty members to load value from their digital assets onto their Rewards card using the digital wallet Bakkt.
Earlier this year, Starbucks also hinted at a planned move into the “digital third space” of Web3, saying the brand will be unveiling an NFT collection that could serve as an “access pass” to unlock experiences and perks. But more direct cryptocurrency as payment was not specifically mentioned.
Shake Shack in March tested the use of Bitcoin as a reward for customers who used the Cash App, offering a refund paid in the cryptocurrency instead of dollars.
The blockchains that fuel cryptocurrencies are known for using a tremendous amount of energy, earning a reputation as greenhouse gas producers. Flexa in press materials says it balances carbon emissions of its blockchain with carbon offsets.
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