The crypto-themed eating place that now not accepts crypto

When Bored & Hungry first opened in Long Beach in April, the burger joint didn’t simply include the aesthetics of crypto tradition. It was once all-in at the virtual cash phase too.

Sure, meme-y references to rockets and bulls dotted the partitions, and Bored Apes — the ones caricature monkeys that celebrities akin to Paris Hilton and Post Malone have touted as six-figure investments — coated the cups and trays. But consumers have been additionally introduced the method to pay for his or her foods in cryptocurrency. The eating place was once striking its bitcoin the place its mouth was once, as a way to talk.

Not even 3 months later, in the course of a crypto crash that has some traders in search of the door, this is now not the case.

During a lull within the lunch rush one contemporary afternoon, as a cashier stamped paper luggage with the fast-food spot’s emblem, dual menus striking over his head — checklist Bored & Hungry’s meat-based and vegan choices, respectively — confirmed costs best in out of date U.S. greenbacks.

A smashburger: $9.25. Pepper-seasoned fries: $3.50. An ape-themed cup of soda: $3.50.

Missing: any point out of ethereum or apecoin, the 2 currencies the popup boasted it will make historical past via accepting as fee.

Also lacking: proprietor Andy Nguyen, who didn’t reply to repeated emails asking in regards to the trade.

But an worker who declined to present their title stated that the shop wasn’t accepting crypto bills. “Not as of late — I don’t know,” they stated, declining to elucidate how way back the shop stopped accepting crypto or whether or not that possibility will in the end go back.

With each cash down greater than 60% since early April and present process double-digit intra-day swings, it will be comprehensible for any trade to be reluctant to simply accept them in lieu of greenbacks. But application can also be an element. At the eating place’s grand opening, a staffer advised The Times that the crypto bills have been unwieldy and going in large part unnoticed via consumers.

Restaurateur Andy Nguyen says he paid greater than $330,000 for the other ape-themed NFTs that shape the foundation of his eating place’s logo.

(Brian Contreras / Los Angeles Times)

Nearly 3 months later, it was once exhausting to discover a patron who cared a lot somehow in regards to the eating place’s constancy to the crypto motive.

“Yes, ethereum is a forex in some way the place you’ll be able to trade [non-fungible tokens, or] NFTs and stuff … however so far as purchasing meals and all that, perhaps now not,” one crypto-enthusiast diner, Marc Coloma, stated as he munched on fries out of doors the eating place. “People need to grasp onto their ethereum. They’re now not gonna need to use it.”

Michael Powers, 46, of Long Beach was once much less within the loop. He involves Bored & Hungry so much — as steadily as two or thrice every week, he estimated — however despite the fact that the ape-themed signage was once what first drew him in, he didn’t know the spot was once NFT-themed till his sons defined it to him.

Powers’ one foray into crypto, an funding within the Elon Musk-promoted forex dogecoin, didn’t finish neatly, and he doesn’t plan on attempting once more. “I’ve had my fill” of crypto, he stated — although now not of the burgers, which give an upscale riff on In-N-Out’s “animal taste” sandwiches. (The chopped onions and creamy sauce are a pleasing contact that, by the way, isn’t topic to wild swings in worth or exorbitant transaction charges.)

Another Long Beach native, 30-year-old Richard Rubalcaba, stated he purchased into ethereum after assembly different crypto traders all through the four-hour stay up for Bored & Hungry’s grand opening. But in this seek advice from he too paid in U.S. greenbacks.

“I don’t know the way [crypto purchases] would paintings, with the crash,” he stated.

The crypto ecosystem is these days in free-fall, with high-profile firms both taking drastic steps to stave off disaster or just collapsing altogether, whilst cryptocurrencies themselves plunge in worth.

The two e-currencies that Bored & Hungry to start with authorized, ethereum and apecoin, are all the way down to about 23% and 17% in their highs during the last yr, respectively. Estimates put all of the sector at price lower than a 3rd of what it was once in early 2022.

Nor have the non-fungible tokens that shape the spine of Bored & Hungry’s logo been immune. A type of virtual buying and selling card collection constructed round drawings of anthropomorphic monkeys, Bored Apes depend the likes of Justin Bieber and Snoop Dogg amongst their homeowners; some have offered for tens of millions of greenbacks. Yet they’re now dealing with the similar marketplace pressures as the remainder of the crypto economic system.

According to the crypto information outlet Decrypt, the most cost effective to be had NFT within the collection (this is, the “ground”) has fallen underneath $100,000 for the primary time since final summer time, and the venture as a complete just lately noticed its worth roughly halved over the process a month.

That best raises the urgency of having new patrons into the ape “group.”

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

Diners can get meat-based or veggie burgers at Bored & Hungry — but if a reporter requested if cryptocurrency might be used to pay, he was once advised no.

(Brian Contreras / Los Angeles Times)

One buyer — Lindsey, 33, of San Pedro — stated she didn’t know anything else about crypto however got here to Bored & Hungry as a result of she’s keen on the vegan burger logo it carries. But, she stated, the scene on the eating place made her need to be informed extra in regards to the ecosystem.

“I’m lovely out of doors the sector of cryptocurrency and all that stuff,” stated Lindsey, who declined to present her final title, “so I’m surely gonna move house and Google that.”

Another native, Nick Jackson, 29, stated he’s extra into amassing Yu-Gi-Oh buying and selling playing cards — however added that earlier visits to Bored & Hungry precipitated him to begin researching ethereum and apecoin too.

Jessica Perez, 24, of Gardena doesn’t practice cryptocurrency both however was once making a comeback shuttle to Bored & Hungry. She and her pals just like the burgers, she stated: “We charge this up there with In-N-Out, perhaps even higher.”

Perez doesn’t have any quick plans to spend money on crypto however says she would imagine it. The eating place “is an effective way to advertise cryptocurrency,” she stated.

Perhaps that was once what Nguyen was once considering when he spent greater than $330,000 at the more than a few ape NFTs on show at his eating place.

Crypto skeptics have lengthy warned that anyone would get left preserving the bag when the hype cycle performed itself out. Better that bag will have to include a burger and fries than not anything in any respect.

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