Inside the crypto restaurant after the crypto crash: When the Bored & Hungry burger joint first debuted in Long Beach in April, the restaurant didn’t merely embrace the trappings of crypto culture in its decor. It was completely committed to the digital currency aspect as well.
Bored Apes, those cartoon monkeys that celebrities like Paris Hilton and Post Malone have pitched as six-figure investments, were plastered all over the mugs and platters, and the walls were adorned with references to rockets and bulls that were reminiscent of internet memes. However, diners were also given the option to pay for their meals using cryptocurrency as an alternative payment method. The eatery, rather than just talking about accepting bitcoin, actually started accepting it.
That is not the case any longer not even three months later, in the middle of a crisis in the cryptocurrency market that has some investors seeking the exit door.
While a cashier was recently stamping paper bags with the restaurant’s logo during a pause in the lunch rush on a recent afternoon, twin menus hanging over his head listed Bored & Hungry’s meat-based and vegan selections, respectively, and displayed prices solely in traditional U.S. dollars.
The price of a Smashburger is $9.25. Fries with pepper seasoning cost $3.50 per. A cup of Coke with an ape design will set you back $3.50.
The popup advertised that it will make history by accepting Ethereum and apecoin as payment, although neither of these cryptocurrencies was mentioned anywhere in the text.
Andy Nguyen, the owner, was also not there. He did not react to any of the numerous emails that were sent to him inquiring about the change.
However, a staff member who would not disclose their name stated that the shop does not take payments in cryptocurrencies at this time. “Not today—I don’t know,” they responded, declining to clarify how long ago the business stopped taking cryptocurrency payments or whether that option will eventually be reinstated. “Not today,” they continued, “I don’t know.”
Given that the value of both coins has decreased by more than 60 percent since the beginning of April and that their value has been subject to swings of more than ten percent during the day, it is easy to see why any company would be hesitant to accept them in place of dollars. However, usefulness might also be a consideration. During the grand launch of the restaurant, a member of the staff commented to The Times that the cryptocurrency payments were cumbersome and that most guests chose not to use them.
After nearly three months had passed, it was difficult to find a customer who cared much either way about the restaurant’s commitment to the crypto cause.
“Yes, ethereum is a currency in the sense that you can swap non-fungible tokens and other goods with it… “but as far as buying food and all that, maybe not,” said one crypto-enthusiast diner while he munched on fries outside the eatery. Marc Coloma. “Ethereum is something that people wish to keep in their possession. They are not going to be interested in making use of it.”
Michael Powers, 46 years old and from Long Beach, was not as informed. Although the ape-themed signage is what initially drew him in, he didn’t realize the restaurant was NFT-themed until his boys revealed it to him. He estimates that he visits Bored & Hungry as much as two or three times each week.
An investment that Powers made in the cryptocurrency dogecoin, which was championed by Elon Musk, did not turn out well, and Powers does not intend to make another attempt in the cryptocurrency space. He remarked, “I’ve had my fill” of crypto, but not of the burgers, which give a posh take on In-N-“animal Out’s style” sandwiches and are delicious. “I’ve had my fill” of crypto. (The chopped onions and creamy sauce are a great addition that, by the way, are not susceptible to value fluctuations that are extreme or exorbitant transaction fees.)
During the four-hour wait for Bored & Hungry’s grand opening, another resident of Long Beach named Richard Rubalcaba, who is thirty years old, stated that he invested in Ethereum after meeting other people who were interested in investing in cryptocurrencies. However, he paid in United States dollars during this tour as well.
“I don’t know how [crypto purchases] would work, given the crash,” he said. “I don’t know how [crypto purchases] would work.”
The cryptocurrency ecosystem is currently experiencing a free-fall, with prominent organizations either taking extreme measures to avert a catastrophe or just ceasing operations altogether, while the value of cryptocurrencies itself continues to plummet.
The value of Ethereum and apecoin, the two digital currencies that Bored & Hungry first accepted, has decreased by around 23 percent and 17 percent, respectively, compared to their all-time highs over the course of the past year. According to certain estimations, the total value of the industry will be significantly lower than what it was at the beginning of 2022.
In addition, the non-fungible tokens that are the foundation of the Bored & Hungry brand have not been immune to this issue. Bored Apes is a sort of digital trading card series that is structured around pictures of anthropomorphic monkeys. Its owners include celebrities such as Justin Bieber and Snoop Dogg, and some of its cards have fetched prices in the millions of dollars. Despite this, they are now subject to the same forces from the market as the rest of the crypto economy.
The price of the cheapest available NFT in the series, also known as the “floor,” has dropped below $100,000 for the first time since the summer of last year, as reported by the cryptocurrency news outlet Decrypt. Additionally, the value of the project as a whole has reportedly recently decreased by approximately fifty percent over the course of one month.
That simply makes the need to recruit new customers into the ape “community” that much more pressing.
Lindsey, 33, from San Pedro, said she didn’t know anything about cryptocurrency but came to Bored & Hungry because she’s a fan of the vegan burger brand it carries. Lindsey arrived to Bored & Hungry because she was bored and hungry. She stated that the event that took place at the restaurant inspired her to gain additional knowledge regarding the ecosystem.
Lindsey, who declined to disclose her last name, stated, “I’m quite outside of the realm of cryptocurrency and all that stuff,” and continued by saying, “so I’m absolutely going to go home and Google that.”
Nick Jackson, a local resident who is 29 years old, stated that his primary hobby is collecting Yu-Gi-Oh trading cards. However, he mentioned that his past visits to Bored & Hungry inspired him to begin exploring Ethereum and apecoin as well.
Jessica Perez, 24, from Gardena does not follow cryptocurrency either, yet she was at Bored & Hungry for a second time. She and her pals are fans of the burgers, and she expressed their approval by saying, “We put this up there with In-N-Out, maybe even better.”
Although Perez does not currently have any intentions to invest in cryptocurrency, she claims that she is open to the idea. According to what she said, the restaurant “is a terrific method to promote cryptocurrency.”
It’s possible that this was what was going through Nguyen’s mind when he dropped more than $330,000 on the assortment of ape NFTs that are now on display in his restaurant.
Skeptics of cryptocurrencies have been warning for a long time that someone will be responsible for cleaning up when the hype cycle has run its course. It would be preferable if that bag contained a hamburger and some fries rather than nothing at all.