2021-02-25 08:00:00

As Restaurants Experiment with Cryptocurrency, Customers Aren’t


Michael Bozzelli is hell-bent on making it possible for customers at his restaurants to buy pizza and sandwiches with Dogecoin, a cryptocurrency with a Shiba Inu meme mascot. The co-owner of four locations of Bozzelli’s in the D.C. region takes his cues from Elon Musk. The man behind Tesla and SpaceX has been tweeting about Dogecoin with abandon this month, causing its price to skyrocket. “Elon understands its potential,” Bozzelli says. “His track record speaks for itself.” 

When Musk told his 48 million Twitter followers Dogecoin is the cryptocurrency “for the people” on Feb. 4, Bozzelli was awestruck. “Dogecoin is for the people and pizza has always been for the people,” Bozzelli says. “I love that for $20 we can feed a family. That’s the most meaningful thing about my business.” 

He thinks cryptocurrency, and Dogecoin in particular, is “the ultimate protest against disenfranchisement” and a “rigged financial system” that only works for elites and doesn’t give everyone an equal opportunity to achieve wealth. Right now you can use Dogecoin to tip users on Reddit. Or you can book a room at this Swiss hotel

A cryptocurrency is a digital currency in which transactions are verified and recorded using blockchain technology. It’s decentralized, meaning there’s no regulating authority such as the government of any one nation. The most well known cryptocurrency is Bitcoin, which was created in 2009. Bitcoin’s price as of Feb. 25 is $50,735.99. Dogecoin’s is $0.054.

Neeraj Agrawal, a spokesperson for D.C.-based think tank Coin Center, calls cryptocurrency “cash for the internet” and explains how transactions work. “Right now there are two main ways to buy—cash or credit card,” he says. “With cash, the transaction is settled immediately. With a credit card, a payment goes through a complex system of intermediaries before it’s settled. Bitcoin is a lot more like cash. You tell the network where you’re sending money. It broadcasts the transaction and coins are moved from my account to your account. No company in the middle can interrupt that.” 

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