A Crypto Restaurant That No Longer Accepts Cryptocurrency

When bored and hungry first opened in Long Beach in April, a burger joint didn’t just embrace the aesthetics of cryptoculture. It was all-in and in terms of digital money.

Of course, memes are references to rockets as well as bulls The walls were littered with dots, and the Bored Monkeys are those cartoon monkeys that celebrities like Paris Hilton and Post Malone have. advertised covered cups and trays as six-figure investments. But customers were also offered the option to pay for meals in cryptocurrency. The restaurant put their bitcoins into their mouths, so to speak.

Less than three months later, in the midst of a crypto crash that has forced some investors to look for a way out, this is no longer the case.

One afternoon, during a lull in the lunch turmoil, when the cashier was stamping paper bags with the logo of a fast food establishment, double menus hung over his head – listing Bored & Hungry meat and vegan options respectively – prices listed only in old prices. – trendy us dollars.

Smashburger: $9.25 French fries with peppers: $3.50 Monkey-style cup of soda: $3.50

Missing: any mention of ethereum or apecoin, the two currencies that the pop-up boasted about, they will go down in history by accepting them as payment.

Also missing is owner Andy Nguyen, who did not respond to repeated emails asking for a change.

But the employee, who declined to give his name, said the store does not accept crypto payments. “Not today – I don’t know,” they said, declining to elaborate on how long ago the store stopped accepting cryptocurrencies or if the option would eventually return.

With both coins down over 60% since early April and experiencing double-digit intraday fluctuations, it would be understandable for any business to be reluctant to accept them instead of dollars. But utility can also be a factor. At the grand opening of the restaurant, an employee said the Times that crypto payments were cumbersome and largely ignored by customers.

Crypto-themed interior of Bored & Hungry restaurant.

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

(Brian Contreras/Los Angeles Times)

Nearly three months later, it was hard to find a patron who cared one way or another about the restaurant’s allegiance to the cryptocurrency cause.

“Yes, Ethereum is a currency that you can exchange [non-fungible tokens, or] NFTs and stuff… but as far as buying food and stuff, maybe not,” said one crypto-enthusiast diner, Mark Coloma, munching on French fries outside a restaurant. “People want to keep their Ethereum. They won’t want to use it.”

Long Beach’s Michael Powers, 46, was less interested in the situation. He frequents Bored & Hungry—two or three times a week, he estimates—but while the monkey-themed signs were what attracted him in the first place, he didn’t know the place was about NFTs until his sons explained. this is for him.

One of Powers’ forays into crypto, an investment in the dogecoin currency promoted by Elon Musk, did not end well, and he has no plans to try again. “I’m fed up” with cryptocurrencies, he said, but not with burgers that offer high-end riff on “animal-style” In-N-Out sandwiches. (Sliced ​​onion and cream sauce is a nice touch, which, by the way, is not subject to sharp fluctuations in price or exorbitant transaction costs.)

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

“I do not know how [crypto purchases] will work, with a crash,” he said.

The crypto ecosystem is now in free fallwhen well-known companies either take drastic steps to avert disaster or simply go bankrupt, while cryptocurrencies themselves fall in price.

The two e-currencies originally accepted by Bored & Hungry, ethereum as well as a monkey, have fallen to about 23% and 17% from their highs over the past year, respectively. The entire sector is estimated to be worth less than a third of what it was at the start of 2022.

The non-fungible tokens that form the basis of the Bored & Hungry brand are also not insured. Something like a series of digital trading cards built around drawings of anthropomorphic apes, Bored Apes includes the likes of Justin Bieber and Snoop Dogg. owners; some sold for millions dollars. But now they face the same market pressure like the rest of cryptoeconomics.

According to crypto news publication Decrypt, the cheapest available NFT in the series (i.e. “floor”) has fallen below $100,000 for the first time since last summer, and the cost of the project as a whole has fallen by about half lately. during the month.

This only increases the need to attract new buyers to the “community” of monkeys.

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

Diners can buy meat or veggie burgers at Bored & Hungry, but when a reporter asked if crypto could be used to pay, he was told no.

(Brian Contreras/Los Angeles Times)

One client, Lindsey, 33, from San Pedro, said she didn’t know anything about crypto but came to Bored & Hungry because she’s a fan of the vegan burger brand it offers. But she says the restaurant scene made her want to learn more about the ecosystem.

“I’m completely new to the world of cryptocurrencies and all that,” said Lindsey, who declined to give her last name, “so I’ll definitely go home and google.”

Another local resident, 29-year-old Nick Jackson, said he was more into collecting Yu-Gi-Oh cards, but added that previous visits to Bored & Hungry had prompted him to also start exploring Ethereum and Apecoin.

Jessica Perez of Gardena, 24, doesn’t follow cryptocurrencies either, but has returned to Bored & Hungry. She and her friends love burgers, she said, “We rate it there with In-N-Out, maybe even better.”

Perez has no immediate plans to invest in crypto, but she says she will consider it. According to her, the restaurant “is a good way to promote cryptocurrency.”

Perhaps this was what Nguyen was thinking when he over $330,000 on various simian NFTs on display at his restaurant.

Crypto skeptics have long warned that someone will be left with a bag when the hype cycle is over. It’s better to have a hamburger and fries in this bag than nothing at all.