Bitcoin is making steps toward the mainstream, one burger at a time. Burger King restaurants are slated to begin to accept Bitcoin as a method of payment as early as this summer--although only in Russia. The news comes via Burger King officials and is reported by Coin Telegraph. One Moscow branch of the chain has already rolled out a Bitcoin payment method, and officials have confirmed that the pilot program will be expanded to cover the entire nation.
First Use of Bitcoin in Real World Applications in Russia
The Burger King franchise in Moscow, unidentified in news reports so far, has broken important ground in the country. It is the first official storefront to accept "Bitcoin payments for goods and services in Russia," according to Uznay Vse. In order to further implement the new payment system, Burger King is reportedly searching for an IT professional to assist in the expansion program around the rest of the country. Uznay Vse continues by stating that "several programs need to be written which will allow restaurant tills to speak to the Android and iOS apps and allow customers to pay with cryptocurrency." (Burger King is owned by Restaurant Brands International, Inc. (QSR)
The Latest Step Toward Russian Cryptocurrency Integration
Russia has recently shown that it is becoming more and more pro-cryptocurrency. Finance Ministry deputy Alexey Moiseev stated just days ago that digital currencies could be legally traded on Russian exchanges, provided that they were subject to "appropriate regulations."
According to Coin Idol, the General Director of Burger King Russia, Dmitry Medvedev, indicated that the company had plans to announce the winner of a plan to develop software to utilize Bitcoin payments by August 10. That IT company will then develop software so that customers can pay via Bitcoin through Burger King's website, through mobile apps, and at store cash registers.
Medvedev indicated that the primary challenge to the project at this point is tax issues, given that Russia has not yet defined certain parameters related to the legal status and tax system for cryptocurrencies. Reportedly, customers have also inquired with Burger King about the possibility of paying for their meals with Ethereum. A representative from Burger King indicated that the company will focus on those two cryptocurrencies in the earliest stages of the new plan.
Although Burger King's decision is momentous in Russia, the Moscow franchise is not, in fact, the first Burger King restaurant to accept Bitcoin payments. There is a Burger King branch in the Netherlands which has accepted Bitcoin payments since last year. So far, the trend has been slow to catch on in the United States. However, as discussion has turned toward cryptocurrency debit cards, there is new optimism that customers will be able to use their digital currency holdings in more real-world scenarios in the future.