The popular Mexican fast-food chain Chipotle is now accepting cryptocurrency payments through digital payment provider Flexa at all of its over 2,950 United States-based restaurants.
Flexa announced the partnership on Wednesday which will see Chipotle accept all the 98 cryptocurrencies Flexa currently supports including Bitcoin (BTC), Ether (ETH) and seven U.S. dollar-pegged stablecoins like USD Coin (USDC). Chipotle’s website does not contain any information on the announcement, however.
The fast-food giant is the latest Flexa partner joining other large businesses such as cinema operator Regal Theaters and Bancoagrícola, El Salvador’s largest financial institution, where Flexa enables both retail and merchant Bitcoin transactions for the bank’s customers.
Chipotle has briefly experimented with cryptocurrencies in the past. In April 2021 to celebrate National Burrito Day, it gave away $100,000 worth of Bitcoin along with free burritos and claimed it was the first U.S. restaurant brand to offer a crypto giveaway.
For the so-called “chiptocurrency” giveaway, Chipotle partnered with former Ripple chief technology officer Stefan Thomas, creating a game where players guessed a code possibly winning either a burrito or up to $25,000 worth of Bitcoin.
The game parodied Thomas’ experience of losing over 7,000 BTC due to forgetting the password for his crypto wallet which today would be worth over $208 million.
Other fast food names have explored or signaled interest in crypto and metaverse applications for their brands. Burger King partnered with trading platform Robinhood in Nov 2021 and gave away free Dogecoin (DOGE) BTC and ETH with meal purchases.
McDonald’s, known for poking fun at Crypto Twitter, filed multiple trademark applications in February including plans for “a virtual restaurant featuring actual and virtual goods” in the Metaverse and “operating a virtual restaurant featuring home delivery.”
With crypto adoption in the U.S. remaining high despite market turbulence, merchants have expressed a desire to implement payment solutions to capture the growing interest.
A Crypto.com global survey of merchants released in February showed only 4% were already accepting cryptocurrency payments, but nearly 60% of merchants responded with interest in accepting crypto payments within the next year.
Although enthusiasm from merchants overall was high, only around 25% of the hospitality industry respondents were keen on crypto payment adoption.