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Friday, September 1, 2017

Burger King unveils Whoppercoin in Russia

Burger King Russia issued a billion Whoppercoins on Aug. 25, 2017, the first quick service restaurant (QSR) to cash in on the global initial coin offering (ICO) craze. The fast food giant, in partnership with Moscow-based Waves Platform, will use blockchain technology to drive store traffic and customer loyalty, the company stated.

Ivan Shestov, Head of External Communications at Burger King Russia, expects the program to expand beyond Russia's borders. "Now Whopper is not only a burger that people in 90 different countries love; it's also an investment tool," he stated. "As cryptocurrencies continue to increase in value, eating Whoppers today is a strategy for financial prosperity tomorrow."

"We are glad that Burger King Russia has chosen Waves as a platform for its loyalty program launch and Whoppercoin distribution," added Max Pertsovskiy, Chief Business Development Officer of Waves Platform. "We are sure that this decision will promote blockchain technology in Russia and will enable the promotion of its benefits and possibilities for a wide audience."

Mobile app to follow

Burger King franchisee Burger Rus opened the first Russian restaurant in 2010. It entered a joint venture with Burger King Corp. in 2012 that was designed to expand the company's national presence. Today, Burger King Russia has QSRs in 475 locations; Moscow, St. Petersburg, Rostov-on-Don, Sochi, Yekaterinburg, Samara, Surgut, Ufa, Omsk and Novosibirsk are among them. Burger King Corp., Burger Rus and select franchisees are reportedly working with Russian investment bank VTB Capital to open several hundred more stores over the next few years.

Customers at participating locations receive "vopperkoyiny" with each purchase, based on the amount of the check. Once they accumulate 1,700 Whoppercoins, customers can convert them to a free whopper. While the company has suggested the coins may appreciate in value, it has made no other claims beyond a general statement and has not encouraged consumers to hoard the coins or use them for barter.

Customers can apply for Whoppercoins by emailing a scanned receipt or manually entered, one-time code to whoppercoin@burgerking.ru. Burger King will continue to process transfers manually until the Whoppercoin mobile app is ready. The app, which is being tested, will facilitate Whoppercoin transfers at the POS, and be available in the Apple Store and Google Play, the company stated.

Who will be next?

Payments analysts expect Burger King's foray into the blockchain will spawn an array of proprietary cryptocurrency schemes in the QSR industry. Some suggest it may pour more gas on the worldwide ICO frenzy. "It's only a matter of time before an old-school, American payment provider decides to totally reinvent itself and 'cash out' by creating some sort of ICO," said George Sarantopoulos, Chief Executive Officer of Access One Solutions, a retail ATM company that deploys bitcoin and traditional ATMs.

Sarantopoulos, who also chairs the National ATM Council, has been monitoring bitcoin adoption in the United States. "Bitcoins are growing in value and looking for new homes," he stated. "I know a programmer who purchased 100 bitcoins when they were only worth a couple of dollars each; his investment is now worth about $450,000." end of article

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