It is true that we are living in unprecedented times at the moment, where the normal order of business and day-to-day life has been completely changed, perhaps for ever. In such situations, it is not unusual for people and businesses to take decisions which may seem odd or counterproductive at the time, but may actually make sense down the road. One such example can be seen in the case of the Canadian restaurant chain Tahinis, which recently tweeted that it had converted its entire cash reserves into bitcoin.
Tahinis is a small Middle Eastern restaurant chain, which started out in London, Ontario, and has four corporate locations and three franchise locations. The owner of the chain, Omar Hamam, said that he had to let a lot of staff members go in March as the pandemic grew and lockdowns were imposed. However, all of the restaurants stayed cash-flow positive. The current situation with the government’s assistance programs have made it difficult for him to bring employees back, as they are making more money sitting at home than they were while working. This led him to question the value of cash, that with more cash circulating in the economy, its value would eventually fall. Hamam’s interest in bitcoin was piqued when he heard of legendary investor Warren Buffet calling it ‘rat poison’, and he finally came to the conclusion that bitcoin was a free savings medium, while the global financial system was a game of ‘musical chairs’, which would eventually leave some people out when the music stopped. The company thus made the move to convert all its savings into bitcoin, and have stated that they will continue to do so, perhaps in perpetuity if they feel that they do not need cash anymore.
This is an extremely interesting viewpoint, and reflects a growing trend where more and more people are getting curious about bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies, and investing in them as well. Canada is already one of the countries where bitcoin is extremely popular, with many online portals and service providers allowed to offer cryptocurrencies as payment methods. There are many bitcoin casinos in Canada as well, which is the term used for online casino sites which allow bitcoin to be used as a payment and withdrawal option. This trend is catching on elsewhere as well – a recent survey in the USA revealed that almost 20% of respondents have purchased some type of digital currency in the last year. There are more and more consumers who are reporting that they would prefer to pay for their purchases in bitcoin or another cryptocurrency. Almost 15% of respondents said that they knew three or more cryptocurrencies other than bitcoin. 44% of people said that they bought cryptocurrencies from an exchange, while bitcoin ATMs were the second-most-popular method of purchase, at 28%.
All these results show how cryptocurrencies are slowly entering the mainstream conversation, and could soon rival fiat currencies in terms of their usage potential. We are even seeing large companies move to crypto, as a company listed on the Nasdaq exchange recently acquired $250 million in bitcoin as its primary reserve asset. Asset managers are now increasingly recommending cryptocurrencies as part of their portfolio recommendations for clients.
Cryptocurrencies are still at a somewhat early stage of adoption, but they have come on in leaps and bounds in just a year or so. More and more people are now aware of the benefits and risks of investing in and holding various crypto assets, and this increasing information and awareness can only help with the adoption of bitcoin or other cryptocurrencies as mainstream payment options and investment categories.