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Restaurant chain Wings and Rings accepting bitcoin from franchisees – Cincinnati Business Courier – The Business Journals

A Cincinnati-based restaurant chain with dozens of locations in the U.S. and internationally is taking its first steps to accepting bitcoin as payment.
Wings and Rings, the Loveland-based sports bar franchise that up until late last year was known as Buffalo Wings & Rings, a chain with 60 locations across 13 states and even more in the Middle East, now accepts bitcoin from franchisees for its $40,000 franchise fee.
Chief Development Officer Thomas Flaherty told me it is the first step to one day accepting bitcoin for transactions in the chain’s restaurants.
“We’ve got a broader strategy to embrace what I like to call the world of tomorrow, today,” he said.
“This is a way to dip our toe in the water before doing the canon ball.”
Flaherty said the move to accept bitcoin for franchise fees stems from his own interest in the cryptocurrency. He’s been involved in bitcoin since 2015 and said he sees it catching on as more and more of an everyday means of payment like Visa, MasterCard or Apple Pay.
Bitcoin is a decentralized virtual currency based on blockchain technology, which is a means to keep track of individual transactions and a record of who holds the currency. It debuted in 2009 and really took off in the late 2010s, shooting to a value of nearly $20,000 for 1 BTC at the end of 2017 before soaring to a height of $64,000 for 1 BTC. The cryptocurrency currently stands at about $41,700.
Bitcoin is not the only cryptocurrency, but it is the most popular and valuable currently. Flaherty said Wings and Rings will only accept bitcoin, at least to start.
“I think there will be a future when you have different crypto coins,” he said. “I think it’s in the spirit of philosophy. Socrates said ‘Truism is knowing you know nothing,’ and I think it’s true to say that right now, nobody knows the future of this.”
Wings and Rings only began accepting bitcoin for franchise fees at the beginning of this year. The restaurant signs between six and 20 new units per year. Flaherty said the restaurant chain plans to take a measured approach to cryptocurrency and is still working out how it will handle any bitcoin that it receives from franchisees.
One option would be to immediately convert it to U.S. dollars and deposit it into the bank. Another would be to convert a portion of it and then keep the remainder for potential investment gains.
“Part of the reason we’re doing this is to signal to other people that, not only in general that we’re open-minded, but specifically looking at ways to get them to be interested in us,” Flaherty said.
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