Food by VICE

Venezuela's Currency is Near Worthless, But At Least You Can Now Use Crypto at Church's Chicken

In Venezuela, the current exchange rate is roughly 250,000 bolívares to one US dollar.

by Jelisa Castrodale
Dec 21 2018, 11:58pm

Earlier this year, Venezuelan president and Salt Bae fanboi Nicolas Maduro announced the launch of petro, the country’s very own oil-backed cryptocurrency. The price of each petro is the same as the price of one barrel of oil, and to hear Maduro’s administration talk about it, the coins are the key to solving his country’s issues with hyperinflation and its increasingly worthless currency.

It would also, they said, be a valid method of payment pretty much everywhere. “ [T]here will be many merchants providing goods and services where you can go with your petro or any cryptocurrency to exchange it for a service,” government cryptocurrency superintendent Carlos Vargas said. “In a short future, Venezuelans can buy in the bakery with the petro.”

Vargas promised a short future six months ago, but none of that has happened, at all. Reuters spent four months trying—and failing—to find any sign of petro anywhere, in any part of Venezuela. “The coin is not sold on any major cryptocurrency exchange,” the agency wrote in August. “No shops are known to accept it.” One cabinet minister said that “nobody” had been able to use it, because the entire thing was still just in the developmental stage.

But one cryptocurrency is available within the country and lo and behold, you can use it to buy chicken tenders. Earlier this month, Church’s Chicken decided that it would start accepting Dash payments in ten of its Venezuelan locations. (Church’s, the world’s fourth-largest fast food chicken chain, has 13 stores in Venezuela). According to digital currency news site Dash News, those chicken joints are ten of the 2,500 Venezuelan businesses that allow payments in the currency.

“We’re proud to be the exclusive cryptocurrency payment for Church’s Chicken in Venezuela,” a Dash spokesperson said. “It’s further evidence that Dash leads the way in digital payments. The Dash Venezuela team has done an incredible job fostering this emerging ecosystem on the ground, and it’s exciting to be integrating with a major national food chain at the franchise level for the first time in Dash history.”

Dash posted a YouTube video of the first-ever Dash-for-Church’s purchase, and it was… tedious. The entire transaction took around two and a half minutes, and but somehow, everyone in line was willing to applaud at the end of it. MUNCHIES has reached out to Church’s Chicken to ask what prompted it to start accepting Dash payments, but has not yet received a response.

On December 10, Antonio Sampayo, the CEO of KFC Venezuela, denied that that that chain would soon be enduring its own painfully slow Dash transactions, calling news of a contract with Dash “not a fact.”

That’s not to say that KFC has been completely averse to cryptocurrencies: In January, KFC Canada announced the Bitcoin Bucket, a one-week promotion that allowed Canadians to buy chicken with bi– well, you get it.

At the time, the same bucket of chicken cost 20 Canadian dollars. But in petro? That’s less clear.

Fast Food
Church's Chicken