Will Crypto Ever Be Accepted At Mcdonalds? | Latest Update

Add3, Content

September 26, 2023

10 min reading

In our highly digitalized society, businesses must seek out new ways to enhance customer experience and make their operations more efficient. One of the most revolutionary tech developments over the past years is cryptocurrency, a topic which has gained significant recognition worldwide. Crypto is disrupting traditional finance, and many major brands worldwide have already started accepting it as a form of payment.

As crypto becomes more mainstream, global brands like McDonald’s may be the next to cash in on it. In fact, some McDonald’s branches in El Salvador and Switzerland have already begun to accept Bitcoin as a payment method. With growing demand, many more companies will likely follow suit. In this article, we will cover the basics of cryptocurrency, explore its benefits and challenges, and consider the likelihood of whether brands such as McDonald’s will accept it as a payment method. 

What is cryptocurrency?

Cryptocurrency is a form of digital currency that usually exists on a decentralized network using blockchain technology. It is based on a peer-to-peer system, compared to traditional Fiat currencies like the US Dollar or Euro which are based on a centralized system. Decentralized cryptocurrency does not require financial institutions or intermediaries to verify transactions and is not controlled by any central authority such as a bank or the government.

The first cryptocurrency, Bitcoin, was launched in 2009 by a group of people under the pseudonym Satoshi Nakamoto. The main aim of cryptocurrency was to resolve the problems of conventional currency and allowing people to take control of their finances. Crypto removes the need for reliance on governing entities, placing the power in the hands of individuals. 

Although it would take a few years for Bitcoin to be recognized as a payment method, this was the starting point for crypto as we know it today. The industry has seen fast growth over the last few years, and the cryptocurrency market is predicted to reach 4.94 billion USD by 2030. 

How is crypto used

Crypto is primarily used as a medium of exchange, essentially allowing crypto owners to make payments using their digital currency of choice. The other main uses of crypto are as a store of value and for investments. 

Crypto users can store, send and receive digital currency using a digital wallet. These wallets come in many forms, such as hardware or software wallets and mobile apps, and are secured by a private digital key. To make and receive payments, users only need a digital wallet address and their private key. 

Besides its main functions, crypto has many other innovative use cases. For example, Ethereum developed the ERC20 token standard with the objective of creating more secure digital contracts. A smart contract is able to track and monitor the fulfillment of its terms and prevent the breach of these terms without the need for human intervention.

Types of cryptocurrency 

Although Bitcoin is the most common cryptocurrency, there are actually thousands of types on the market. As of 2023, there are over 22,000 different cryptocurrencies. 

Cryptocurrency is usually in the form of either coins or tokens. While crypto coins run on their own blockchain, tokens are built on existing blockchains and usually represent a specific asset or utility. Many different types of tokens exist for different purposes, including utility, transactional, governance, and security tokens. 

Some of the main types of crypto are:

Why use bitcoin?

There are many advantages for users of cryptocurrency. Some of the benefits of crypto include:

Because of its decentralized nature, crypto payments involve little to no bank transaction fees, as there is no need for third-party authorization. This allows buyers and companies to easily make and accept payments, avoiding the extra costs associated with traditional payment methods. Crypto is also a worldwide currency that allows for more efficient international transactions without fluctuating exchange rates and high international credit card fees. 

Another critical advantage of cryptocurrency is the security aspect. Crypto payments are secured by the blockchain system on a safe and secure network protected through cryptography. Users only need to provide their private key when making payments, eliminating the need to share sensitive and personal information. Crypto payments are also immutable, meaning that once a transaction has been documented on the blockchain, it cannot be reversed. This reduces the possibility of fraud and chargebacks.  

Thanks to blockchain technology, all crypto transactions are tracked and stored on a distributed and immutable ledger system and are available to view. This provides transparency, trust and accountability within the cryptocurrency market and also helps to reduce the risk of fraudulent transactions. This level of financial transparency is set to become crucial in the future, making way for a more fair and open system where no one governing entity is accountable for all finances.  

As we have witnessed in recent years, increasing inflation rates have decreased the value of many currencies worldwide. Cryptocurrency, on the other hand, has a limited and known supply. For example, there will only ever be 21 million Bitcoin in existence, and the amount of Bitcoin mined will reduce by half every four years. While cryptocurrency does experience inflation according to supply and demand, the rates are much more predictable than those of fiat currencies.

Crypto payments are also processed faster than traditional bank transfers, allowing for the exchange of funds from one account to another within minutes. This makes the entire payment process more efficient, especially when dealing with international transactions that could otherwise take hours or even days to process. 

As the vision for a more decentralized, open and fair internet becomes increasingly necessary, so does the demand for digital currency. Cryptocurrency plays a considerable role in the development of Web3, and digital currencies are intrinsically linked to Web3 values. Those who choose to innovate and embrace these payment methods now will be more aligned with Web3 going forward. 

Crypto challenges

While crypto offers many benefits, it also poses some challenges that are important to consider. Some of the challenges of crypto are:  

One of the significant challenges when it comes to cryptocurrency is its volatility. Volatility is the measure of the increase or decrease in the price of an asset, and the more volatile an asset is, the riskier it is perceived to be as an investment. Crypto is considered a volatile asset due to its likelihood to significantly increase or decrease in value over a short period of time. While this can offer opportunities for high returns, it can also bring significant losses.

Crypto is still largely unregulated, an issue that is having a huge impact on its usage and legitimacy. For example, in 2021, China banned the use of all crypto-related transactions, and the USA has also implemented sanctions regarding some crypto exchanges. And although cryptocurrency is legal in the European Union, it has yet to be accepted as legal tender. This lack of regulation means that crypto users will not be protected in the case of fraudulent activity or security issues. This poses a challenge for those who choose to make or accept these types of payments. 

Another challenge in the adoption of cryptocurrency is consumer trust. As digital currency is still a relatively new concept, many consumers still do not fully trust the safety or legitimacy of crypto. While crypto can offer many added security benefits compared to traditional currency, crypto users are still a minority. 

Because crypto is still not widely accepted, in order to buy the majority of goods or services it is necessary to exchange digital currency into fiat currency. As digital currency becomes more mainstream, the need to exchange crypto into traditional money may become less of an issue. However, until then, to cash out crypto, users must also have a traditional bank account. 

Companies using cryptocurrency

Several major companies already accept crypto as a payment method. Starbucks, PayPal, Tesla and Microsoft are just some of the big names that accept crypto payments for their products or services, and some banks have also begun to invest in digital currencies. 

Crypto is recognized as an official currency in El Salvador and the Central African Republic. Merchants in El Salvador are now legally required to accept crypto payments, and crypto is being increasingly accepted as a payment method by companies within countries such as the US, Japan, Switzerland, Canada and Malta. 

Countries such as Portugal have also begun to offer attractive tax benefits for crypto owners, and Lugano, a small city in Switzerland, is on its way to being transformed into a crypto hub. In countries with high digitalization rates, especially in Asian countries such as Singapore, India, and the Philippines, crypto adoption has rapidly increased over the past couple of years. 

Although cryptocurrency is unlikely to replace government-issued currency anytime soon, it is becoming more mainstream. As more and more global businesses start to accept crypto, it is likely that consumer trust will also increase. 

Crypto in developing countries

As we previously mentioned, crypto usage has seen rapid growth in countries suffering from economic issues like hyperinflation. This is because digital currencies can act as a form of protection from unstable currency, fluctuating inflation rates, and all the problems that come with this. The scarcity of crypto means that it is protected from the rapidly increasing inflation rates that we have seen recently in countries such as Venezuela and Argentina. 

Many developing countries also suffer from social and political inequality and high levels of corruption, and a lack of trust in the government and authority often goes alongside this. Because all crypto transactions are available for public view, the transparency and accountability that come with this can provide greater trust between individuals and authorities. 

As the first country to accept crypto as an official currency, El Salvador was able to reduce reliance on the USD, diversify their currency holdings and make international transfers faster and less costly. In the future, crypto usage will likely become more commonplace in developing countries. Crypto can offer more stability, resilience and flexibility in periods of financial insecurity. 

Crypto has also seen high adoption rates in countries that are home to a large unbanked population. According to the World Bank, almost 1.4 billion adults worldwide do not have access to traditional financial services like bank accounts, debit cards, or loans. Likewise, this population has limited or no access to banking services, there is increasing access to technology like smartphones and the Internet in developing countries. 

While crypto may not be the perfect solution to these issues, it plays an important and innovative role in providing financial access to the unbanked population and offering more independence and autonomy to those in developing countries.

Should McDonald’s accept crypto?

As we mentioned, select branches of McDonald’s have already begun accepting crypto payments. McDonald’s started to accept cryptocurrency in their locations in El Salvador in 2021, when the country began to use Bitcoin as legal tender. In 2022, McDonald’s in Lugano, Switzerland, also began to accept Bitcoin payments as the city began an initiative to transform itself into a European crypto hub. As digital currency becomes more mainstream, these may be the first of many McDonald’s branches to accept crypto. 

McDonald’s could begin to roll out this payment method in other locations worldwide. As a powerful and influential global brand, this could have a huge impact, offering many benefits for both the company itself and the crypto industry. 

With its low transaction fees, no exchange rates and faster payment processing, crypto offers several cost and time-saving benefits for global brands like McDonald’s. And by delving into the world of crypto, brands can position themselves as innovative and forward-thinking by keeping up with digital transformation. In turn, they can attract a more tech-savvy consumer and differentiate themselves in a competitive market. 

However, alongside these opportunities come challenges. While the crypto market is growing, customers who make payments with fiat currency are still likely to remain the majority for the time being. Volatility is also a concern, and companies that do accept crypto payments should consider whether to store it in digital wallet form or exchange it into fiat currency. 


In the fast-growing cryptocurrency industry, an increasing number of companies will likely begin to accept it as a payment method. Renowned brands such as McDonald’s have already taken the first step into the world of crypto, and this is only set to grow as demand increases. 

The continued adoption of crypto will also rely on factors such as regulatory developments and consumer trust. Although it is unlikely that crypto will replace traditional currency anytime soon, it will become more widespread, and can offer endless economic and social opportunities for both brands and individuals.