Technology

Bubba Gump Shrimp, Morton’s, Rainforest Cafe

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Raymond Boyd | Michael Ochs Archive | Getty Images

Guests at restaurants like Bubba Gump Shrimp, Morton’s The Steakhouse, and the Rainforest Cafe will soon have the opportunity to earn Bitcoin every time they buy a steak or beer.

Restaurant giant Landry’s is partnering with crypto-custodian NYDIG to run a Bitcoin loyalty rewards program in its 500 locations across the country. Guests earn one point for every dollar spent, with 250 points corresponding to a reward of $ 25 in Bitcoin.

Bitcoin hit a new all-time high of over $ 68,500 late Monday, up nearly 350% year over year.

Many Americans don’t yet own Bitcoin because they weren’t comfortable going to an exchange and creating an account, or they’re not sure about investing their money, “said Patrick Sells, chief innovation officer at NYDIG .

“And now they can just say, ‘Hey, make me known by eating in a restaurant I love or trying a restaurant I may never have been to,'” Sells continued.

Landry’s tells CNBC that it hopes to go live with the new Bitcoin program before Thanksgiving. It will be available to Landry’s 3.2 million loyalty program members – Landry’s Select Club.

“This is a wonderful way to play without actually putting anything at risk,” said Trey Zeluff, director of digital asset strategy at Landry’s.

Part of the program, according to Zeluff, is to help customers “become familiar with the volatility of Bitcoin” by watching their points grow and purchasing power declines.

“With our old point system, their value was static, and in the context of inflation they could even lose value,” Zeluff continued.

Landry’s also places a personal bet on Bitcoin.

The company plans to hold some of its treasury reserves in Bitcoin through NYDIG, although the company wouldn’t disclose how much it plans to invest.

Landry’s CEO and Chairman Tilman Fertitta, who also owns the Houston Rockets, has been optimistic about Bitcoin for some time. His NBA team has been taking Bitcoin among other cryptocurrencies in its official online shop, and Fertitta’s luxury car dealership in Houston, which sells Rolls-Royces, Bentleys and Bugattis, has been accepting the digital coin since 2018.

“It is amazing how simple the transaction is and it will stay. Here it is and it is inevitable that it will happen,” Fertitta previously told CNBC.

Fertitta also offers Bitcoin-backed loans for those who do not want to liquidate their crypto stake to buy a car.

People who choose to transact in any cryptocurrency should exercise caution, according to accountants.

The Internal Revenue Service treats virtual currencies like Bitcoin as property, which means that spending Bitcoin is equated with selling it.

“The one thing a lot of people don’t know is that every time you spend cryptocurrencies to buy a cup of coffee or some type of consumer item it triggers a capital gains event,” said Shehan Chandrasekera, CPA and Head of Tax Strategy at CoinTracker .io, a digital currency software company that helps customers track their cryptos through virtual wallet addresses and manage their respective tax obligations.

There is always a difference between the amount you paid for the cryptocurrency, which is the cost base, and the market value at the time it was issued. This difference can trigger income taxes in addition to the other taxes you have to pay, such as sales tax.

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