NEWPORT BEACH, Calif. — Business is finally sizzling again at Nexx Burger in Newport Beach, and Dimitrios Politis is hoping that as the economy reopens, the restaurant's profits make up for some of the losses felt during the pandemic.
The way Politis hopes to supersize profits is with Bitcoin.
"I've been in Bitcoin for a little over a year now. It just intrigues me. I think it's a future currency," Politis said.
Politis's family owns Nexx Burger, and they have a location in Downey and a food truck.
Usually, it is kids telling their parents about the cryptocurrency trend. In this case, it was Politis's dad, a first-generation immigrant from Greece, who wanted his son to find out if Bitcoin made sense.
Not only did Politis think so, but he figured out a way to accept Bitcoin as payment for burgers as of March this year.
"I do think Bitcoin is going to be pretty big in the next five years, where I think people are going to start asking like, 'Hey, can I get paid in Bitcoin or can I buy food in Bitcoin,' so that's how we sort of came about let's accept bitcoin as a payment," Politis said.
Bitcoin is a digital asset based on a decentralized peer-to-peer technology that facilitates payments. It went from a prize of $0 in 2009 to a high of more than $60,000 earlier in April, and now it is back down near $50,000 per Bitcoin.
That price volatility, swinging up to thousands of dollars per day, means the restaurant's $6.50 burger costs a different fraction of a Bitcoin every minute.
Despite that volatility, Politis said his Bitcoin profits have already appreciated 20%.
"It's better to have a volatile appreciating asset than a steady asset that depreciates over time," Politis said.
Amy Crayne, a local student and Bitcoin investor, decided to make her first Bitcoin business purchase at Nexx Burger.
"It sort of makes me feel like a rebel and sort of on the cutting edge, and I've never felt that in my entire life," Crayne said.
She said the pandemic inspired her to learn more about finance because she is wary of how much money has been printed to stimulate the economy.
"It's made me lose faith in the U.S. dollar," she said. "Bitcoin has given me hope to want to value my money more and really do something of value with it." Crayne said she feels that the only way people will believe in cryptocurrency the way she does is if they see people actually using it as a medium of exchange to purchase things such as coffee or burgers.
Politis hopes more businesses will follow suit and expand their capabilities for accepting crypto payments.
He is hosting a Bitcoin payments launch party on Saturday at Nexx Burger in Newport Beach in partnership with the group OC Bitcoin Network to spread the message.
"It's a fun experiment, and we know it's going to work," Politis said.
Even though many people in the finance and economics world would disagree, at least for now, Politis said he'd bet on his Bitcoin burgers any day.