Canadian restaurant franchise Tahini’s serves Middle Eastern-inspired dishes with bitcoin-inspired elements.

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Since August 2020, when the price of bitcoin (BTC) was below $20,000, the group has been operating on the bitcoin standard and all profits it makes have been translated into BTC.

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Tahini’s Twitter account has since argued that Bitcoin is the “most Islamic” thing Muslims can do with their wealth, and the group teaches their clients for solid money. It even became a bear market niche meme when Michael Saylor famously said he could apply for a night shift job at Tahini’s during the January price correction:

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Cryptooshala spoke with Ali Hamam, co-founder and CMO of Tahini, to understand why, as well as the unforeseen consequences of working to the Bitcoin standard. Hamam has been the driving force behind Bitcoin adoption on the Middle East network.

Hamam (top left) and Bitcoin ATMs in Tahini franchises. Source: Twitter

Hamam first learned about Bitcoin in 2016 or 2017 but dismissed the innovation as a Ponzi scheme or “rat poison” because he was dissuaded by the negative press. It took the COVID-19 pandemic and its real-world implications for the Hamam Bitcoin lightbulb moment to occur.

“In March 2020, we faced lockdowns and fear. Our restaurant sales are down about 70% in a week. And yet, with our employees, our fellow Canadians, more money flowed. Everyone just had more money.”

Inspired by the work of Robert Breedlove, an influential bitcoin blogger and entrepreneur, it dawned on him that a reliable currency in the form of bitcoin had crossed his mind. Hamam said he and his company needed to find the best way to store value. “Money will depreciate,” he said.

“It kind of clicked to me that this is the type of breakthrough and invention that happens every few generations. The idea of ​​absolutely fixed money is something we have never seen in history.”

Hamam got hooked. He went for broke, devouring bitcoin books, podcasts, and, in some cases, staying up while studying and falling deeper down the rabbit hole.

“It’s become a way of life where I think it’s something I need to integrate into every aspect of my life, from my kids’ education funds to my business.”

Armed with his newly acquired knowledge, Hamam met with his business partners at Tahini’s to pitch the idea of ​​doing business on the Bitcoin standard. The argument for having a “Bitcoin Standard,” a term popularized by Saifedeen Ammous, author of the book of the same name, Bitcoin Standard — that bitcoin is not just a better reserve currency than the US dollar, it is actually a better currency.

Bitcoin Standard author Saifedeen Ammous (left) has lunch in a hammam. Source: Twitter

Therefore, the business must route with regard to bitcoin profits. For Tahini, this means having about six months of working capital to spend. According to Aman:

“Anything beyond this number is considered treasury and we transfer it to bitcoin. So, in some months we will buy a little more aggressively – when the price drops – and then in the following months we will slow down a bit. But we have a dependency on how much the company earns.”

To the doubters, Hamam said: “We always try to manage it in such a way that we never have to sell bitcoin. This is the key part.” Hamam claimed that although he gave BTC to family and friends, he never sold it.

Tahini is working to build the infrastructure needed to accept bitcoin as payment, but the process is complicated — not because of regulation or payment systems, but because the franchise wants to hold on to accepting bitcoin. “Even if you are going to accept bitcoins, work in such a way that you never have to sell them,” Hamam explained.

Hamam said the inevitable surge of publicity that comes from jumping on the “Bitcoin accepted here” bandwagon is attractive, but “if you sell your bitcoin immediately after receiving it, then in my opinion you are actually don’t get bitcoin. ”

Hamam mentioned the Strike Lightning Network integration as an attractive proposition as it would eliminate the high fees charged by Mastercard, but it’s still “rather early” to explore payment options when business development is a priority.

Ultimately, in an advanced economy like Canada, with relatively high levels of trust in institutions, Bitcoin is primarily a store of value. Similarly, Tahini is not currently considering paying wages in BTC as the franchise does not want to force crypto on its employees.

But that didn’t stop Hamam from convincing Canada’s Conservative leadership candidate, Pierre Poillivre, to buy shawarma with bitcoin on the Lightning Network after Hamam “knocked the oranges out of him.” It was the first bitcoin transaction with Tahini by an increasingly pro-bitcoin politician.

On a personal level, Hamam and the more dedicated bitcoiners on the management team are asking questions like: “Have you heard of Bitcoin?” “Did you know that you can buy a fraction of bitcoins?” And even “Maybe you should consider investing a few dollars in a Bitcoin retirement plan.”

Inevitably, orange peeling is much more successful when price is on a break. If the price drops, it’s a little more difficult. For example, when China cracked down on crypto, some of Hamam’s management team got “a little scared.” Indeed, the 300 percent gain that Cryptooshala reported earlier this year has begun to melt away.

Hamam said his persuasion was enough to steer the ship and calm the nerves of his colleagues. Running a restaurant according to the Bitcoin standard is fanatical. While Hamam is praising the leading cryptocurrency, there is also a community of passionate BTC fans who support Tahini’s investment decision and continue to offer support:

“The amount of love I have for the bitcoin community, I can’t even describe it. People who have never even tasted our food.”

KPMG Canada adds BTC and ETH to its treasury

However, Hamam said that the bitcoin community has not directly impacted sales as it is still a tiny, albeit loud, community worldwide.

However, the business has kept its head above water during the 2021 market turmoil and plans to expand to over 25 franchises in 2022. Hamam is determined to put profits into bitcoin — even in the face of a turbulent economic backdrop:

“You will still get the same benefits as anyone else, or Michael Saylor, or Elon Musk.”

The company has “joined the mission of Bitcoin” and of course offers “great food” to everyone. More and more companies may follow suit and operate on the bitcoin standard, while Hamam joked that a Middle Eastern dish that plays off cryptocurrency franchises may soon be available.