LONDON: For the first time in the UK, a young Pakistani entrepreneur has set up a coffee shop which accepts multiple cryptocurrencies as a form of payment.
Tayyab Shafiq, 26, has established “Chai Ada” outside Westfield in Shepherds Bush, West London, which offers a variety of tea flavours, and Pakistani and Asian dishes, including parathas, biryani, kebabs and rolls.
Decorated with truck art and situated right next to the White City Bus station, the Chai Ada has become an instant hit.
The roof of the cafe has Pakistani truck art, umbrellas, chairs and tables have been brought over from Lahore and every table has a Ludo game for customers.
Earlier, Shafiq made headlines in the UK when he opened a biryani café in London inside a red iconic London phone box.
He eventually had to sell the business as the local council and authorities in charge of English heritage sites didn’t allow him to continue due to regulatory issues.
He has now come up with another unique initiative but at a much larger scale.
At Chai Ada, customers can pay for tea and delicacies using digital currency in the form of the classic Bitcoin as well as Ethereum, Bitcoin Cash, XRP, Verge, Litecoin and Horizen.
Shafiq has set up an app for the purpose which is connected to Chai Ada and payments are instantly made from the Crypto wallet accounts in British Pounds.
Speaking to The News, Shafiq said he is impressed by the response within a week of the opening his café. He said so far about 20% of the payments to him are in bitcoin and other digital currencies.
Cryptocurrencies are full of risks and several regularised international financial institutions have warned against the use of digital currencies but the trend of using these currencies is growing.
Shafiq said he was aware that there are risks involved but, in his view, this is the future. “We have to look to the future. I honestly believe that crypto is the future. It’s here to stay and it's already working well. It has become a reality. When establishing Chai Ada, I believed that the Crypto, NFT, Metaverse (digital world) is the future and I just wanted to play my little part to encourage the use of cryptocurrency.”
The cafe owner said he is offering 10% off their orders for life if they purchase a NFT (non-fungible token) from the café.
About the various flavours of tea and food on offer, Shafiq said: “We have Masala Chai, Elaichi Chai, Cinnamon Chai, and Pink Kashmiri Tea is our hottest sell. Along with the various teas, we have Chicken Tikka Wrap, Chicken Biryani, Seekh Kebab Wrap. Samosas and Chai is our best combo. We also do cakes such as Red velvet, Lotus Biscoff and Pistachio Milk, which are also very popular.”
He added: “This cafe business model is one of its kind. It has an NFT-based franchising model, the first in the world, where one can buy our franchise by acquiring premium NFTs so that it makes one an exclusive token holder. Also, we are opening in Metaverse, which also has never been done before. This Metaverse cafe will be the first one which will allow visitors to have virtual meetings for professional or personal/entertainment purposes.”
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