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Oscar Mayer launches cryptocurrency for bacon

Daniel Roberts

Oscar Mayer, the hot dog maker, has launched a cryptocurrency called bacoin, the company announced on Monday. The coin is redeemable for packs of bacon—if you win coins in the first place. You cannot buy them.

It’s “the first ever cryptocurrency backed by the gold standard of Oscar Mayer bacon,” the company touts in a press release. Oscar Mayer also warns that, “similar to other cryptocurrencies, the value of bacoin can be volatile.”

Of course, the coin launch is just a jokey promotional gag. Oscar Mayer’s press release even acknowledges that bacoin follows past silly marketing campaigns like its bacon-scented alarm clock.

But there is still some relevant business irony to the news: Oscar Mayer is a division of Kraft Heinz, the food giant that resulted from a 2015 mega-merger orchestrated by a $10 billion investment from Warren Buffett’s Berkshire Hathaway and Brazilian investment firm 3G Capital. And Buffett is no fan of bitcoin.

In an exclusive interview with Yahoo Finance this month, Buffett says that when you buy bitcoin, “You aren’t investing when you do that. You’re speculating. There’s nothing wrong with it. If you wanna gamble somebody else will come along and pay more money tomorrow, that’s one kind of game. That is not investing.”

Bacoin price chart (Oscar Mayer)

Oscar Mayer’s crypto promotion also reflects the mainstream awareness that bitcoin has achieved.

Major corporations are aware of cryptocurrencies and the cultural discussion around them, even if they haven’t actually jumped on board with crypto or blockchain technology. Look no further than the trend of companies hastily adding “blockchain” to their name, like Long Island Iced Tea Corp rebranding to Long Blockchain or Bioptix changing its name to Riot Blockchain.

Oscar Mayer’s official website for tracking the bacoin price also explicitly uses the words “promo” and “eprize” in the URL. Nonetheless, you can register right now for a chance at bacoins. There’s no guarantee you’ll get some: after you sign up with your email address, you might get a screen that says “Bummer! No luck on the yield today.”

Daniel Roberts covers bitcoin and blockchain at Yahoo Finance. Follow him on Twitter at @readDanwrite

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