Alt coins,  Innovators

Oscar Mayer’s ‘Bacoin’ gimmick gets hit with cease and desist

The company’s ‘cryptocurrency’ marketing tactic takes an unexpected turn

Tether is purportedly backed by the U.S. dollar. SwissRealCoin is backed by the value of Swiss commercial real estate. Bacoin is backed by…bacon?

Ostensibly a cryptocurrency by lunch meat giant Oscar Mayer, Bacoin is actually a marketing scheme that piggybacks on crypto-hype to get people talking about bacon on social media. Bacoin “users” create an account on that logs how many times they tweet something with the hashtag #OscarMayerBacoin. The more mentions the hashtag gets over time, the more bacon they can receive in exchange for one Bacoin.

Yes, your Bacoins are redeemable for real bacon. Participants can “cash out” their coins in exchange for a coupon they receive in the mail. That coupon is redeemable at your grocery store for a variable amount of bacon. Blockchain technology it ain’t. At the time of this writing, one Bacoin is worth five pieces of bacon, though the price had surged to 13 pieces overnight.

Look at that—a run-up in Bacoin followed by a crash. Does this look familiar?

“The more you share Bacoin, the greater the value,” an Oscar Mayer spokesperson told Modern Consensus. The company cites Keith Sizzle as its chief Bacoin architect, and there’s even a surreal video featuring the pseudonymous crypto-innovator describing what Bacoin is. We’ve watched it a few times and we’re not sure what to make of it.

Despite not being any sort of payments system or tradable security, Bacoin has already run into regulatory trouble. Oscar Meyer was slapped with a cease and desist for its promotional efforts by a guy named Kirk Steele, who had already developed a genuine blockchain-powered Bacoin cryptocurrency. His idea was to create a fun introduction to bitcoin and blockchain technology. Oscar Mayer’s idea was to sell more products.

This tale of offbeat corporate marketing and cryptocurrency technology has a satisfying resolution in the wake of Steele’s cease and desist: Oscar Mayer will make a donation to a technology education nonprofit called The Geek Group, in his hometown of Grand Rapids, Michigan.

Keith Sizzle was not available for comment.

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Dylan Love is an editorial consultant, contributing reporter, and fiendishly curious technology enthusiast. He owns no cryptocurrencies.