Meet The Restaurant Owner Who Moved His Business Reserves To Bitcoin
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Ali Hamam owns a string of Mediterranean restaurants in Ontario with his brother Omar and cousin Ahmed. You can find him on the TikTok and Twitter accounts for Tahini’s Mediterranean Cuisine, posting videos of himself eating shawarma with rap songs in the background, joking with his wife and campaigning for causes like the Lebanese Food Bank.
Like small- and medium-sized business owners around the world, he was hard hit by the spread of coronavirus and resulting economic shutdowns. Yesterday, he took to Twitter to share the struggles that his business has been facing and to promote the solace he’s found in Plan B.
Sharing A Deflationary Journey Into Bitcoin
“Going through the crisis of March ... was tough on us and people were scared to go out and eat. My cousin, my brother and I let a significant amount of our partners (employees) go and were working day and night to keep the restaurants afloat,” he wrote.
As Canada granted its citizens free fiat to stay home from work, the government disincentivized Ali’s workers from returning. As business picked back up, he was able to train new employees and found himself flush with the deflationary currency as a result of the stimulus as well.
“Our cash reserves swelled and business was booming again. But it was apparent to us that cash didn’t have the same appeal. That eventually with all the excess cash circulating … it would be worthless,” the thread went on. “And that’s why we as a company decided to store all of our excess cash reserves into bitcoin, as it offers a much better alternative to saving cash. We will continue to do that over the coming years and maybe forever if we don’t have a need for fiat.”
The thread earned some retweets from influential Bitcoin personalities that Ali tagged (he is, if nothing else, a great marketer) and had more than 640 retweets and 1,700 likes as of the time of this writing.
A Bitcoiner Is Born
What might be most endearing about the announcement, as with everything Ali does on social media, is its personal nature. Though similar, this story is ultimately different from the recent news that business intelligence firm MicroStrategy bought $250 million in BTC. This is about a medium-sized business owner who fell down the Bitcoin rabbit hole like any one of us — who is documenting the effects of taking the red pill. He mentioned podcasters, The Bitcoin Standard and other books and articles as the inspirations behind the shift in his mindset.
And, like any good rabbit hole explorer, Ali is now preaching the good word of Bitcoin to his growing roster of 60 employees.
“My partners are all aboard the Bitcoin train,” Ali told Bitcoin Magazine in a Twitter DM interview. “I was literally sharing everything I learned with them and passed on all the books that I read to them as well. They have the same enthusiasm that I have. They understand the risks and the value proposition of Bitcoin.”
Despite the obstacles presented by the pandemic, Ali said that his franchise is cash flow positive and that he hopes to keep operating without having to dip into his BTC reserves. He’s using a “combination of multiple cold storage methods” to protect these reserves (but he would not disclose the specific size of these reserves) and hopes to begin accepting BTC at his restaurants soon.
The Long-Term Play
To me, the natural question for a business owner who divests their entire cash reserves into BTC would be: Are you afraid of a major price dip? Ali responded with a fairly sophisticated and bearish outlook.
“I understand that bitcoin is volatile, but based on my understanding of the protocol and the four-year cycle, I believe that we are in for a bull market that will shock the world,” he said. “Even if we hit a bear market in a few years, it will be massively higher than today. And because my conviction on bitcoin is so high, I doubt we will sell them either. In fact, we will probably be adding to our positions.”
He referenced Saifedean Ammous when outlining his ultimate outlook.
“This is a generational invention and I learned from Saifedean to have a low time preference,” Ali explained. “So we plan on passing on this company and its wealth to our kids.”
In response to Ali’s announcement and his thanks to them for their influence, Peter McCormack and Anthony Pompliano both tweeted “Gradually, then suddenly” in reference to how Bitcoin is and will be adopted by business owners like Ali. It certainly looks like Ali and his TikTok videos, Twitter threads and in-person evangelizing will help prove all of us right.
The views and opinions expressed herein are the views and opinions of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Nasdaq, Inc.