On Sunday, McDonald's officially announced its collectible, limited edition MacCoin to celebrate the 50th anniversary of its Big Mac burger. Through this promotion, starting on August 2, customers can receive a MacCoin with their purchase of a Big Mac at one of 14,000 participating restaurants in the US. Starting August 3, the promotion will extend to locations in over 50 participating countries.
But that's it. The MacCoin is not a cryptocurrency, nor is it part of a token sale. The coin itself is a physical object only redeemable for a Big Mac. There is nothing crypto-related about the promotion whatsoever.
However, various news outlets have reported that the fast food chain was issuing its own cryptocurrency. To give them some credit, the McDonald's news release used ambiguous language to describe the MacCoin, calling it "a limited edition global currency." The promotional video accompanying the article also referred to the coin as a "food-backed currency." With a name similar to bitcoin and the current glut of blockchain news, it is understandable that somebody would put two and two together and assume McDonald's was joining the trend.
If anything, the MacCoin announcement could be considered a marketing gimmick. Cryptocurrency is a salient topic. Using language that harkens to crypto and blockchain technology would spark people's interest, even if the actual promotional item, the MacCoin, was not part of the space at all. People would, at the very least, notice McDonald's newest promotion.
The glorified coupon also falls in line with the restaurant chain's history of giving customers free food, so a coin redeemable for a Big Mac is not surprising news.
At the end of the day, though, the crypto train keeps on rollin', whether the MacCoin is a cryptocurrency or not.