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A San Francisco Pizza startup plans to add blockchain currency to every pie.

Charlie Heller
September 14, 2017

San Fransisco pizza startup Pythagoras Pizza is hoping to change the way business is done by baking a Bitcoin-style cryptocurrency into the mix. Lead by startup veteran and CEO Evan Kuo, the venture-backed company wants to give employees a bigger slice of the company pie by tying their earnings directly to company growth.

The plan, as told to Business Insider and laid out in a proposal entitled "The American Dream Is Back," is to use the same blockchain technology behind Bitcoin, the popular and controversial digital currency, to create "fragments." Each time an employee makes or delivers a pizza, they'll get more fragments, each of which functions like a stock. The fragments' monetary value will rise and fall with Pythagoras' business performance, making those who hold them more directly invested in the company as a whole.

The process, which the company calls "tokenization," will also involve customers, who can receive fragments in exchange for referring friends to the pizza chain. The hope, says Kuo, is that workers can share in the value they create for the company in a way more comparable to how stock options are awarded in Silicon Valley.

However, unlike true equity, the fragments wouldn't give holders any ownership of the company, or control over corporate decisions—though the process is still in its theoretical stages. More immediate, it seems, is the need to separate Pythagoras' currency from the rash of Bitcoin imitators that have sprung up over the last few years.

Since blockchain technology allows anyone to create their own currency, the difficulty is giving it actual value. Kuo plans to use Silicon Valley funding to give the coins an initial boost, but whatever happens, it won't the first food chain-based Bitcoin alternative around. Last month, Burger King announced the WhopperCoin, which uses the same technology to drive a customer rewards program. Unlike the "American Dream" Pythagoras cites, BK's only available in Russia.