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Delhi restaurant, Ardor 2.1, is accepting crypto for a ‘Digital Thali’

Cryptocurrency is what the world is talking about now. As more and more people join the digital currency bandwagon, businesses are not behind. Ardor 2.1, a popular restaurant in New Delhi’s Connaught Place location, is one such establishment.

On 15 September 2021, Ardor 2.1 began accepting cryptocurrency for a special thali (traditional Indian platter) known as ‘Digital Thali’. And going by the size of this thali, which is huge, you will have to work up quite an appetite to finish this one.

It is, however, their acceptance of crypto that has everyone talking about this restaurant. In fact, as co-founder Meghha Kalra told Lifestyle Asia, the establishment prides itself as the “first Indian restaurant to accept cryptocurrency.”

Why crypto?

Not wanting to be left behind

Meghha Kalra and Suveett Kalra
Meghha Kalra (L) and her husband Suveett Kalra with whom she co-founded the restaurant. Image: Courtesy of Meghha Kalra/Ardor 2.1

In an email conversation, Kalra shared details on why the restaurant decided to allow payments in crypto, what has been the response and what she thinks of the future of digital currency.

The inspiration behind the ‘Digital Thali’ was part of the innovativeness that is central to Ardor 2.1. Meghha said that the restaurant didn’t want to be left behind when digitisation was becoming ubiquitous. And, so, the ‘Digital Thali’ was launched on 15 September 2021.

“Bitcoin and cryptocurrency have been one of the most-searched terms in Google in the past year,” notes Meghha, adding that Ardor 2.1 wanted to catch up with the trend and see if people accept this new approach.

What’s the reaction?

Ardor 2.1
The ‘Digital Thali’ served at Ardor 2.1. Image: Courtesy of Meghha Kalra/Ardor 2.1

The idea behind the thali was to gain more customers. But do more people pay via crypto for the ‘Digital Thali’?

“Yes, people do pay via crypto, but more customers are inclined to pay via credit cards, cash or Paytm,” said Meghha. “One of the reasons might be that crypto is very volatile and nobody wants to pay with that. We, too, don’t encourage people to use it; it’s just that we are exposing it to people.”

Bitcoin is now a legal tender in El Salvador but cryptocurrencies are banned in countries such as China. India, too, is reportedly going to regulate crypto.

Regarding regulations, Meghha said that her establishment will “surely not go against the law”. In fact, she adds that though Ardor 2.1 accepts payments in crypto, she has no advice for other businesses or people on digital currency.

“We believe everyone is free to do what they wish to do till the moment they are not breaking any law,” Meghha emphasises.

Aware of crypto’s volatility, Meghha underlines that Ardor 2.1 doesn’t “force our customers to pay via crypto.”

The future plan

Ardor 2.1
Ardor 2.1 menu table. Image: Courtesy of Meghha Kalra/Ardor 2.1

When asked if Ardor 2.1 will also start accepting payments in crypto for other items on the menu, Meghha said, “At the moment it’s impossible to even think about future plans regarding crypto. It’s a fun experiment that we have done but we never know in future if people will start accepting payments in crypto for other items on the menu.”

Yet she signed off saying that Ardor 2.1 is always on a learning curve, be it about food or payment mechanisms or technology.

Ardor 2.1 informed Lifestyle Asia that it has stopped accepting cryptocurrency as payment for its ‘Digital Thali’.

In a statement, Meghha Kalra said, “Considering the Government of India’s proposed ban on accepting cryptocurrencies as legitimate payment method, we are immediately withdrawing all cryptocurrencies as payment methods for our Digital Thalis. This is as per the latest Reuters article. In case the government does not actually ban it in the Bill and if government allows the same to be transacted freely, we may resume the acceptance of this payment option after following all legalities, as we have been doing until now.”

(Story updated as on 8 December 2021)

Hero and Featured image: Meghha Kalra/Ardor 2.1

Manas Sen Gupta
Manas enjoys reading detective fiction and writing about anything that interests him. When not doing either of the two, he checks Instagram for the latest posts by travellers. Winter is his favourite season and he can happily eat a bowl of noodles any time of the day.
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