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Tuesday Jan 25 2022
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Pakistani man sets up UK’s first 'crypto' Chai Ada in London

— Photo provided by the reporter
— Photo provided by the reporter 

  • Chai Ada coffee shop offers various variety of Pakistani and Asian chai, parathas, biryani, kebabs, and rolls.
  • Customers can pay using the digital currency in the form of Bitcoin as well as Ethereum, Bitcoin Cash, XRP, Verge, Litecoin, and Horizen.
  • “We have to look into the future. I honestly believe that crypto is the future," says owner Shafiq. 


LONDON: A young Pakistani entrepreneur has become the first in Britain to start a “Chai Ada” café which accepts multiple cryptocurrencies as a form of payment.

Tayyab Shafiq, 26, has established the Chai Ada coffee shop outside Westfield in Shepherds Bush, West London, to sell a variety of Pakistani and Asian chai, parathas, biryani, kebabs, and rolls.

Decorated by Lahori truck art and situated right next to the White City Bus station, the Chai Ada has become an instant hit as colourful chairs outside – decorated in Pakistani truck art – attract the public's attention.

Shafiq is the same person who had made headlines in the UK when he opened a Biryani café in London using the iconic red phone box.

He had to sell the phone box business as the local council and the English heritage didn’t allow him to continue his takeaway service due to regulatory issues.

Shafiq has now come up with another unique initiative but at a much larger scale.

At Shafiq’s Chai Ada, customers can pay for chai and delicacies using digital currency in the form of classic Bitcoin as well as Ethereum, Bitcoin Cash, XRP, Verge, Litecoin, and Horizen.

Shafiq has set up an app for this purpose which is connected to his Chai Ada and payments are instantly made from crypto wallet accounts against the British pounds.

Speaking to Geo News, Shafiq said he has been impressed by the response within a week of the opening of his café. He said so far about 20% of the payments to him are in bitcoins and other digital currencies.

Crypto currencies are full of risks and several regularised international financial institutions have warned against the use of digital currencies but the trend of using these currencies is growing.

Shafiq said that he was aware that there are risks involved but, in his view, this is the future. 

“We have to look into the future. I honestly believe that crypto is the future. It’s here to stay and it's already working well. It has become a reality. When establishing Chai Ada, I believed that the Crypto, NFT, Metaverse (digital world) are the future and I just wanted to play my little part to encourage the use of cryptocurrency."

The young entrepreneur has decorated his café with everything related to Pakistani truck art. The roof of the shop is decorated with Pakistani truck art umbrellas, while chairs and tables are brought over from Lahore and every table has Ludo games for customers.

— Provided by reporter
— Provided by reporter 

Shafiq especially visited Lahore to work with artisans for his café.

He said that he is offering 10% off their orders for life if they purchase a NFT (non-fungible token) from the café.

About the variety of chais and food served at the restaurant, Shafiq said: “We have masala chai, elaichi chai, cinnamon chai, while the pink Kashmiri tea is our hottest-selling item. Along with various chais, we do chicken tikka wrap, chicken biryani, seekh kebab wrap,too."

He added that the samosa and chai is the restaurant's most-favourite combo. 

'We also do cakes, including red velvet, Lotus Biscoff, and pistachio milk cake which are very popular.”

He explained how his business model is working and said: “This cafe business model is one of its kind. It has an NFT-based franchising model, which is the first in the world where one can buy our franchise by acquiring premium NFTs so that it makes one an exclusive token holder."

"Also, we are opening in Metaverse, which also has never been done before. This Metaverse cafe will be the first one which will allow the visitors to have virtual meetings for professional or personal/entertainment purposes.”