McDonald's China on Thursday denied its collectible MacCoin was a currency or cryptocurrency even as Chinese internet users traded the brass-colored souvenirs for several hundred yuan each on the country's e-commerce platforms.
"MacCoin is the world's first collectible coin whose value is supported by food," CEO Zhang Jiayin said on Thursday in a statement sent to the Global Times. "However, it has no cash value."
The MacCoin was nothing like a virtual currency like Bitcoin, Zhang noted, as it is tangible with a physical form.
Customers can redeem the MacCoin for a free Big Mac at a McDonald's restaurant.
A Big Mac costs 23 yuan ($3.7) on the Chinese mainland. But the value of the free coin has rocketed on Chinese e-commerce platforms like Alibaba's Taobao and Xianyu, an online second-hand trading platform.
A mint condition package of five coins was selling for up to 4,000 yuan as of press time, meaning each coin was worth about 800 yuan, or more than 30 times a Big Mac.
Regina Hui, vice president of communications at McDonald's China, told the Global Times that all MacCoins for Chinese customers were delivered on Monday, and the company was pleased with the fact that they showed so much love for the Big Mac and the coins.
To mark the 50th anniversary of the Big Mac, 2,500 designated McDonald's restaurants in the Chinese mainland delivered 1 million MacCoins free to Chinese consumers on Monday.
From 10:30 am, customers who sang the birthday song for the Big Mac at a participating restaurant would receive one MacCoin with a random design.
The collectible coins feature five unique designs, each representing a decade of the Big Mac and its influence on life, commerce and pop culture.
Newspaper headline: Collectible MacCoins not cash: McDonald’s