by Taylor Brethauer, Senior Writer
A group of Manhattan College students have started their own entrepreneurial project and named it “MunchCoin.” The project utilizes cryptocurrency to serve local eateries and has slowly gained notoriety throughout the Bronx borough and Yonkers, N.Y.
The project was started by Hunter Brea, a senior mechanical engineer, during his sophomore year with an official launch in February 2018 with the launch of the MunchCoin website.
For Brea, he’s just keeping it in the family.
“My love for cryptocurrency and the idea behind it is what really drove me to come up with my own cryptocurrency. I first just wanted to do it for the fun of it but after talking it over with my father who was also briefly interested in it I decided there should be a more noble reason and meaning behind it. Since my father is an entrepreneur, I decided to go the route of assisting small business which is the backbone of any efficient society,” said Brea.
The name also came from a collaboration between Brea and his father. After throwing out different options, they settled on MunchCoin.
The project was not a solo show for too long.
“I later realized I would be a fool to go on doing this by myself. So I recruited a few of my friends that I deemed trustworthy and harding working enough to run this thing,” said Brea.
Those friends included Chris DuBois, a senior electrical engineer in charge of technological development, Elvis Rodriguez, a senior economics and global business major serving as the chief financial officer, Gregory Urena, a junior business analytics and computer information systems major in charge of data analysis, Michael Fulton, a graduate from the class of 2018 serving as the chief technological officer and Stephen Serulle, a senior marketing major acting as vice president of marketing.
Serulle feels what they’re doing in the cryptocurrency field is relevant and important.
“The team, including myself, are absolute food junkies who have entrepreneurial parents. We know how hard it is to create and sustain a business, let alone one in the food industry, which has recently become oversaturated,” said Serulle.
But how is a cryptocurrency created? Serulle expands upon this.
“Since we are a token, we took a slight shortcut; we are built on the Ethereum blockchain, that way we do not have to go through the extensive process of building our own blockchain,” said Serulle.
A blockchain, based on a simple Google definition is “a system in which a record of transactions made in bitcoin or another cryptocurrency are maintained across several computers that are linked in a peer-to-peer network.”
And now that the currency is up and running on their website, munchcoin.co, many eateries are joining in.
As stated on their website, “When an eatery is certified, it means that they have passed our requirements to be part of our project and are eligible for anyone to receive $MNCH rewards from. The MunchCoin Certified sticker will be located somewhere on their storefront (i.e. the door or window).”
It is important to note that the cryptocurrency is only available to be used on something made by the eatery, not something brand name.
At the time of this article, Manhattan College-proximity eateries include Best Deli, New Riverdale Gourmet Deli and Jasper Deli.
Securing Best Deli came easy, according to Serulle.
“I have been a faithful customer since I was a freshman and was able to get on a first name basis with the owner [Joe]. We spoke to him about the benefits of becoming a certified eatery and no less than 5 minutes later, our sticker was on the door,” said Serulle.
Their only roadblock so far has been explaining to older shop owners what exactly MunchCoin is and how it can support their businesses. But ultimately, the project focuses on giving back to communities and small businesses.
“It is not easy to run your own business, especially when you have the stress of relying on that business to bring money in to feed your family. By eating at these places your putting money back into the community rather than a big corporation,” said Brea.
“At the end of the day giving back to your community is the most important thing to do. The people and places within our own communities raised us and continue to raise the younger generation. I intend to have this project essentially being able to run itself within the next few years. The goal is to have it being ran by the community, one way, or another.”
Students interested in seeing their favorite local places on MunchCoin are encouraged to reach out to the team with suggestions. An app for mobile phones is currently in the process.