How a quest for Neapolitan pizza became a crypto-traditional discovery
“L’Antica Pizzeria Da Michele! Good Choice!” Approves Vincenzo, as my brother and I begin our taxi ride to feast on some Neapolitan pizza.
L’Antica opened in 1906 is famously featured film adaptation of “Eat, Pray, Love” starring Julia Roberts. They serve just two kinds of pizza — margherita and marinara and famously known for it’s quality of ingredients.
“Do you think it’s the best pizzeria in Napoli”, I ask. “Well, it’s good”, he says, “but I’ve only eaten there three times. It’s a good pizza but I like time to take my time to sit down and eat and enjoy with people…” (referring to the long lines and rushed seating because of the popularity of the place)
“What is your favourite place?” I quiz on, “It’s called Pizzeria Fiore Bianco” he says. My thumbs fly into action straight away, skimming through google to read up more. As he goes on to tell us more. “I love traditional style”, he says but this “new age” pizza is really good. Their dough is lighter and tastier. Also you can sit down, take your time and enjoy.”
My google search doesn’t throw up much, (curious?) but if it’s anything I’ve learnt this year is trusting my gut and I jump at the opportunity as soon as he offers to take us there instead.
The ever kind Vincenzo, escorts us into Fiore Bianco and greets his friends in the kitchen and front of house, settles us in and wishes us a good meal.
Like the numerous pizzerias I’ve been to this one doesn’t look or feel very different. They have traditional pizza’s, interesting unique combinations and one called bitcoin. While we try a traditional margherita and a unique pizza 081 (cream of friarielli, salciccia, provola and fried friarielli), I’ve still got bitcoin on my mind. We ask what it’s all about — and much to our surprise our quest for good pizza is delivered hot with a slice of tech and the deliciousness of innovating on tradition.
I’ll have a slice of the Bitcoin, per favore.
The first purchase of a product through bitcoin was to buy two Papa John’s pizzas for 10,000 bitcoins, worth about $30 at the time.
They started a pizzeria. A different kind of pizzeria, one with delicious new kinds of pizza’s and a lighter bit flour dough but integrating not just different flours into their crust but also blockchain into their recipes.
They are starting to collaborate with producers to buy ingredients (mainly flour) and hope to soon start accepting bitcoin at their pizzeria and see it grow to a stage they are able to use blockchain to trace origins of the food they buy.
But it’s not just them, there is whole movement simmering in Napoli involving food, blockchain and a deeper cause against corruption.
Pizza for a cause
I am fighting to develop my home town, and give opportunity to people
Andrea Varriale the director of Start-up Grind Malta believes that, “this technology can fight corruption, the real problem of our under-development, so we use what we have to attract audiences on our lovely city (Napoli)”.
He is personally launching a challenge that will start from Napoli and would be also open to all the pizzaiolos in the world. The pizza makers would be judged on charisma, the originality of the flavor, and the beauty of the blockchain representation. The winner of the challenge would receive 1BTC and will be entitled the creator of the Blockchain Pizza.
The challenge would be in honour of the white paper written by Satoshi Nakamoto (name used by the unknown person or people who developed bitcoin)
Andrea is passionate about blockchain, pizza and the development of his home town. Bringing all these together his goal is to fight corruption.
because I was born in Naples and I had no hope, no opportunity, and was very hard to develop my skills before the internet movement. So now that thanks to Startup Grind, and especially to bitcoin, I want give the kids of Napoli, the opportunity that I didn’t have, and I want to start from the pizza, but the goal is to fight corruption.
More details on the challenge will be out soon.
ICYMI: How could blockchain influence the way we eat?
Blockchain is just a digital ledger, a digitized record of whatever data is added by its members, with no ability to verify the accuracy of the underlying data itself.
Although blockchain will not be able to test ingredients or verify them, say if the cheese has actually been made in the Emilia Romagna region; it can offer a way to give out information with a seal of trust and transparency that could be used as a channel for farmers to sell their products at better price.
IBM FoodTrust connects producers, manufacturers, distributors, retailers and consumers to have direct access to food system data enabling transactions to be shared efficiently and securely.
Provenance, AgriDigital, OriginTrail, arc-net, Avenews-GT, OwlTing, Ambrosus, FOODCOIN ECOSYSTEM, TE-FOOD, Ripe-io, Lokaal Market, are some start-ups across the world creating lucrative markets for farmers and producers and safer food for consumers.
Lets come back and take a closer look at Naples. How can innovations like bitcoin impact a city?
Yes, cryptocurrencies are volatile; but can they be beneficial for a teetering economy (like Italy?). Majority of trade relies on the USD. Cryptocurrencies are in a position to change that consolidation of power. And as economic theory suggests the more number of customers the more stable currencies like bitcoin will get.
Napoli’s all game! It is to be the first city in the country to give itself a blockchain tech-based institutional project, and Deputy Mayor, Enrico Panini, “is optimistic this tool will be of great importance to the nation”.
Food is a necessity and it also hold a high stake in international trade. From countries like Venezuela where a charity, EatBCH used crytocurrency to bypass sanctions, banking blockades, and governments, and turn those funds into food that feeds people, I’m curious to see how Napoli’s new token system could influence it’s food and citizens.
Until then, I shall be eating some pizza!