Like any observant Jew, I got Chinese takeout during the holiday break. As I settled in to feign enjoyment of football for my girlfriend’s dad during our stay in Las Vegas, I read the message nestled within my fortune cookie: “One day, you will hold a piece of paper money for the last time and not even realize it.”
I found the prophesy interesting for two reasons: A) It was the first time in forever that I received a fortune cookie that could be read as a real, honest-to-God fortune. B) Its sentiment could kinda, sorta, maybe be interpreted as a pro-cryptocurrency, right?
Dogecoin divining — I set the fortune aside, and asked my girlfriend what her cookie had bestowed upon her. “You can’t teach an old dog new tricks,” she said. This was more in line with the modern fortune cookie — more axiom than divination. Disappointing, but at least expected. I said something about football to her dad that probably was inaccurate.
“That’s weird. ‘Dog’ is spelled like that crypto you write about sometimes: D-O-G-E,” she told me from the other side of the room. My stomach lurched. Fortune cookies were hawking me Dogecoin.
Veiled in secrecy — The back of each fortune included a logo for FTX, a popular, Bahamas-based crypto and NFT portfolio company formerly known as Blockfolio (can’t fault them for renaming). A quick search turned up similarly perplexed crypto-cookie recipients.
Another logo printed at the bottom of each fortune pointed me towards OpenFortune, a company located on Madison Avenue specializing in branded cookies for various marketing and special event purposes. Apparently this has been a gimmick in more mainstream circles for some time, but to my knowledge, FTX is the first company to shill memecoins.
Further investigatory work revealed that people have been getting crypto cookies since at least mid-November. (FTX didn’t respond to multiple requests for comment.) It does appear that you can buy some fortune cookie-related NFTs through FTX if you’re so inclined, but they don’t appear directly related to the company itself.
Likewise, OpenFortune was similarly mum on the subject of crypto-confectionaries, offering no respondes to emailed inquiries at the time of writing. The company’s “stats” page claims that 99 percent of people open up their cookies upon receiving them, with 84.4 percent allegedly able to later recall the featured brands. Some 20 percent keep their fortunes (I suppose I fall into this group), while another 5.9 percent post said fortunes onto social media (that I did not do).
Unaware customers — Okay, so on to perhaps the pressing question: Did the Chinese restaurant in Vegas know they were including Doge-themed desserts with their meals? I called them to find out.
“Oh, I dunno, they came from the food company,” the patient, confused man on the other end of the line told me. “Does anyone there know which company that is?” I responded. A pause. “No, sorry,” he said, before hanging up.
All things aside, the restaurant employee’s answers are genuinely a bit unsettling. After all, this is presumably a family-owned restaurant that simply wanted to restock its fortune cookie supplies for customers and not push a decentralized finance agenda.
Still, that’s hundreds, if not thousands of tiny ads going out to diners any given month shilling infuriatingly stupid meme economics. Given our current scam-ridden, wildly speculative era of cryptocurrency, it’s sort of ridiculous to see those kinds of “fortunes” in the vicinity of my Szechuan chicken. Couple all that with the serious environmental concerns stemming from the crypto industry, and my Dogecoin dessert just seems... disconcertingly dystopian.
It’s enough to make one lose their appetite over the whole thing.