LifDental no longer accepts cryptocurrency after Dentacoin flop – Buffalo Business First – The Business Journals
In 2018, Buffalo’s LifDental proudly announced that it had become the first dental practice in North America to accept Dentacoin, a cryptocurrency designed specifically for the dental industry.
Late last year, LifDental quietly stopped accepting the coin.
Its website still has a page devoted to Dentacoin, but LifDental has shuttered the initiative, according to Andrew Jakson, owner of LifMCO, the management group that oversees the practice.
LIfDental plunged into the murky world of crypto in the early days of the blockchain boom. Now, Jakson said he’ll be more cautious before taking a similar step again.
“It didn’t take off,” Jakson said. “It was an idea, and the idea never really took off to the level that it could have.”
The pitch behind Dentacoin was that it would allow dentists to expand their clientele while covering some of their costs.
Patients could purchase Dentacoin tokens, then spend them to receive cleanings, checkups and other routine preventative care from participating dentists.
Dentists in turn could spend the tokens with participating suppliers to purchase equipment.
The hope was that Dentacoin would funnel new crypto-enthusiast patients to LifDental.
But only a handful of patients ever paid with cryptocurrency, and most suppliers never got on board, according to Jakson.
“There wasn’t demand,” he said. “There weren’t enough patients walking in the door.”
The value of Dentacoin plunged. The whole crypto market has been rocked by successive crashes this year, but Dentacoin’s slide started far sooner.
Its value peaked in January 2018 at just over 50 cents a coin. By April 2018, it was down to .00002 cents. It’s now 100 times lower, at about .000002 cents per coin.
The constantly falling price meant that the few customers who paid with Dentacoin were getting services cheaper than those that paid with dollars, Jakson said.
LifDental’s losses were minimal, he said. The practice was an early adopter, so its up-front investment was small.
Dentacoin is one of a few attempts at creating cryptocurrencies centered around specific industries. In 2017, Burger King Russia unveiled WhopperCoin, a cryptocurrency-based customer rewards program. Whoppercoins were defunct by the end of 2019. In 2018, Kodak launched KodakCoin, a cryptocurrency for photographers. The company’s stock price tripled after the announcement, but the project quickly flopped.
Jakson still believes a cryptocurrency-based model could work for dentistry, but said there are still too many unanswered questions to make informed decisions.
“The problem is, who guides you on that?” he said. “And that’s the issue, that’s why we have, in essence, stepped away a little bit.”