Celebrating 350K TikTok followers: How supermarket sprees are helping introduce Bitcoin to Canadians

Celebrating 350K TikTok followers: How supermarket sprees are helping introduce Bitcoin to Canadians

Over on TikTok, we recently hit a pretty incredible milestone: Over 350,000 followers. 🙌

If you’re new to the channel (or Shakepay), here’s the TLDR: Our TikTok features videos of unsuspecting Canadians enjoying surprise shopping sprees at grocery stores, then getting #shakepaid to cover their purchases.

So far, we’ve #shakepaid over $60,000 worth of food to more than 600 families and counting, and these videos have net over 500 million views.

@shakepay We’ve Shakepaid over 600 familes across 🇨🇦! Here’s to the next 600! Thank you for all the support Tiktok! #hopecore #shakepaid #shopping #wholesome #canada ♬ original sound - Shakepay

While these videos are really fun to make, they also help make Bitcoin more accessible to Canadians, furthering our mission of ushering the Bitcoin golden age.

To give you a better idea of how this all works, we sat down with Mike, the host of our shopping sprees on TikTok, for a behind-the-scenes chat.

Here's Mike, filling carts and winning hearts.

Hey Mike. Can you share how these videos started out, and did you think they would catch on as much as they did?

Sure. So in 2022, I was putting a lot of effort into creating educational videos about Bitcoin and Shakepay. I had a green screen, graphics, the whole nine yards, but these videos weren’t resonating, like, at all. No one was interested.

Around the same time, I was seeing these videos on TikTok of creators doing good deeds and helping out people in need, and I saw a clear link between that and Shakepay’s values. We had a budget we could use to experiment, so we decided to just try it out.

We started out on the street just trying to give people free bitcoin, and it was awful. Random people didn’t want to talk to me. They were like, “Get away from me!”

It was my partner who was eventually like, “Why don’t you go into stores instead?”, and that’s when we hit on this idea of doing a supermarket sweep, like the old TV show.

How do people tend to react to you approaching them? Does that change when you mention Bitcoin?

I love meeting Canadians where they are, and I really can’t think of a better place to do that than the grocery store.

A lot of Canadians still see Bitcoin as internet money they don’t understand, so when I approach them and mention it, I often get a little bit of hesitation, but then the excitement of getting to do a shopping spree kind of overpowers the concerns they might have about Bitcoin.

It turns out it’s a great ice-breaker. I’ve seen this happen many times, they start off being very closed-off about Bitcoin, then we do the shopping spree, and then all of a sudden they’re a lot more open and receptive. 

An experience like this challenges their perception of Bitcoin, and it gives me a chance to have a discussion with them about it, which ties the shopping sprees back to Bitcoin’s values of accessibility and inclusion. If groceries help you today, maybe Bitcoin can help you tomorrow.

You've been doing this for a while now. Have you ever been recognized by customers or staff at the grocery stores you visit?

It’s funny you ask that, I find that more and more people are starting to recognize me, especially here in the city where I live. Sometimes people want to get an autograph or a picture with me, which is totally surreal. 

I can’t even go to Walmart by myself anymore. Sometimes, kids come up to me and they’re like, “Can I get free toys?” and I have to say, “Sorry, I am actually just shopping for myself right now.”


He was a little shy.. but he sure knew how to load up on some toys! This was a heart warming shopping spree 🥹

♬ original sound - Shakepay

You've seen a lot of full baskets get rung up. How much have you noticed the prices go up now versus when you started?

The prices of common goods have shot up, we literally have the receipts to prove it. Meat is the biggest difference. I’ve noticed that in older videos, people go for bread or vegetables or a nice mix of things, but now, they’re just running to the meat section.

I still think often about a guy we met through one of the videos. It was Thanksgiving weekend, he was at a grocery store with his daughter and I could see him looking at his basket, trying to see what he could take out because he didn’t have enough money to buy everything. 

Their Thanksgiving activity was going to the local public pool to swim, because that’s what they could afford. We did the shopping spree, and people responded really positively to his story. This man is a teacher, and his students all rallied to support him and boost the video.

I still think about what he told me, which is that he had always tried to treat people with respect and generosity, hoping it would come back to him, and he felt like it never did until we ran into him.

Do you have any insight into why your videos, and videos like yours are so popular? There seems to be a whole genre of generosity on TikTok and YouTube.

There’s definitely a new genre of generosity videos, but there’s nothing new about generosity itself. I don’t want to forget about people who don’t make videos, like people who go to Wal-Mart and buy shoes for people who can’t afford them.

In our case, I think our videos are relatable. Viewers can relate to the increasing costs of food, or this idea of wishing someone would give you a leg up. And to me it’s not the shopping sprees that are relatable, it’s the people and their reactions. 

Right now, going to the grocery store feels like a punch in the gut for a lot of Canadians. Some days, for people we meet, these shopping sprees feel if not life-changing, then at least month-changing.

@shakepay Most deserving mother daughter shopping spree ever! It was meant to be! 😭 #shakepaid #wholesome #kindness #challenge #tiktokcanada ♬ original sound - Shakepay

Like the other day, we met a person who was in a rough spot financially, they just broke down crying in front of us. Their internet had just been cut off, their child who was with them was like, “I can’t even watch Netflix anymore.” 

This person really needed a boost like this, so when we were doing a shopping spree, I just grabbed a bunch of extra stuff for them, some chocolate, whatever. I just felt myself wanting to help them out, and I knew anyone watching would want me to help them out, too.

You’ve seen a lot of people fill baskets in a frenzy. If you were given the same opportunity, what’s your strategy?

I am honestly waiting for the day when someone is going to come up to me and say, “We’re doing a supermarket sprint, you have 21 seconds, go!”

My approach would be: I would run the meat aisle, then I would put the basket on the ground, stay in one spot, and pick up as much expensive meat as I can. I would go for big tenderloins, briskets, ribs, whatever I can.

I honestly think I might be able to get $500 or $600 of groceries in 21 seconds.

Thanks Mike!