At this moment in time, the growing popularity of bitcoin has encouraged over 100,000 merchants from all around the world to take bitcoin and other digital currencies as a form of payment for both products and services.
Recent reports now indicate that South Africa’s second biggest supermarket chain store, known by the name of Pick n Pay, has started accepting bitcoin in one of its stores, as reported by Electrum, a payment software development firm. The goal of this move is to test how the Pick n Pay customers react to the introduction of bitcoin-based payments, and see whether this represents a viable solution for all of their stores in South Africa.
It is however important to point out the fact that the merchant doesn’t only have stores in South Africa, but rather in a couple of other African countries, including Lesotho, Namibia, Zambia, Zimbabwe and Mozambique. An introduction of bitcoin-based payments for its entire chain of stores will likely serve as an encouragement for people throughout Africa to go ahead and consider the idea of using bitcoin for their daily purchases, which would be a great step towards bigger adoption in the region.
The announcement further clarifies that customers will be able to use the digital currency for a limited period of time, which is indeed unfortunate news. However, if things go ahead as planned, and enough shoppers show interest, then this will likely change, and will be available for an unlimited period of time.
An Electrum representative, the company which provides the payment system for these transactions, stated that: “We’ve worked closely with PnP for several years as a key technology provider. Our mission is to support innovative enterprises like Pick n Pay, and together we use the advanced Electrum software-as-a-service technology to move quickly on new opportunities, whilst at the same time delivering the best possible shopping experience.”
However, the actual bitcoin infrastructure needed for the POS system was provided by a South African start-up known by the name of Luno, which already facilitates a good number of bitcoin transactions in the country.
The payment process itself is bound to be easy, as users will simply have to scan a QR code, and their payment will automatically be processed. No need to wait for confirmation!
Based on everything that has been outlined so far, is this the beginning of mass digital currency acceptance for supermarkets throughout the world? After all, we’ve had contactless cards for a good period of time now.