South African grocery and clothing retailer Pick n Pay said its customers can now use Bitcoin to purchase groceries. About 39 of its stores are now accepting Bitcoin (BTC) payments, the company announced on 1 November.
After the success of an initial pilot that began with 10 locations five months ago, the number of stores now totals 39. The food retailer plans to accept BTC payments at all its stores in the coming months. With almost 2,000 stores across the country, it could provide a big boost to crypto adoption in the country.
To put things in perspective, Pick n Pay has come a long way in its journey to accept the world’s pioneering crypto as the payment method. The company initially tested Bitcoin payments at a staff canteen in 2017. However, the project did not take off due to the blockchain technology’s limitation at that time. Nonetheless, it served as a proof of concept, according to a Business Insider report.
Fast forward to 2022, the blockchain technology that powers cryptos like Bitcoin has evolved and improved, eliminating roadblocks. To ensure payments are affordable and fast, Pick n Pay reportedly uses the Bitcoin Lightning Network, which ensures faster transactions.
Pick n Pay initially partnered with Bitcoin wallet Electrum and crypto conversion calculator CryptoConvert to enable customers to pay for items via the Bitcoin Lightning Network. The second stage of the company’s nationwide rollout will allow its customers to pay for items using “trusted apps” on their smartphones. Pick n Pay customers can scan a QR code and accept the rand (South Africa currency) conversion rate at the time of payment, as easy as any other payment made on traditional networks.
Pick n Pay charges a service fee of around 70c of the local currency rand, which currently translates to about $0.04.
Crypto assets deemed financial products
South Africa is making headway in the adoption of crypto. Chainalysis’ 2022 Global Crypto Adoption Index, published in September, ranked South Africa 30th in crypto adoption. Furthermore, South Africa’s Financial Sector Conduct Authority (FSCA) amended its financial advisory to define crypto assets in the country as financial products in October.