Major South African Supermarket Pilot Testing Bitcoin As Payment Method
22 September 2017
Shoppers in Cape Town will, for a limited time, be able to use bitcoin as a payment method for groceries and services at a Pick n Pay supermarket store in the South African city.
In what is potentially a world-first for a major supermarket chain, customers at Pick n Pay’s head office campus store in Cape Town will be able to use the bitcoin cryptocurrency for their purchases on a pilot basis, according to Techcentral.
The test run was made possible by South African payments technology firm, Electrum, which has enabled the store to accept bitcoin.
“The checkout process is as simple as scanning a QR code using a bitcoin wallet app on the customer’s smartphone,” Electrum said in a statement.
A bitcoin wallet such as Luno, which is shown in the video example above, is used to complete the transaction.
While Electrum provided the cloud-based enterprise payments platform used for the transactions, the bitcoin infrastructure for the project was put in place by Luno, a global bitcoin firm with an office in Cape Town.
Pilot testing a new payment method
Jason Peisl, information systems executive at Pick n Pay, expressed the importance of the South African supermarket brand’s drive towards innovation.
“At Pick n Pay, one of our key values is to embrace change and encourage innovation and leadership,” said Peisl, according to Businesstech.
“To deliver on that promise we are constantly working with our technology partners to find ways in which we can deliver valuable, innovative services to our customers,” he said.
“Cryptocurrency and bitcoin are still relatively new payment concepts, yet we have been able to effectively demonstrate how we are able to accept such alternative payments,” he added.
Richard van Rensburg, deputy CEO of Pick n Pay, says that an initial pilot test of bitcoin proved successful at the supermarket’s head office canteen, but admits that rolling out bitcoin payments across the group was unlikely until a regulatory framework was in place.
“We don’t expect that in the near term, accepting Bitcoin will unlock any significant new business and we are unlikely to roll-out the solution until the payments industry and regulatory authorities have established a framework for managing the risks associated with cryptocurrencies,” Van Rensburg said, according to ITWeb.
“We have proved to ourselves, though, that it is technically possible to roll-out a solution very quickly. That said, we are very excited about what we have learnt and about what the long-term promise of cryptocurrencies holds for our industry and our customers,” he added.