South African Retail Chain Pick n Pay Expands Bitcoin Payments to 39 Stores

South Africa-based grocery retail chain Pick n Pay announced it will start accepting crypto payments at all of its stores in the following months after a successful initial phase, Reuters reports. The move follows a recent decision by the South African financial regulator to declare crypto assets as a financial product, paving the way for their mainstream adoption in the country.

Pick n Pay Plans to Accept Crypto, Powered by Lightning Network

Pick n Pay, one of the largest grocery retailers in South Africa, said it will expand crypto payments to more stores after a successful pilot phase, according to Reuters. The retail chain first started using crypto payments in 10 of its stores in the Western Cape province over the past five months.

Now, the company is looking to expand the pilot in additional 29 stores before adding it to all of its stores in the coming months. This means that Pick n Pay is currently accepting crypto payments in a total of 39 stores.

The expansion comes just weeks after the Financial Sector Conduct Authority, South Africa’s financial regulator, declared cryptocurrencies as financial products. The decision enabled the regulation of crypto assets and laid the groundwork for them to become a mainstream payment method in the country. In June 2021, a South Africa’s financial watchdog called for a “phased and structured” crypto regulation in the country.

“Increasingly cryptocurrency is being used by those under-served by traditional banking systems, or by those wanting to pay and exchange money in a cheaper and really convenient way. Many companies are responding to this by accepting Bitcoin.”

Grocery retailer Pick n Pay to start accepting cryptocurrency payments

Pick n Pay’s Crypto Payments Powered by LN

Pick n Pay’s new crypto pilot was made available thanks to its partnership with platforms Electrum and CryptoConvert. Electrum’s platform connects Pick n Pay and CryptoConvert, allowing customers to make payments using the Bitcoin Lightning technology at the till points.

“Crypto payments are still in their infancy in South Africa, but we are already seeing adoption in parts of our society that haven’t previously had access to traditional financial systems.”

– Carel van Wyk, Founder of CryptoConvert

The Lightning Network, one of the key drivers of Bitcoin adoption, is a layer-2 protocol that seeks to boost the cryptocurrency’s scalability. Because it is layered “on top” of Bitcoin, it reduces the load on the blockchain, enabling faster and cheaper transactions. Last week, Cash App said users can now receive instant BTC payments using a QR code or link.

This article originally appeared on The Tokenist

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