22 Sep South Africa’s Pick-n-Pay Store Chain Accepts Bitcoin as a Payment Option.
The African continent is often overlooked by those in the Western Industrialised world and that is a mistake because an awful lot of technical innovation is happening there that we all need to take notice of. Nowhere is this innovation happening faster than in crypto currencies. South Africa currently ranks fourth in Google Trends among countries with the most Bitcoin-related searches (“Bitcoin – Payment System.”) globally, behind only Nigeria, Bolivia, and Ghana. Now a major store group taking serious interest is South Africa’s Pick-n-Pay store chain.
Electrum, a South African-based company started by Thomas Voegtlin in 2001 provides enterprise level software for payments technology. They have been working with the South African supermarket chain “Pick-n-Pay” to enable an experimental project to test accepting Bitcoin payments in-store. As yet the experiment is just being conducted within the store’s canteens because it is a controllable environment. Electrum provides software-as-a-service (saaS) technology to move swiftly on new business opportunities, and this is going to be a major feature of BitCoin enabled business in the future.
While Electrum provided the cloud-based enterprise payments platform used for the transactions the Bitcoin infrastructure for the project was provided by Luno. This company have been a global Bitcoin company who were especially active in Southeast Asia and Africa but are now making advances into Europe, especially the UK. Luno has for a few years, enabled South African consumers to buy, sell, send and spend Bitcoin via a Wallet while also providing a BitCoin Exchange and a bridge for API building.
As a result of this experimental BitCoin project between Electrum, Luno and Pick-n-Pay, for a limited amount of time employee customers at Pick n Pay’s head office campus canteen have been able to use the Bitcoin cryptocurrency to purchase food, groceries and other services.
When an employee goes to the check-out they scan a QR-code printed out at the till after the cashier has scanned the sale item using a Luno’s Bitcoin wallet app on their smartphone. The price then appears on the users smartphone where it is accepted and payment is completed.
Pick n Pay have a good history of embracing change and encourage innovation within their company and even given the innovative nature of businesses across the African continent to embrace BitCoin (and BlockChain) they do seem to be leading the way. If this experiment goes well it will be interesting to see it released into the wild, as it were. Pick-n-Pay themselves have were founded in 1967 and currently employs more than 80,000 people. The company sells food, clothing and general merchandise. The group has 1,560 stores in total, located in South Africa, Namibia, Botswana, Zambia, Mozambique, Mauritius, Swaziland and Lesotho. Now imagine if everyone of their stores across Africa accepted BitCoin !