If you’re in Cape Town, South Africa, then you’ll be able to pay for goods at a Pick n Pay using Bitcoin, the popular cryptocurrency for a limited time. It will be made possible by Electrum, a Cape Town based specialist software payments company. In a statement with the announcement of this development, Electrum is also calling this payment method a potential world first for a major grocery retail store.
So how will it work?
Well, according to a video demonstrating paying for goods at Pick n Pay using Bitcoin, the checkout process is quite simple. First, you walk around the shop and pick what you’d like to buy for example some dried fruit. Once you’re satisfied that you’ve got what you want, head over to the checkout point.
The cashier will scan the product as usual. Now, the process changes, the cashier will then select your payment method as Bitcoin and a QR code will be printed. While that is happening, you’ll open up your mobile Bitcoin wallet app, select the scan option and point your device camera to the QR code that would have been printed to scan it.
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Once you’ve scanned the QR code, you’ll be shown the amount of Bitcoin that you’ll spend in that transaction and if you’re satisfied then it’s as simple as clicking pay and your Bitcoin will be spent on dried fruit.
Why the QR code?
In this case, the payment system is being powered by Bitcoin infrastructure provided by Luno, a global Bitcoin company, active in Southeast Asia and Africa, and with an office in Cape Town. Luno makes it easy for South African consumers and others to easily buy, sell, send and spend Bitcoin. If you were to be paying for goods at Pick n Pay using Bitcoin, this would be the easiest Bitcoin wallet for you to use as it is the one they used in their demo video.
We mentioned that the system is powered by Luno’s infrastructure, what does that mean? Apart from the Bitcoin wallet app Luno being used, when the cashier selects Bitcoin as the payment method, the system talks to Luno for it to get the QR code. The QR code is just like the bank account number for the shop so instead of them telling you the number, a QR code is generated and you can just scan that to get the details of the amount to be paid and where it’ll be going.
Would you use Bitcoin to pay for groceries at Pick n Pay locally?
Even though this payment method is only available in South Africa in the test phase, if the project does become successful and it’s rolled out to Pick n Pay stores in Zimbabwe, would you use it? Cryptocurrencies, in general, are still a new thing in terms of being used as a payment method. However, that doesn’t seem to be stopping Pick n Pay from taking the leap of integrating such technologies.
Jason Peisl, Information Systems Executive at Pick n Pay said the following on that subject.
“At Pick n Pay, one of our key values is to embrace change and encourage innovation and leadership. 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. 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.“
Given how Electrum provided the cloud-based enterprise payments platform used for the transactions, their MD Dave Glass also had the following to say.
“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“.
Interested to know your thoughts on this. Do you own any Bitcoin? Have you paid for something using Bitcoin? If you don’t own any or haven’t used it for payments, why haven’t you done so?