The South African grocery retailer Pick n Pay is expanding its Bitcoin (BTC) coverage to all 1,628 stores across the country following a three-month pilot testing phase in 39 locations.
As part of its nationwide rollout, store customers will be able to pay for items using cryptocurrency via smartphone apps or by scanning a QR code and accepting the South African rand's conversion rate at the time of payment.
Good news, everyone! CryptoQR is now active at all Pick-n-Pay stores across South Africa, including PnP express and clothing shops! You can also buy Airtime and Electricity, Plane and Bus tickets, and pay your municipal bills with #Bitcoin at the till! pic.twitter.com/3hVhgIJdTb
— CryptoQR ⚡️ (@CryptoConverted) February 1, 2023
To pay with BTC, customers will need a Bitcoin Lightning Wallet and the CryptoQR scanner app from CryptoConvert, which is linked to the Bitcoin Lightning Wallet. The payment process requires users to scan an item's QR code through the CryptoQR app and then proceed to the Lightning Wallet to confirm the rate and complete the transaction.
Related: South African crypto landscape primed for TradFi growth after FSCA ruling
Twitter users shared their experience with using Bitcoin to pay for everyday items at Pick n Pay stores:
My first #Bitcoin ⚡️payment at @PicknPay for a life essentially @CryptoConverted @ctw_podcast pic.twitter.com/tWSnGIH4Yd
— DrLuke ₿ (@DrLuke_B) February 1, 2023
The move came after the country's financial regulator, the Financial Sector Conduct Authority (FSCA), amended its financial advisory legislation in October 2022 to classify crypto assets as financial products, bringing cryptocurrencies under regulation for the first time in South Africa, and allowing financial service providers to offer crypto-assets both domestically and internationally.
The retail chain disclosed plans to roll out crypto payments nationwide in November 2022, after years piloting the service in selected stores. A first experiment with cryptocurrencies took place in 2017, when the company began accepting Bitcoin as a form of payment in Cape Town, but transaction costs and wait times hindered the process.
During its pilot program, Pick n Pay partnered with Electrum and CryptoConvert to enable customers to pay via the Bitcoin Lightning Network, a second layer added to Bitcoin’s blockchain that allows off-chain transactions
Among the African nations, South Africa appears to be making considerable progress in adopting cryptocurrency. South Africa ranks 30th globally in terms of cryptocurrency adoption according to Chainalysis' 2022 Global Crypto Adoption Index. It has been estimated that about 10% to 13% of the South African population holds crypto assets.