Pick n Pay successfully trials Bitcoin as payment

Cape Town - Pick n Pay, one of South Africa’s largest retailers, has successful trialed letting customers pay for groceries using the cryptocurrency Bitcoin. 

The retailer, together with tech companies Electrum and Luno, piloted letting staff pay for groceries via Bitcoin at its head office in Cape Town.

"We designed a process from user registration, tender acceptance at point of sale to funds authorisation, currency exchange in real time during the transaction and instant payment settlement,” said Richard van Rensburg, Pick n Pay's deputy CEO.

The pilot programme was limited to one store and is no longer active.

While Pick n Pay did not say whether, or when, every-day customers would be able to pay with Bitcoin at its stores, Van Rensburg described the cryptocurrency as a "game changer for the retail industry".   

“Our pilot resulted in a transaction that was safe - there is no cash risk and no card fraud risk,” he said. 

Early days

Van Rensburg said that cryptocurrencies such as Bitcoin (there are hundreds more) were still in "relative infancy" but would in time be accepted by the retail industry. 

"It will take some time before they become widely accepted as a form of tender. Progress is unlikely to be hampered by technology, but rather by regulatory issues and concerns," he said. 

He said the pilot was also conducted to give the company's new point of sale technology a test run.  

An "open interface" at the point of sale - where customers pay - would enable third party providers to "bring new services and capabilities to our customers,” he said, but did not provide details.   

Cape Town-based software company Electrum helped set up the system to process the payments. 

"The checkout process is as simple as scanning a QR code using a Bitcoin wallet app on the customer’s smartphone," it said in a blog post on its website. 


Electrum said the Bitcoin infrastructure for the project was provided by Luno.

Previously known as BitX, Luno allows people to buy and sell Bitcoin and store the cryptocurrency in its Luno wallet. 

SUBSCRIBE FOR FREE UPDATE: Get Fin24's top morning business news and opinions in your inbox. Read Fin24's top stories trending on Twitter:

We live in a world where facts and fiction get blurred
In times of uncertainty you need journalism you can trust. For 14 free days, you can have access to a world of in-depth analyses, investigative journalism, top opinions and a range of features. Journalism strengthens democracy. Invest in the future today. Thereafter you will be billed R75 per month. You can cancel anytime and if you cancel within 14 days you won't be billed. 
Subscribe to News24
Rand - Dollar
18.15
-0.8%
Rand - Pound
20.13
-0.2%
Rand - Euro
17.68
-0.3%
Rand - Aus dollar
11.55
-0.0%
Rand - Yen
0.12
-0.6%
Gold
1,694.80
-1.1%
Silver
20.13
-2.6%
Palladium
2,192.88
-3.1%
Platinum
916.50
-1.0%
Brent Crude
94.42
+1.1%
Top 40
59,280
-0.2%
All Share
65,676
-0.2%
Resource 10
63,294
+0.0%
Industrial 25
79,505
-0.7%
Financial 15
14,072
+0.5%
All JSE data delayed by at least 15 minutes Iress logo
Company Snapshot
Editorial feedback and complaints

Contact the public editor with feedback for our journalists, complaints, queries or suggestions about articles on News24.

LEARN MORE
Government tenders

Find public sector tender opportunities in South Africa here.

Government tenders
This portal provides access to information on all tenders made by all public sector organisations in all spheres of government.
Browse tenders