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Pick n Pay’s innovative cryptocurrency payments system has become a notable success, with shoppers spending R1 million monthly on groceries, data, airtime, and municipal bills using Bitcoin. This groundbreaking move positions Pick n Pay as the only major retailer in South Africa to embrace cryptocurrency, attracting tech-savvy consumers and modernizing payment methods.

The retail giant, which recently reported its first annual loss in 57 years, has seen a remarkable increase in crypto transactions. Deven Moodley, head of value-added services, financial services, and mobile division at Pick n Pay, has overseen the growth of monthly crypto transactions from a modest R25,000 to the current R1 million. The surge in usage is particularly evident in the Western Cape, Gauteng, and KwaZulu-Natal, with half of all transactions being R500 or less, capped at a maximum of R10,000.

“For years, crypto was something only computer boffins knew about, but Pick n Pay has paved the way for our shoppers to be early adopters in using their digital currency as a method of everyday payment,” said Moodley. He highlighted that crypto payments are integral to Pick n Pay’s Ways2Pay strategy, which aims to offer diverse payment mechanisms in their stores. This initiative aligns with the company’s broader goal of reducing cash dependency and promoting financial inclusion.

The COVID-19 pandemic has significantly accelerated the demand for contactless and cashless payment options, with digital tokens and cryptocurrencies like Bitcoin gaining widespread acceptance. Pick n Pay’s decision to accept cryptocurrency payments followed the Financial Sector Conduct Authority’s (FSCA) October 2022 declaration of designated cryptoassets as financial products.

Carel van Wyk, founder of Money Badger, a company dedicated to simplifying and securing Bitcoin payments, has been instrumental in integrating crypto payment solutions for Pick n Pay. “There has been a shift away from the use of crypto as a purely speculative asset towards what it was originally intended for — to be engaged with as a digital currency, increasing spending, which has led to an increase in merchant demand,” Van Wyk noted.

With nearly 10% of South Africans owning cryptoassets, according to a 2023 FSCA report, the country mirrors global trends in cryptocurrency adoption. Pick n Pay’s embrace of Bitcoin payments not only meets the needs of a growing segment of tech-savvy consumers but also positions the retailer at the forefront of financial innovation in South Africa.

Nikhil is a budding technology journalist and an alumnus of the prestigious Indian Institute of Mass Communication, specializing in the latest trends and innovations in the tech world. With a keen eye for emerging technologies and a passion for simplifying complex topics, Nikhil brings insightful and engaging tech news to the Kernel News audience.