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Pick n Pay gets easier Bitcoin payments with VALR and Luno

| Innovation and technology

By Jan Vermeulen – MyBoadband

VALR and Luno have partnered with CryptoConvert to support Bitcoin payments from their apps at all Pick n Pay tills around South Africa.

This comes after CryptoConvert announced in February that its CryptoQR platform was active at all of Pick n Pay’s over 1,500 stores in South Africa.

The rollout includes PnP Express and Pick n Pay Clothing. Shoppers can also buy airtime, electricity, flight and bus tickets, and pay municipal bills with bitcoin at the till.

CryptoQR uses the Lightning network, allowing Bitcoin transactions to be processed rapidly.

The full rollout of CryptoQR across Pick n Pay’s national footprint came after a successful trial at stores in major cities.

Pick n Pay said the Financial Sector Conduct Authority’s declaration of cryptocurrency as a financial product paved the way for cryptocurrency as a mainstream payment method.

“Increasingly, cryptocurrency is being used by those under-served by traditional banking systems, or by those wanting to pay and exchange money in a cheaper and really convenient way,” Pick n Pay said.

However, one major drawback of the system was that it required users to download two separate apps — the CryptoQR scanning app and a Lightning-capable Bitcoin wallet.

You then still had to load funds into the Bitcoin wallet. If you don’t own any bitcoin, that means buying some via an exchange or other “fiat onramp” and sending it to the Lightning wallet’s address.

Local cryptocurrency exchanges VALR and Luno have addressed this usability challenge by integrating CryptoConvert’s platform directly into their apps.

VALR Pay, launched in June 2021, has offered instant payments in crypto or rands to cell phone numbers, email addresses, or VALR Pay IDs.

CryptoQR support is already available in VALR’s Android app, with iOS being rolled out soon.

iOS users can use VALR Pay at Pick n Pay by downloading the CryptoQR app and setting their default wallet to VALR Pay.

“When we developed VALR Pay, our vision was to first create free, fast and easy peer-to-peer payments and then to facilitate payment acceptance at merchants,” said VALR co-founder and CEO Farzam Ehsani.

“The acceptance of VALR Pay at over 1,500 Pick n Pay stores across South Africa brings this vision to fruition.”

CryptoConvert founder Carel van Wyk said the partnership helps them make crypto payments available to a much larger audience than before.

“Cryptocurrency is founded on the idea of open standards and collaborative innovation. VALR’s commitment to providing useful tools and infrastructure to the industry exemplifies that, to the benefit of everyone,” he said.

Luno, one of South Africa’s oldest cryptocurrency exchanges and VALR rival, announced support for CryptoQR on Monday.

“To make it quick and easy, Luno customers will simply open their Luno app and scan a QR code at the till to pay in bitcoin,” said Luno South Africa country manager Christo de Wit.

“Luno employees were first to test the in-app QR scanner, which will be available at the tills in a week. The very first purchase — watched with interest by Lunauts via a live webcast — was a box of Ouma rusks.”

De Wit said Luno bitcoin payments at Pick n Pay hypermarkets, supermarkets, Express stores, and Pick n Pay Clothing will launch within the next week.

Luno said it does not charge a fee to use the service.

CryptoConvert’s Van Wyk, who also co-founded Luno, said they are thrilled to partner with the company.

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