Major U.S. Grocery Bans Visa, Eyes Adopting Bitcoin Payments
The debate has been that Bitcoin’s slow transaction speed is what makes it lag behind traditional payment methods like fiat-based Visa.
While that remains true as bitcoin developers work on speeding up the network via various solutions, crypto’s other feature of being less costly could see Bitcoin replace Visa at one of America’s top grocery chains.
A few weeks ago, leading grocery vendor Kroger reportedly banned the global payment processor from one of its supermarkets, ostensibly because Visa’s transaction fees were way “excessive.”
Ohio-based Kroger, the largest supermarket chain in the United States also announced that hundreds of its stores, as well as fueling stations, would stop using Visa for payments beginning in April 2019.
But there is more to that as it appears the retailer could be willing to explore the use of Bitcoin’s Lightning Network (LN).
The LN is a second layer solution designed to make paying with Bitcoin faster and less costly, and although still under development, proponents argue that its use is likely to see bitcoin’s use grow exponentially.
Reports allege that Kroger representatives are considering BTC as the alternative, a move many says would be a turning point in the push to increase adoption and use of crypto for payments.
Morgan Creek Capital’s Antony Pompliano, a Bitcoin diehard, tweeted that he had held a discussion with Kroger’s Digital team and that “progress” had been made with regard to Bitcoin.
In early March, Kroger stated that 142 of its supermarket stores and a further 108 fueling centers would not be accepting Visa as from April 1. The retailer noted that the move would help its customers save due to low prices.
At the moment, the grocery chain has yet to make any formal communication regarding the supposed meeting with Pompliano, but any move to accept Bitcoin at all these supermarkets and fueling stations could be huge for crypto.
Kroger’s move is a bold one given Visa has an almost monopolistic hold on the payments market with over 323 million people using its credit cards. Visa’s swipe fees—estimated to cost consumers up to $90 billion annually—are at the center of Kroger’s decision that began last year with its subsidiary Foods Co.
Fed up with the high fees, the leading supermarket chain could be opening up space for cryptocurrency payments. And on top of the list of alternatives is the Bitcoin Lightning Network platform.
With crypto adoption via payments on the rise and increased awareness among users, the notion that Bitcoin is only being used for speculative trading is fading fast.
And although efforts to have Kroger accept crypto are only hopeful, the trend is already clear: businesses are clearly not intent on passing the high fees to their consumers.