Major US grocery chain Kroger recently banned Visa from a regional supermarket in protest of the payment processor’s “excessive transaction fees,” announcing that hundreds of stores and fueling stations would halt Visa payments in April. However, the story has taken a surprising turn, with Kroger representatives reportedly considering Bitcoin’s Lightning Network as one potential alternative payment system.
Morgan Creek Digital partner, Bitcoin evangelist, and popular podcast host Anthony Pompliano got the ball rolling when he said that his team was willing to fly to meet Kroger executives to discuss the use case of Lightning Network-enabled Bitcoin as a low-fee alternative to Visa.
Pompliano then updated his nearly 200,000 Twitter followers on March 3, revealing that he had personally spoken to a Kroger Digital representative about helping the grocery chain add crypto payments.
Kroger stated on March 1 that 142 supermarkets and 108 fuel center locations would stop accepting Visa by April 3 in order to maintain low prices for customers. Visa is by far the world’s largest credit card issuer with 323 million users compared to 191 million Mastercard users, making the ban a bold move on Kroger’s part.
The monopoly enjoyed by Visa has perhaps enabled it to inflate fees beyond market expectations. In this case, this is due to the sense that chains are essentially obligated to service Visa users or risk losing their business.
However, Kroger is saying no to high fees and drawing a line in the sand, leaving room for low-fee alternatives like Bitcoin Lightning Network payments to state their case. As a leading traditional grocery retailer in the country, the move could embolden other dissatisfied companies to follow suit.
Kroger is reportedly considering Bitcoin as a payment option, with Anthony Pompliano updating Twitter followers yesterday to state that he had spoken personally with Kroger Digital representatives. He added that it looked like “things are progressing,” praising the forward-thinking mentality of the major retailer.
The acceptance of Bitcoin among hundreds of supermarkets and fueling centers would, of course, be huge for the cryptocurrency industry.
Adoption has been on a steady upward trend regardless of the volatile or negative price action seen this past year, and with more and more press coverage and real-world use cases for cryptocurrencies seen in the public eye, the fundamentals for cryptocurrency technology are better than ever before.
The move could expose millions of people to Bitcoin in the context of it being a rapid, low-cost payment solution for everyday goods and services, transforming the perception of some onlookers that Bitcoin is a speculative asset only.
At the moment, the talks are tentative at best. However, regardless of the outcome, it seems that cryptocurrency adoption as an alternative to the increasingly dated services of companies like Visa is inevitable.
For now, as Morgan Creek Digital’s Anthony Pompliano suggests, all that remains is to “stay tuned” and watch as the situation unfolds.
Last modified: March 4, 2019 09:53 UTC