On Friday, the largest supermarket in Arnhem, the Netherlands, called Spar Arnhem Centraal, began accepting the digital currency.
The supermarket is owned by Spar, a Dutch franchise that includes about 12,500 stores across the world. Its shops are located in the European countries, Africa as well as the Asia-Pacific region.
Spar Arnhem Centraal is the Spar’s first bitcoin-accepting shop and the franchise is likely to integrate the bitcoin payments in its other stores too.
The Netherlands is known to be very open to virtual currencies. Besides, bitcoiners in Arnhem even call the city the globe’s most bitcoin-friendly town. The overall number of shops in Arnhem using the digital currency, including Spar Arnhem Centraal, amounts to 40.
The bitcoin integration was encouraged by the “Arnhem Bitcoinstad” (also known as “Bitcoincity”) team. The project was started by bitcoin enthusiasts in Arnhem who intended to turn the city into the capital of digital currency and use their bitcoins in the city’s bars and restaurants.
Spar Arnhem Centraal is a usual supermarket with a wide assortment of traditional products, ranging from vegetables and frozen goods. The location of the supermarket is good, as it is situated near the central station of Arnhem.
BitKassa, based in the Netherlands, will serve as a bitcoin payments processor. The partnership with a Dutch payment solution provider will enable the Spar Arnhem Centraal to accept digital currency payments, while get paid in euros. The supermarket thus will be able to eliminate the price volatility of bitcoin.
However, with the growing number of new merchants accepting payments in cryptocurrency, few people are really using it for buying things, reports Fortune.
According to Bitcoin.info, in October, there were from 70,000 to 80,000 bitcoin transactions made each day. Still, the figures could not be compared with the annual amount of credit card transactions, which totaled 26 billion in 2013.
Among the factors constraining the expansion of bitcoin is the technological complexities of using the cryptocurrency and its high price volatility. Moreover, there are not so many places right now where you can spend bitcoin.
Bill Bochynski, the owner of Twin Mountain, there are about two bitcoin transactions realized in the store monthly. “The number of people who want to pay with bitcoin is in the onesies and twosies,” he said. “It’s extremely technical and geeky.”
Another retailer that has recently integrated bitcoin payments is Overstock.com. According to the company’s CEO Patrick Byrne, the bitcoin transactions account for just 25% of the total revenues.
Byrne commented: “I realized there was a hunger for bitcoin, I wanted to get a slice of that market.”
“I’m a limited government guy. I don’t like monopolies of any kind including the monopoly government has over money.”