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A1, a popular telecommunications company, based out of Austria, has launched a pilot project that involves support for crypto assets.
According to an official announcement published last week, the company revealed that from August 19, it would begin accepting payments in cryptocurrencies at some select stores. The digital assets being accepted include Bitcoin, Ether, XRP, Litecoin, Stellar, and Dash, and while these represent just a fraction of the assets available, there is always space to expand based on how successful this program is.
Mainly, these locations will be willing to accept these assets for purchasing goods and services. The customers pay in crypto, while the company receives fiat from the payment processor.
During the pilot program, A1 customers will get a fixed conversion price for their crypto asset of choice at the point when they initiate their purchase. The company has also developed a means to help deal with the risks of price fluctuations.
The stores where the pilot project is live are reportedly located in Kärntnerstraße, Wien Mitte The Mall, Krems Bühl Center, Graz Herrengasse, Linz Landstraße, Salzburg Europark, and Innsbruck Kaufhaus Tyrol. Speaking on the initiative, Markus Schreiber, Head of Corporate Marketing at the telecoms company, pointed out that the international market has seen the emergence of cryptocurrency payments over the past few years.
He noted that this emergence has crept into just about every major economic sector, and as more people buy cryptocurrency, cash becomes obsolete. To him, this pilot project is A1’s way of seeing how digital currencies are demanded and used in the country.
The company is in a great position to test it out. Established in 1881, its largesse is somewhat arguable; it reportedly operated about 2.1 million landlines throughout Austria, with a customer base of about 5.1 million (out of about a possible 9 million). Given the ease of operation of cryptocurrency exchanges and other businesses in the country, it’s safe to say that crypto adoption isn’t so bad as well.
Schreiber also touched on the reason for the slow rollout, saying that it is in line with their aim to ensure safety and compliance.
“The safety of consumers and trade, as well as compliance with all legal requirements and provisions have top priority. Before the A1 payment portfolio will be expanded by digital currencies and officially available to business customers, a multi-stage trial will now be carried out, starting with selected A1 shops,” he said.
The company is also not treading this path alone. To make crypto payments available, it has partnered with several other tech firms, including Salmantex, a digital currency specialist based in Austria; Concardis, a cashless payment processor based in Germany; and French smart payment solutions provider Ingenico.
With these firms, A1 was able to successfully build the A1 Payment service, a payment system that will easily integrate with the traditional cash structure and reduce risks associated with crypto-to-fiat conversions.
In addition to the current cashless payment method, A1 Payment will also provide the company’s customers with the option to pay for service with Alipay and WeChatPay.