One of Slovenia’s largest shopping centres is trialling a pilot program that will enable consumers to buy a range of everyday goods in cryptocurrency.
The ironically named BTC City Ljubljana, based in the country’s capital, is to open the trial to 150 consumers, who will be allowed to shop at 24 of the outlets in the shopping complex using cryptocurrencies like bitcoin.
Despite the name of the retail space reflecting the ticker symbol for bitcoin, it actually stands for Blagovno Transportni Center, and is completely unrelated to bitcoin and cryptocurrency. Nevertheless, the pilot is fitting, given the similarity.
One of the largest shopping centres in Europe, with over 500 outlets, the trial will initially be kept to just a couple of dozen outlets, but will cover a range of consumer goods, according to local TV reports. This will extend to restaurants, clothing and electronics.
Developed in partnership with Eligma, the firm behind the Elipay mobile cryptocurrency payment app, the trial will aim to establish whether it would be feasible to roll out payment in cryptocurrency on a broader scale.
Dubbed ‘Bitcoin City’, the trial has been backed by the country’s Prime Minister Miro Cerar, who earlier this month enjoyed a coffee paid for with cryptocurrency on a visit to the site, courtesy of the generosity of his secretary of state, Tadej Slapnik.
Known to be bullish on the proposals, the Slovenian government will likely keep a close eye on developments, with a view to supporting a wider rollout of the trial if it proves a success. Last year, Cerar told delegates at a conference that he was preparing for a greater adoption of the underlying technology at a government level, saying “we are also already laying the foundations for the initial pilot testing of the technology in the state administration.”
Cryptocurrencies like bitcoin, ether and bitcoin cash are becoming increasingly mainstream, not only as a store of value or a form of investment, but also as a method of payment.
Trials like the BTC City project, which could culminate in as many as 500 stores signing up to accept cryptocurrency payments, can only help advance the cause.