Dutch Supermarket Joins Arnhem's Growing Bitcoin Economy
The Arnhem Bitcoincity project in the Netherlands now includes a local Spar supermarket.
Adding to the impressive roster of 40 merchants in the Dutch city of Arnhem that already accept bitcoin, a city centre supermarket has now also made the decision to accept payments in the digital currency.
With the move, the Spar Arnhem Centraal has become the first franchised supermarket in the Netherlands to accept bitcoin.
The owners say that they started processing cryptocurrency payments yesterday via a point-of-sale system provided by Dutch firm BitKassa.
Notably, the integration came about after encouragement from the organisers of the Arnhem Bitcoincity project, which kicked off in May with a scheme to encourage local merchants to make bitcoin payments available across the city.
"The addition of Spar Arnhem Centraal to Arnhem Bitcoincity means a huge growth in the number of products and services that can be paid for with bitcoin in Arnhem," project organiser Patrick van der Meijde told Coindesk, adding:
Attracting new customers
Holder of the local Spar franchise Luke van Gelder is not a bitcoin user himself, but he was aware of the Arnhem Bitcoincity project. After speaking with the project organisers several times, Van Gelder decided to take the leap.
Although not the first grocery store in the Netherlands to accept bitcoin – the Goudse Hoek supermarket in the Hague beat them to that title by a couple of months – Spar Arnhem Centraal is the first supermarket that's part of a well-known franchise to do so.
This does not, however, indicate a bitcoin-friendly policy by Netherlands-based multinational retail chain Spar, according to a company spokesperson.
"The acceptance of bitcoin by Spar Arnhem Centraal is a local initiative by the Arnhem Bitcoincity team and this specific franchise holder," she said, explaining:
Arnhem Bitcoincity was launched exactly half a year ago. The project, which aims to establish Arnhem as the bitcoin capital of the world, started out with 15 bitcoin-accepting merchants in May, mostly consisting of bars and restaurants (see a gallery of the opening event here).
Six months later, the project has grown to around 40 participants, and added a more diverse mix of merchants that includes clothing stores, a bicycle shop, a hotel, a bakery, a florist and more.
To celebrate its success, the team behind Arnhem Bitcoincity is organising a special event this evening, Arnhem Bitcoin Metropolis, where Dutch bitcoiners can meet up over dinner and drinks – payable in bitcoin, of course.
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