Kroger is a major US grocery chain that has recently banned Visa from its regional supermarkets, according to a CCN report. Kroger said it had taken this action in protest of the payment processor’s “excessive transaction fees,” and stores and gas stations would stop accepting Visa in April.
Now the story has taken another twist with Kroger representatives reportedly considering Bitcoin’s Lightning Network as one potential alternative payment system.
Anthony Pompliano, known as a Bitcoin evangelist and a partner at Morgan Creek Digital responded enthusiastically to the idea on Twitter, offering to fly his team out to meet Kroger executives and discuss the use case of Lightning Network-enabled Bitcoin as a low-fee alternative to Visa.
He followed up this tweet with a message to his 200,000 Twitter followers saying that he had spoken to a Kroger Digital representative about helping the grocery chain add crypto payments.
The ban on Visa, which has 323 million users worldwide is a bold one, as CCN suggests, given the strength of the card. However, Kroger wants to keep lower prices for its customers, and Visa, due to its monopoly in the card market, (Mastercard has only 191 million users by comparison) has inflated its fees “beyond market expectations.” Kroger is also rebelling against “the sense that chains are essentially obligated to service Visa users or risk losing their business.”
And, as Kroger is a leading grocery retailer in the USA, its move could encourage others to ditch Visa and explore the potential of the Bitcoin Lightning Network.
Pompliano is ramping up the story, tweeting that it looked like “things are progressing,” and praising the forward-thinking mentality of the major retailer.
It’s early days in this story, but as Pompliano tweeted, “Stay tuned.”