Kopitiam, a food court operator based in Singapore says it has developed a system to accept payments in bitcoin and some other cryptocurrencies. The company becomes one of the latest in a growing line of merchants making the pivot to digital payment means.
The news is also another indication of the growing popularity of cryptocurrency and blockchain technology in Singapore as well as other places in Southeast Asia.
Kopitiam Adopts Bitcoin Payment
According to a report by The Business Times, Kopitiam, operators of a chain of food courts in shopping malls all over Singapore is accepting payments in bitcoin and ether. The company created about 20 self-serving stations connected to a digital payments system which supports cryptocurrencies.
The system dubbed KOPItech allows the company to receive payments in bitcoin, ether, and a little-known token called creatanium. Customers also have a variety of options to use in ordering their meals using the platform. These options include at the kiosks or via QR codes on Facebook Messenger.
Kopitiam chief Alden Tan revealed that the company spent well over $370,000 in developing the KOPItech platform. Commenting on the development, Tan told The Business Times:
Allowing cryptocurrencies will help us to learn more about this segment of the payment system. This group of customers may grow in the future, so this is what we want to attract. We are always mindful of how we could add more customers to the food court.
Weekly Conversion of Crypto to Fiat
Back in 2018, Singapore’s government declared that bitcoin and other cryptos were not legal tender. At the time, regulators warned business owners from accepting digital currencies in payment for goods and services.
Apart from this prohibition, Kopitiam also has to navigate the incessant volatility of cryptocurrency prices. Kopitiam says the KOPItech platform converts the cryptos received as payments into fiat on a weekly basis. Also, any losses accrued within the week will be written off by the company.
Su Zhu, co-founder of Three Arrows Capital PTE, took to Twitter on Monday (July 1, 2019) to comment on the news, saying:
Singapore has no capital gains on anything, including crypto, so Bitcoin is able to be used for p2p trade without any economic distortions or frictions Good for those of us who capitulated out of fiat.
The Kopitiam CEO also revealed that the project was the culmination of about three years of planning and development. According to Tan, the company has been interested in leveraging the growing interest in cryptocurrencies to attract more customers.
For Tan, the new system offers valuable improvements to the efficiency of the meal-order process by reducing wait-times thus allowing stall-owners to attend to as many patrons as possible. The company also plans to incentivize customers to adopt this new payment method by offering discounts on meals purchased using the KOPItech interface.
Providing more insight into the project, Tan revealed:
Three years ago, we wanted to do something different and ride on the trend of technology, and along the way, we were thinking of how we could make this food court different. From the data analysis, we will be able to think of something that can serve them more, be it offering food delivery, or expanding on some payment mode that I think will bring more customers to the outlet.
From Cinema chains to real estate and even high-end fashion, merchants around the world are beginning to accept cryptocurrency payments. As reported by Blockonomi, local pubs in Japan are beginning to test Bitcoin Lightning Network payments.