Austria’s major telecommunications firm A1 is now accepting payments in cryptocurrency as part of a pilot project, the company said in a recent blog post.
The company said it would begin accepting crypto payments at select stores, supporting Bitcoin, Ether, XRP, Litecoin, Stellar, and Dash. If the program is successful, it will expand to include other coin assets.
During the pilot program, customers will get fixed price for their crypto asset at the point when they start their purchase. The company has also developed to help deal with the risks of price fluctuations with its partners Salamantex, Ingenico and Concardis.
“Paying with digital currencies is becoming more and more internationally, and every industry is affected. "We are testing the demand and acceptance of digital currencies in Austria," Markus Schreiber, head of business marketing, said in the press release.
The stores where the pilot is live are the A1 Shops Vienna Kärntnerstraße, Wien Mitte The Mall, Krems Bühl Center, Graz Herrengasse, Innsbruck Kaufhaus Tyrol, Salzburg Europark and Linz Landstraße. Alipay and WeChatPay will follow in late August.
He noted that this emergence has crept into just about every major economic sector, and as more people buy cryptocurrency, cash becomes obsolete. The pilot project is A1's way of seeing how digital currencies are in demand and used in the country.
Established in 1881, A1 reportedly operates about 2.1 million landlines throughout Austria, with a customer base of 5.1 million, more than half of the country's total population of 9 million.
Schreiber said the slow rollout is in line with its aim to ensure safety and compliance.
"The safety of consumers and trade, as well as compliance with legal requirements and provisions, have top priority," he said.
In 2018, Austria teamed with SIX Payment Services and Mastercard to make renovated Generali Arena a completely cashless environment. In terms of technology, SIX brought approximately 80 point-of-sale (POS) terminals into the stadium, which can take all major credit and debit cards.