Nordic payments processor Nets is working with cryptocurrency specialist Salamantex to enable acceptance of bitcoin, Ether and XRP at points-of-sale tills in Austria.
Nets - through its DACH-based subsidiary Concardis - is working with Salamantex to enable all merchants, service providers and restaurateurs in Austria to accept cryptocurrency transactions from consumers on common payment terminals, in addition to classic payment methods such as credit or debit cards.
Many Austrian merchants are already offering their customers crypto payments at the checkout by activating crypto-capable interfaces on their Concardis terminal.
Once deployed, the corresponding cryptocurrency is selected on the terminal, an exchange rate request is made for the purchase amount, and the customer makes a QR code-based payment with their crypto wallet.
The merchant receives the value of the goods at the time of the transaction and can choose whether they want to receive the purchase price in euros or the corresponding amount in the cryptocurrency. The merchant incurs standard transaction fees that are comparable to credit card fees.
The plan is to roll out the service to other European countries as and when regulations permit, and to lay the groundwork for the launch of central bank backed digital currencies in the longer term.
"The introduction of digital currencies by central and national banks is only a matter of time,” says Robert Hoffmann, CEO of Nets Merchant Services. “The underlying technology for the e-Euro, the e-Franc or the e-Krona is the same as for cryptocurrencies. Their time will come and they will fundamentally change the payment market across Europe."