Croatian retail giant sees rise in crypto payments despite the bear market

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Payments in cryptocurrencies like Bitcoin (BTC) have been on the rise at Croatia’s largest supermarket chain Konzum this year despite the ongoing bear market.

After debuting crypto payments in 2021, ​​Konzum has seen an increase in purchases made with crypto payments, the firm’s director of business applications Ines Barbir told Cointelegraph.

​​Konzum officially started accepting cryptocurrencies as payment for its products in December 2021, allowing customers to pay online with nine cryptocurrencies like BTC and Ether (ETH) as well as Tether (USDT) and USD Coin (USDC) stablecoins.

The supermarket chain has since expanded the crypto payment option to several self-checkout cash registers in physical pilot stores. Konzum is also still working with the local crypto payment firm Electrocoin to bring crypto payments to all 700 physical stores across Croatia.

According to Barbir, the rollout of the new payment method was implemented successfully, and Konzum has been working on expanding its crypto payment option. The executive didn’t specify the exact numbers of payments’ volume growth since debuting crypto payments.

A spokesperson for the firm pointed out that rising crypto payments on Konzum come in line with the growing adoption of crypto in Croatia, stating:

“Regardless of the bear market, we are satisfied with the interest which keeps on growing. The overall interest in cryptocurrency payments continues to increase steadily as well as the interest for the implementation of cryptocurrency payments in Croatia.”

The representative noted that Croatia is “at the top in the European Union” when it comes to the level of crypto adoption. That is “partly thanks to the rise of fintech companies like our partners at Electrocoin,” the spokesperson added.

The representative smentioned some uncertainty around crypto payments, stating: “The reason for this is mainly due to the insecurity and suspicion in new technologies, but also due to the state of regulation of the crypto industry.”

Related: European banking regulator sees ‘major concern’ in retaining staff to handle crypto: Report

The government of Croatia has been somewhat silent about cryptocurrency regulation in recent years, while local crypto advocates have been working towards self-regulation. In 2018, the National Bank of Croatia emphasized that cryptocurrencies were not legal tender in the country, nor were they recognized as foreign currency or payment instruments.

Despite some level of apparent uncertainty around crypto, Croatia has emerged as one of the most crypto-prepared countries in the world. According to a report by the forex education platform Forex Suggest, Croatia has a crypto-readiness score of 6.2 out of 10, alongside countries like the United Arab Emirates, Georgia and Romania.

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