Austrian Telecoms Leader A1 Adopts Crypto for Cashless Payments

-Austrian telecoms company A1 brings crypto payments to 25M subscribers across seven nations.

-The rise of stablecoins, crypto prepaid cards, and rebates is contributing to growing retail cryptocurrency payment adoption.

-Cryptocurrency payments are again becoming popular in markets across travel, hospitality, and live-streaming, among others.

Crypto payment capability is coming to over 5 million Austrians following a recent partnership between A1 Telekom Austria and local fintech startup Salamantex.

With cryptocurrencies enabling seamless cross-border transactions, industry observers have often tipped the novel tech as having a future in the online payment arena.

However, issues with price volatility and regulatory concerns have prevented a broad-based proliferation of crypto payment acceptance among retail merchants and customers alike.

The growing popularity of stablecoins is helping ease volatility fears. Several companies are now developing ways to facilitate greater crypto adoption, usually in conjunction with payment processors.

From live-streaming to online shopping, “pay with cryptocurrency” buttons are becoming a lot more commonplace. Even early virtual currency adopters that abandoned crypto payments in 2018 and 2019 are making a comeback.

Bitcoin and Other Cryptos Added to A1 Payment System

A1 Telekom announced the news of its crypto payment adoption via a press release issued on Monday. According to the statement, the Austrian telecoms giant partnered with Salamantex, a cryptocurrency payments processor.

As part of the collaboration, customers of A1 Payment (a subsidiary of A1 Telekom) will now have access to the crypto payment option. An excerpt from the press statement reads:

“With A1 Payment, retailers across Austria have the possibility to accept digital currencies. In addition to all common payment methods with Maestro or credit cards, payments via online platforms such as Alipay as well as risk-free transactions of digital currencies such as Bitcoin, Ethereum or Dash are now possible.”

For A1, the decision to green-light crypto payments is part of the company’s cashless payment expansion. Merchants that adopt the system will have access to the automated crypto-to-euro conversion straight from their own cash desk.

While technological limitations are often the bane of novel payment systems, A1 says merchants need not worry about specialty knowledge or equipment. The crypto payment roll-outs potentially expose virtual currency adoption to more than 25 million people in seven different countries.

The Improving Face of Retail Crypto Payments Adoption

As previously reported by BeInCrypto, 2017 proved to be a landmark year for crypto payment adoption, with consumers spending an average of $190 million per month. In the three years since, cryptocurrency wallet numbers have also significantly increased.

Crypto payment visibility has also improved with the introduction of prepaid cryptocurrency cards. Virtual currency payment gateways like BitPay are partnering with companies like MasterCard to develop these cards for customer use.

The recent Wirecard bankruptcy saga even saw crypto card providers like TenX and having to deactivate their customers’ debit cards temporarily. However, the embargo did not last long, and both companies soon resumed regular services.

Apart from crypto cards, rebates and loyalty reward programs are also driving cryptocurrency payment adoption. Companies like Lolli are partnering with retail merchants to offer crypto and cash-back rewards for online shoppers.

Amid all of these developments in the space, companies appear increasingly incentivized to accept cryptos on their platforms. Travel industry participants are among some of the leading virtual currency adopters. The Travala and Expedia partnership is a prime example.

Earlier in July, Amazon-owned live-streaming platform Twitch announced discounts for customers who pay for subscriptions with Bitcoin and other accepted cryptos. Twitch, once an early cryptocurrency adopter, ditched virtual currencies back in early 2019.

Expedia also abandoned crypto payments back in 2018 but is now firmly back on the bandwagon.

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