Major South Australian service station chain On the Run (OTR) will start accepting cryptocurrency payments from July as local retailers look to wider adoption of digital assets.
OTR stores will plug into the Crypto.com merchant system and are set to become the first Australian retailer to use the product which converts digital assets to fiat currency at the point of sale.
Yasser Shahin, Executive Chairman of OTR parent company Peregrine Corporation, said he was excited about the new payments offering.
“The growth and mainstream acceptance of cryptocurrency adoption in Australia and the rest of the world has been phenomenal and has offered us a clear opportunity to tap into the momentum of this fast-growing space for the benefit of our customers,” said Shahin.
Peregrine operates more than 170 of the ubiquitous On the Run outlets in Adelaide and parts of regional Australia, the stores typically combining small-scale supermarket fare alongside chain fast food outlets.
Sydney-based third party Data Mesh Group has been tapped to integrate Crypto.com and Peregrine’s point of sale system giving customers the chance to spend their crypto on petrol and groceries.
For Peregrine, the advantage of onboarding Crypto.com’s payments platform across its stores is the absence of transaction and setup fees – Crypto.com doesn’t take its 0.5 per cent cut until money credited to merchants is withdrawn.
Around 22 per cent of Australians own cryptocurrency, according to Finder surveys which note crypto asset ownership was largely concentrated (71 per cent) among men.
Karl Mohan, regional GM of Crypto.com, said he was “thrilled” to be offering the company’s services in Australia.
“As the cryptocurrency sector continues to become mainstream, creating avenues for people to spend their crypto in the real world are becoming increasingly important,” Mohan said in a press release.
US-based Crypto.com has run an aggressive marketing strategy over the past twelve months targeting sports leagues around the world, including spending US$700 million on the naming rights to the arena that hosts the Los Angeles Lakers NBA team.
In Australia Crypto.com became a major sponsor of the AFL this year, its branding now splashed around stadia and broadcast segments during games.
Crypto.com is also sponsoring the Adelaide Crows AFL club.
People have likened cryptocurrency exchange platforms to casinos, warning widespread adoption may fuel gambling addiction given their accessibility and the always-on nature of crypto markets.
In this context, Crypto.com’s incursion into international markets like Australia via sporting codes helps introduce the trading platform to an audience already primed for gambling through sponsorships and advertising.
In 2020, Sportsbet penned a five-year sponsorship agreement with the AFL at an estimated cost of between $12 million and $15 million annually.
Australians lost some $25 billion through gambling in 2018-19, the most per-capita in the world, according to government statistics.
Sports betting makes up a growing proportion of Australian gambling losses.