In brief:

  • You can now buy Coca-Cola using Bitcoin.
  • At certain vending machines in Australia and New Zealand, that is.
  • There are lots of ways to buy things using Bitcoin in shops.

Certain vending machines that sell Coca-Cola now accept Bitcoin. As reported by The Australian Financial Review, about 1,200 vending machines in Australia and New Zealand have started to accept cryptocurrencies, chief among them Bitcoin.

The deal comes by way of Centrapay, a digital payments startup from New Zealand. The vending machines display QR codes, and customers can scan them with their phone when using the crypto payments and messenger app, Sylo. 

The Bitcoin is then instantly converted to the Australian or New Zealand dollar. And out pops your Coke. 

A crate of Coke. Image: Unsplash.

A spokesperson from Coca-Cola Amatil, the bottling company that handles Coca-Cola in Australia, New Zealand, and four other countries in the Asia-Pacific, said that they started using QR codes several years ago “to service Alipay and WeChat Pay customers in tourist hotspots.” 

Alipay and WeChat Pay are popular digital payments methods in China. They use fiat currency rather than cryptocurrencies. 

“We want to ensure customers can transact with us in their preferred currency, so accepting digital assets is the next step for us as digital assets become more popular,” the spokesperson reportedly said.

Centrapay executive Jerome Faury told AFR that the company would be targeting the US market next. 

Centrapay’s technology will rival other crypto payments technologies. Taiwanese crypto company SecuX launched a crypto payments terminal in January that can be bolted onto any proof-of-sale system, such as a vending machine. 

And adding crypto to vending machines is but one part of the puzzle. Retailers are pushing to get crypto accepted at cashiers; it’s an alternative form of payment to credit cards or cash.

Global P.O.S., which produces point-of-sale systems for retailers, plans to roll out crypto payments to 25,000 French stores this year, among them Decathlon, Sephora and Foot Locker. 

Some stores also facilitate the purchase of cryptocurrency. All 6,000 7-Eleven stores in the Philippines now offer cryptocurrency purchases; over 10,000 French convenience stores sell crypto; and many stores in Venezuela accept the state-rolled crypto, the Petro. But whether anyone will actually do so, is another question entirely.