What is the Lightning Network?

The Lightning network is a “layer 2” Crypto payment protocol intended to enable rapid payments. “Layer 2” means Lightning transactions are not recorded on a Blockchain and therefore do not depend on mining to verify transactions, which means Lightning transactions are faster, cheaper and more energy efficient than “on-chain” transactions. For more information, see

How can I pay at PnP with Crypto?

You need two apps installed on your phone: 

Open the “CryptoQR” application and follow the instructions to link your Lightning wallet.

When you are ready to pay for your goods at a PnP store that supports Lightning payments, ask the cashier to select the “Contactless QR” payment option (option 2) on the payment device and scan the payment QR code with the “CryptoQR” app on your phone. CryptoQR will scan the QR code and open your Lightning wallet for you to complete the payment.

At which stores is this available?

All Pick n Pay stores, see for more information.

I have a Lightning wallet installed, how can I add a wallet balance

Lightning wallets can be funded with Bitcoin which can be purchased on a local exchange like Luno or VALR and transferred to the wallet’s Bitcoin receive address.

As an example, with the Muun wallet and using Luno as exchange, the process looks like this:

  1. Install Muun and open it:
    1. Click on “Receive”
    2. Select the “Bitcoin” option at the top
    3. Click on the blue “Copy” button to copy the Bitcoin address
  2. Open the Luno app:
    1. Select Wallets in the bottom menu
    2. Choose “Send”
    3. If asked, choose Bitcoin as the currency to send
    4. In the “Send to” box, paste the bitcoin address you copied in the Muun app
    5. Luno might have a few extra steps to allow the send (depending on yoru security)
  3. Once the send is complete on the Luno side, you will see the money appear in Muun after a few minutes
  4. You’re ready to go!

How long does it take to complete a payment?

Almost all transactions complete within a few seconds. If, for some reason, the transaction fails to complete, you need to wait 90 seconds from the time you selected “Contactless QR” for the system to reset so you can retry or use a different payment method.

Does this work with local Crypto wallets like Luno or VALR?

Both Luno and VALR implemented the CryptoQR scanner technology directly in their apps. It is now possible to pay Pick n Pay directly from your VALR or Luno funds. For more information see their help articles:

Which wallets do this payment system work with? Which wallet do you recommend?

You can use any standard Lightning-enabled wallet. There are many Lightning-enabled wallets available on the Google Play Store and Apple App Store. 

We recommend “Phoenix” or “Wallet of Satoshi” for ease of use. “Strike” and “Muun” are two other popular options which have been extensively tested.

Are there limitations to what can be purchased with this mechanism?

Some facilities are restricted, for example you will not be able to get cash-back at the till. The intention is that you should be able to purchase goods with Crypto.

What amounts are supported? Are there any limits?

Anything from 10c to R9,999. Lightning payments can be seen as an electronic cash alternative. It is meant to be fast and cheap, and it is also more suitable for smaller transactions.

Do you need airtime or mobile data to perform the transaction?

Yes, the transaction uses a small amount of mobile data since the CryptoQR app and your Lightning wallet must be connected to the internet. You will need mobile data or wifi access to complete the transaction.

Who can I contact with additional questions and feedback?

The CryptoQR app

Why do I need a second app?

The credit card terminals that you normally use at the point of purchase are not able to present lightning invoices directly. However, they support a more generic QR code that enables payment with various wallets payment mechanisms.  The CryptoQR app translates that QR code into a lightning invoice that your Lightning wallet is able to open and pay.

Where can I get the “CryptoQR” app?

The app is available on both Apple and Android, via the app stores.

For Android:

For Apple

What does the scanner app do besides scan a QR code and retrieve a lightning invoice?

The app is intended to do only that. As a convenience, it lets you easily send us a support request containing an identifier that we can use to easily find your transactions.

Does the app collect personal information?

The app is just a QR scanner. We value your privacy and do not collect any personal information. Should this change, it will be communicated clearly here and inside the app. The app generates a random ID when it is installed to connect support requests with specific transactions.

If you delete and reinstall the app you will receive a new random ID, so if you really want to remain anonymous you can reinstall the app after every purchase.

Why does the app open the wrong Lightning wallet app?

We have noticed that in iOS, if you have multiple Lightning wallets installed, the app will open the LAST lightning wallet that was installed. You can also select a specific Lightning wallet in the CryptoQR configuration menu. Please let us know if your preferred Lightning wallet is not shown inside CryptoQR by contacting

What if something goes wrong?

What happens if something goes wrong after I send the payment?

If you take too long to complete the payment, or there is a system error before the transaction is completed, your funds will automatically be returned to your wallet after a timeout period. On some wallets this is within a few minutes, on other wallets it may take up to 24 hours. The point of sale system takes 90 seconds to reset for you to retry or use a different payment method.

What happens if I need to return some items for a refund?

Currently you can not receive a refund in Bitcoin. The store will issue in-store credit as a refund. 

I noticed my items were scanned incorrectly, can I get refunded to my Lightning wallet?

No, any returns or refunds are handled as cash transactions. Refunds in Bitcoin are not supported at this stage.

What happens if my phone’s battery dies while I’m paying?

You will need to wait until the 90 second timeout period has passed to pay using a different method. If you completed the payment before your battery died then the point of sale will indicate the transaction has completed. If anything goes wrong, your funds are returned to you automatically.

What happens if I lose my phone? Do I lose my money?

It depends on the wallet provider you choose. Some wallets can be recovered via e-mail while others require that you store a backup, in case your phone is lost or stolen. We do not offer a wallet service or support, please take time to familiarise yourself with the backup options of your wallet software.

Who do I contact if I need additional help?

You can request support from within the “CryptoQR” app, or you can email

Pricing, Volatility and Exchange Rate

What do the transactions cost?

Transaction fees can vary depending on the wallet used, but we see typical transaction fees around 70c and many transactions have zero fees. Apart from your wallet fee which goes to the Lightning network, there are no other transaction costs.

Are there any fees paid in addition to what your wallet charges? 

We do not charge a fee to use the CryptoQR app. You may pay a Lightning network fee when you make a payment from your Lightning app. 

We do request a small (approximately 100 sats) payment when you link your Lightning wallet to the CryptoQR app to ensure you have a funded wallet that can send Lightning Network payments and is compatible with our app. This is essential to ensure we don’t create delays in a busy retail environment. 

We will adjust this amount should the price of Bitcoin increase so that the test transaction becomes expensive.

How is the exchange rate determined? 

The exchange rate is calculated based on market conditions at the time of payment and takes a number of factors into account, including the size of the transaction and available order book liquidity on multiple local liquidity provider platforms. 

We only source liquidity on local exchanges due to exchange control regulations. You will clearly see the Rand value of your payment and the amount of Satoshis you will pay in your Lightning wallet before you make the payment.

What about volatility in Bitcoin’s price?

The exchange rate is calculated based on market conditions at the time of transaction and “locked-in” for a few minutes so that volatility does not affect the payment.

Legal, Compliance and Tax

Is this legal?

Yes, we have engaged legal experts, industry bodies and regulatory authorities to ensure full compliance with existing legislation. Treasury has indicated it will introduce new rules towards the end of this year, and we will ensure we comply with any new regulation as it is finalised.

Is the transaction considered a cross-border or foreign exchange transfer? Are there any exchange control issues?

No, the payment is received by a local provider. Crypto to Rand conversion is done on a local exchange.

Are Crypto payments taxable?

It depends. In general, trading or transferring ownership of crypto is a taxable event. However, in some countries, like Australia, Crypto that is purchased specifically for buying goods within a short period of time is considered “Personal Use Assets” and not subject to capital gains or income tax. South Africa also has the concept of Personal Use Assets. It is best to consult a professional tax practitioner for guidance.

Crypto Related Questions

Will this work with normal Bitcoin payments (non-Lightning)?

No, Bitcoin and other Blockchain based transactions are not suitable for rapid, small payments. Only Lightning-enabled wallets are supported to allow for very small amounts.

Why did you choose Lightning, rather than another Crypto token like Ethereum or Ripple?

The Lightning Network is designed for rapid, small payments like at the point of sale and only supports Bitcoin-denominated transactions for now. Bitcoin is the most popular Crypto Asset with the highest level of adoption and available liquidity.

Will you support other Crypto tokens in the future?

To ensure transaction speed and low fees, we only support Lightning Network transactions. The Lightning Network may support non-Bitcoin transactions in the future, in which case the system will naturally support other tokens. We imagine a future where a shopper may decide to pay using any token of their choice and the merchant may choose to receive their payment in a different token, with automatic conversion between the two tokens.

Is the transaction anonymous?

Lightning Transactions allow for the payer to remain reasonably anonymous. However, in order to facilitate customer support queries each installation of the CryptoQR application is provided with a unique, random identifier. This identifier can be used to identify that the same installation was used to perform different transactions.

Who can I contact to accept Lightning payments?

How easy is it to give someone else Lightning so they can shop on my behalf?

Peer-to-peer payments using two lightning wallets on the Lightning Network take a few seconds and have very low costs, so it is very easy indeed. All the person needs to do is send you a request for a payment, which can be done via Whatsapp, email or even SMS.

Will I be able to see my payments on my bank statement? (How do I track my spending)?

Your lightning wallet app will contain a list of all your transactions, very much like a bank statement. Some wallet apps might even allow you to export this history, so that you can import it into a personal finance management app.

Will this be available at other retailers?

The report by Deloitte, “Merchants getting ready for crypto” reveals that nearly 75% of retailers plan to accept cryptocurrency payments within the next two years. At this point we’re not able to divulge specifics.

How does Lightning differentiate from Bitcoin and when we do Lightning transactions, are we still paying in Bitcoin?

The Lightning Network is completely separate from the Bitcoin Blockchain.  However, to transact on the Lightning Network, you need to have a Bitcoin balance which is used to settle your transactions, in much the same way as the balance in your bank account enables your credit card transactions to be settled.  For convenience, Lightning transactions are still denominated in Bitcoin values, but no Bitcoin is transferred on the Blockchain during a Lightning transaction.

How secure is this?

Your smartphone is a lot more secure than the cash in your pocket: it’s protected by a PIN and/or biometric authentication, you can remotely wipe it if you notice it has been stolen, and it has a number of other security features to help protect you from criminals. 

Even with a credit card payment, someone can still look over your shoulder to check your PIN. If you enable fingerprint or face ID on your Lightning wallet, it is probably the most secure way to make a payment today.

Can anyone steal my funds when I do this? How safe is it?

The Lightning Network has been designed and evaluated by some of the foremost security experts of our time, so the process of transacting is very secure. In practice, to keep your Lightning funds secure, you need to take the same care with your wallet app as you would with your internet banking app: don’t share your password, make sure you set a good PIN code, and think twice before transacting.