Payfast, a payment gateway service based in South Africa, has recently announced its plans to drop Bitcoin support on its platform. Their reasoning? Well, they’re issues similar to many who have a problem with the world’s first digital asset. And these are issues that are actually warranted. It’s because of Bitcoin’s scalability problems on top of its high transaction fees.
Not The Replacement We Had Hoped
The company calls Bitcoin an “impractical substitute for cash”. This change will go into effect on July 20, 2019. It’s quite unfortunate, too, considering Payfast supports over 80,000 merchants on its platform. They didn’t make this choice haphazardly, either.
As Bitcoin.com reports, Payfast tried to fix these issues but had failed to. It’s because there’s nothing that the company can do to mitigate problems that are inherently a part of Bitcoin and its technology. An excerpt from the blog post:
“The resultant poor user experience has led us to re-evaluate Bitcoin as a payment method on our platform and a decision has been taken to discontinue support for Bitcoin from midnight 20 July 2019. Initially Bitcoin held promise of a global currency that would allow a faster, cheaper, and easier way to move money on the Internet. This included the movement of funds for day-to-day transactions, such as buying a cup of coffee. Our aim was to enable that promise for our buyers and merchants, and to support this alternative to traditional payment methods.”
The group had partnered with the Luno cryptocurrency exchange to make these transactions. However, as more people started to buy Bitcoin, the network began to slow down. Transactions would take much longer to process which just didn’t make it viable for Payfast to keep up with it. They would usually hold the transaction for ten minutes or so to fight price volatility. But network congestion made this so much harder, and payments would end up failing. It simply became too much.