Morgan Creek Digital founder Anthony Pompliano has suggested that major United States retailer Kroger should deploy the Lightning Network in its stores, following the brand’s decision to stop accepting Visa at some locations. According to Pompliano’s tweet from Mar. 3, the negotiations have already started.
On Friday, Mar. 1, Kroger officially announced that its Smith's Food & Drug stores will not accept Visa cards starting Apr. 3 due to the high fees that company imposes on major retailers. "Visa has been misusing its position and charging retailers excessive fees for a long time," Kroger's chief financial officer Mike Schlotman said, explaining the decision.
Shortly after the decision was announced, Pompliano asked for contacts at Kroger via Twitter, stating that the retailer could use the Lightning Network — a payment protocol that works as a second layer on top of a blockchain and allows for quicker crypto transactions — instead of Visa. He tweeted:
“The Morgan Creek Digital team will fly to meet them [Kroger team] and get them hooked up with the Lightning Network nationwide.”
A user nicknamed @sophicNick, whose Twitter profile says that he works at Kroger Digital as a product manager, reached out to Pompliano to discuss the details. According to the Morgan Creek Digital founder, the first call with the Kroger team, which he called “world-class and forward thinking,” already took place. “Looks like things are progressing. Stay tuned,” Pompliano added in the tweet.
As Reuters earlier reported, Smith’s is not the first of Kroger’s chains to stop accepting Visa cards. Initially, Foods Co. supermarkets in California stopped accepting the card in August 2018. Together, the two chains account for almost 142 supermarkets and 108 fuel center locations across seven states in the U.S.
Morgan Creek Capital — an institutional investment house with $1.5 billion in assets under management — is actively exploring crypto and blockchain.
For instance, in August 2018 Morgan Creek Digital, company’s institutional digital assets manager, launched the Digital Asset Index Fund in partnership with Bitwise. The fund gives accredited investors, endowments and pensions the possibility to gain indirect exposure to Bitcoin (BTC), Ethereum (ETH) and eight other large market cap assets, excluding Ripple (XRP) and Stellar (XLM).
This February, Morgan Creek Digital announced that they had received $40 million in funding from investors, including two major pension funds that have both invested in its new initiative, the Morgan Creek Blockchain Opportunities Fund.