Unexpectedly high demand for Switzerland’s first crypto stamp has created headaches for the national postal service. Swiss Post announced it had to deal with technical issues when numerous orders hit its online shop all at once on the day the innovative offering was made available.
Swiss Post announced the “crypto stamp” initiative in September when it was presented as an attempt to “bridge the gap between the physical and digital worlds in philately.” The state-owned company joined forces with blockchain services provider Inacta to produce the stamp, a first of a kind for the Alpine nation.
When the crypto stamp was launched on Thursday morning, Nov. 25, demand was so high that it “temporarily led to technical problems on postshop.ch,” the Swiss Post told the AWP news agency. That’s after the postal service had been contacted by many interested in acquiring the stamp in recent weeks, according to a spokesperson quoted by Swissinfo.
The publication details that the crypto stamp consists of two parts – a physical one, which can be bought for 8.90 Swiss francs ($9.50), and a corresponding digital image depicting one of 13 designs. Every physical stamp provides access to the digital representation stored on a blockchain which can be collected and traded.
“At first glance, the Swiss Crypto Stamp looks like any ordinary stamp. It is self-adhesive, shows the Matterhorn and the moon on a blue background, and has a face value of 8.90 francs. Owners can use it to frank postal items just like any other stamp,” Swiss Post explained in a statement released on Sept. 30 while also noting: “But the actual crypto stamp is digital and it is a digital collector’s item.”
Swiss Post and Inacta plan to issue some 175,000 crypto stamps with 65,000 copies of the most common digital design and only 50 of the rarest. Three-quarters of the limited editions have been purchased in the first three hours of the launch day.
In the past few years, Switzerland has established itself as a major crypto-friendly destination in the heart of Europe. Hundreds of companies from the blockchain industry are headquartered or represented in the Swiss crypto valley based in the Canton of Zug. Even state-run enterprises have been seeking involvement in the crypto space.
In 2018, Swiss Post announced a collaboration with the telecom provider Swisscom on a blockchain infrastructure project aimed at meeting the security requirements of banks. Earlier this year, the banking subsidiary of the postal service, Postfinance, launched a mobile app providing clients with access to over a dozen cryptocurrencies.
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