Surprisingly, until now, Switzerland hasn’t had an important role in the evolution of digital currencies. Yet, this is about to change, considering the fact that Switzerland’s National Rail Service, also known as the SBB, is planning to begin selling bitcoin at all of their stations starting from the 11th of November.
To put things better into perspective, SBB customers will be able to treat their Swiss francs in exchange for bitcoin, using a system implemented into the ticket machines. Unfortunately, users will not be able to purchase tickets using the digital currency. This may be blamed on volatility and restrictions still surrounding bitcoin, yet, it may change in the next couple of years.
There were some concerns relating to customer privacy, yet the SBB has released a press report, stating that purchasers will only be required to give out their mobile phone number, for identification purposes. A couple of exchange limits will also be implemented. Based on this, reports indicate that the transactions will be capped at the sum of 500 Swiss Francs, roughly equal to $500. As one bitcoin is currently over $710, this means that people will not be able to buy an entire coin, but rather fractions of the cryptocurrency.
While there have been numerous possibilities to purchase bitcoin through web-based exchanges in Switzerland, the SBB operates a dense, distribution network that is online at all times, definitely suitable for handling more than simple ticket sales. With this in mind, as there are over 1,000 ticket machines throughout the country, this could potentially represent one of the world’s largest network of ‘Bitcoin ATMs’.
This network can also be a solution for people who have been struggling to purchase bitcoin via their bank accounts, due to the high fees and long delays before the assets arrive.
In their recent press release, the SBB has mentioned that they have been testing customer demand for digital currencies around the country for a while now, which is why they have decided to launch this innovative, two-year pilot project.
This isn’t the first pilot program, meant to encourage the use of digital currencies in Switzerland. In fact, in July 2016, a Swiss town known by the name of Zug proudly launched an interesting scheme over 6 months, meant to allow residents to pay for a variety of public services via bitcoin. Some people have referred to the trial as innovative, and a strong step towards a fintech-based system, others were quite wary that the digital currency was not secure enough.
Based on everything that has been outlined so far, what do you personally think about the SBB’s effort to allow the Swiss to purchase bitcoin via their railway ticket machines? Let us know your thoughts in the comment section below.