In February 2019, Liechtenstein Post started selling cryptocurrencies over the counter. A first-ever, an attempt to find new business opportunities. The post offers fiat-to-crypto exchange services – after making a purchase, buyers will receive a physical crypto wallet, including private and public keys.
First six months were successful trial
At first, the new service was meant as a trial, but after six months, the post’s review was overly positive. “From February until Mai, the revenue has met our expectations,” said Gustav Gstoehl, Regional Director of the post, in July.
During the first half of 2019, customers could only exchange 1,000 CHF for cryptocurrencies per day over the counter. In summer, the post has lifted this daily exchange limit to 20,000 CHF.
So far, however, the post has neither expanded its range of cryptocurrencies offered – currently Bitcoin, Ethereum, Litecoin, and Ripple – nor offered their exchange services in any other branches than the post offices in Vaduz and Schaan.
Review 2020: Volumes kept going up
This month, the post looks back at one year of over the counter exchange services and the bottom-line is positive. There are, on average, 20 customers a month who buy either Bitcoin, Ethereum, Litecoin and Ripple for their digital wallet, with Bitcoin being by far the most popular digital currency – 67% of all customers are buying Bitcoin.
“The average age of customers is in their mid-40s,” explains Gustav Gstöhl. Two thirds of the customers are men. The exchange volume has regularly been above 10,000 francs per transaction after the limit increase in summer.
“Customers are increasingly exchanging larger amounts,” confirms Gstöhl, without disclosing the exact amount of transactions taking place in all of 2019. Just this much: the highest amount so far was 16,000 francs.
Swiss Post sees potential:
The times for postal services have gotten rougher. That’s why the Liechtenstein Post sees a chance in cryptocurrencies to diversify and open up new business opportunities. “We see potential and the opportunity to offer our customers an additional service,” says Gstöhl. But for now, the crypto services remain a small side-business.
According to Coin ATM Radar, the post offices in Schaan and Vaduz are at this point the only contact points where customers can exchange physical cash to cryptocurrencies. The previously installed Bitcoin ATMs have disappeared. Moreover, running the exchange service only comes at a minimal effort for the post. “We have not yet invested any money in our crypto exchange services,” says Gstöhl.
That said, one aspect that may have made the service attractive in 2019 has changed now. Since 1 January 2020, all customers must be identified due to the updated Due Diligence Act. Previously, that had only been the case for exchange transactions exceeding amounts of 1,000 francs.