The Bitcoin hype is attracting more and more people. Digital money has broken through one price barrier after another in the past few weeks. A Bitcoin currently costs over 48,000 francs. Six times as much as last year! This is now arousing desires in the Swiss retail trade too. VIEW research shows: Over 4,000 sales outlets will soon include the digital currency that was once only used in the dodgy Darknet in their store offerings.
Manor initiates the major sales offensive. Starting today, Tuesday, customers can buy Bitcoin there in the form of prepaid cards with the name Cryptonow. The almost 60 department stores are just the beginning. From April, kiosk giant Valora will be offering this Bitcoin product in its sales outlets. Valora is convinced that “the demand for Bitcoin products will increase sharply in the coming years”. Even the gas station shops from BP, Shell and Avia are jumping on the Bitcoin train. BLICK knows: A home electronics chain known throughout Switzerland is also planning to start selling cryptocurrency.
Rip-off actions should be prevented
Prepaid cards in the store? Until now, this was only known from online services such as Netflix or iTunes. Cryptocurrencies, on the other hand, belonged to the realm of digital banks and exchange offices. Värdex wants to change that. The start-up company based in Baar ZG wants to make Bitcoin palatable to Mr and Mrs Swiss, the company said to VIEW.
Because there is still great uncertainty among the population when dealing with the new type of financial product. New online fraud cases become known regularly. The rip-off is often hundreds of thousands of francs. Värdex wants to polish up the reputation of Bitcoin. Product manager Simon Grylka (31) knows: “If customers can buy crypto currencies from established retailers, that creates trust.”
“Every Grosi should be able to invest in Bitcoin”
Depending on the prepaid card, there are Bitcoins worth 50 to 500 francs. According to Grylka, the offer should be aimed at newcomers and give them their first secure experience with the new currency: “Every big boy should soon be able to invest in Bitcoin.”
The time to exchange the credit is up to the customer. That means: the lower the price, the more bitcoins there are. But the course always resembles a rollercoaster ride. The re-exchange in currencies such as the Swiss franc is more complicated. To do this, the bitcoins have to be transferred to an external wallet and sold in an online exchange office. Alternatively, it can be exchanged at Bitcoin machines.
“Digital gold” instead of means of payment
In everyday life, the use of cryptocurrencies remains limited. So far, companies have hardly accepted Bitcoin as a means of payment. Especially not for the purchase of everyday goods. The transaction costs – whether on online exchanges or at SBB machines – are still horrendous. The hope of Swiss crypto companies like Värdex: That the large-scale entry into crypto by retailers will lay the foundation for wider social use. Bitcoin will one day outgrow its current function as “digital gold”.
Since spring 2018, all 2300 SBB ticket machines have also officially been Bitcoin machines. The number of people filling their virtual Bitcoin wallet here is growing. “The offer is enjoying increasing popularity,” confirms SBB spokesman Reto Schärli. A total of 10,000 people now need the offer. That is 4000 users more than two years ago! According to SBB, 5,000 customers today regularly top up their Bitcoin wallet at the ticket machine. “1500 people use the service every month,” Schärli calculates. Anyone can change digital money with a value of 100 to 500 francs here every day. This requires: a Bitcoin wallet, where the digital money is sent, and a mobile phone with a Swiss number. The fees at the machine are still steep at 6 percent. If you pay in 500 francs, 30 francs are cut off. 470 francs correspond to 0.0094 bitcoins. At the time of the conversion, a Bitcoin was worth around 48,000 francs. Ulrich Rotzinger