As reported by derStandard.at on July 10, you can now buy gift cards for bitcoins, ether, dash and litecoin in thousands of Austrian post offices. Have the country's post offices suddenly become bitcoin sellers?
The postal companies in Austria and Germany have something in common; both were formerly state companies and became private ventures in the 1990s. In the context of this shift, both postal companies started to sell a wide spectrum of bits and pieces in their offices, usually products of private office supply, but also toys, funny cards, cups and so on.
However, there is a big difference between the post offices in both countries; after you have bought stamps or paid for sending a packet, in Germany, you usually get asked if you want to open a bank account at the Postbank. In Austria, you might get asked if you want to buy bitcoins or other cryptocurrencies.
Since recently you can buy bitcoin, ether, dash and litecoin at every post office in Austria. The offices sell so-called “bitcoinbons” from two Austrian companies, Bitcoinbon.at and BitPanda. Like with any other gift card for digital goods, you buy it locally at a shop and redeem it on an online platform. The newly introduced bons from BitPanda cover several cryptocurrencies and a remarkable value of 50, 100 or 500 euros. However, prices are a slightly worse when compared to prices on Bitcoin.de, and the fees are a bit higher.
With this move, the Austrian Post joins the so called “Traffiken,” small shops for tobacco, stamps and newspapers, which started to sell Bitcoinbons in early 2015. These cards, however, only accounted for 25, 50 or 100 euros. Nowadays, the Bitcoinbons can also be bought at Post offices, where they compete with the Bitcoin coupons of BitPanda.
The Alps area seems to like the direct purchase of bitcoins. Besides Austria, the Swiss made a pioneering step to let another traditional company start to sell bitcoins; the “Schweizer Bundesbahn,” which owns all train stations in Switzerland, started to sell the cryptocurrency utilizing its ATM where people usually buy train tickets.