The spread of Bitcoin is set to increase, bypassing traditional currency exchange
Bitcoin is set to spread into wider use as Swiss railway company SBB is enabling the cryptocurrency to be purchased at its ticket machines.
“From 11 November 2016, customers will be able to obtain Bitcoin at all SBB ticket machines. Until now, there have only been limited opportunities to purchase Bitcoin in Switzerland,” the company said.
“With over 1,000 ticket machines, SBB has a dense distribution network that is available round the clock and is not only suitable for purchasing tickets, but also allows additional services to be obtained.”
Bitcoin in the real-world
To do this SBB has partnered with regulated financial intermediary SweePay to distribute Bitcoins from its ticket machines. Customers can use the ticket machines to exchange physical money for the virtual currency.
To do this, customers need to select mobile top up on the machines, scan the QR code on their Bitcoin digital wallet and enter the number of Swiss Francs, up to 500 CHF, in to the machine, confirm the offer of Bitcoins they receive then identify themselves using a mobile number and a security code sent to their smartphone. While the machine can pay out Bitcoins, for the time being it will not accept payments made with the cryptocurrency.
While credit card cannot be used with the machines to buy Bitcoins, SBB is effectively providing a way to swap local currency for a digital version that can be used anywhere around the world, thereby bypassing unfavourable exchange rates. This is something that many UK travellers will appreciate given the slump of the British Pound’s value following the referendum vote to leave the European Union.
SBB work to enable Bitcoins to be purchased from its ticket machines serves as an example of how blockchain-powered digital currencies are growing in influence beyond new and specialist companies.
Bitcoin is also becoming a currency that businesses cannot ignore as it offers opportunities for companies to find new ways to carry out transactions, providing they are willing to embrace the challenges adopting a cryptocurrency can present.
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