Over the weekend, excitement grew in the UK crypto community following a story that suggested the Post Office offers its users the chance to purchase cryptocurrency.
Such a move could be the next step for larger, mainstream cryptocurrency adoption in Britain, where cryptocurrency is currently unregulated.
However, just how accurate are these sentiments?
The Post Office and Cryptocurrency
The Post Office will not let users buy the likes of bitcoin and Ethereum from them directly. Instead, the institution has agreed a deal with Swarm Markets that grants the DeFi exchange the use of EasyID – an identity verification app created by the Post Office.
It is through Swarm that users will then be able to buy cryptocurrency-related assets. As The Telegraph states, the Post Office and Yoti – the company behind EasyID – will receive payment for the identity software, and do not take any commission on cryptocurrency.
From this, it appears the Post Office’s role in cryptocurrency is limited to offering KYC software to a third-party exchange.
KYC, or Know Your Customer, is a tool used by financial institutions to verify their user’s identities. In order to comply with regulators, various exchanges such as Binance have made KYC mandatory for its users.
Indeed, a Post Office statement made no reference to selling cryptocurrency, instead focusing on the EasyID aspects. A spokesperson told The Telegraph:
Access to products and services are increasingly moving online and we’ve responded to this shift by launching our free-to-use app, Post Office EasyID, allowing people to build their own secure digital identity on their smartphone and enabling them to easily control and prove who they are to whichever business they want to interact with.
This has not stopped both crypto enthusiasts and sceptics from highlighting the significance of a state-owned institution moving into crypto.
Commenting on the r/CryptoCurrency subreddit, one user said: “Good sign when governmental organizations support it.”
Alternatively, politicians from both the Labour Party and Conservative Party expressed to The Telegraph their concerns about the news. Labour MP Dame Angela Eagle said the Post Office is “risking their own brand for something which is unregulated, and giving it legitimacy and credibility.”
Despite these comments, it seems we’re a long way from seeing bitcoin listed at the Post Office’s Bureau de Change.
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