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Bitcoins at its Ticket Machines to be Sold by Swiss Rail Operator


10/29/2016


Bitcoins at its Ticket Machines to be Sold by Swiss Rail Operator
Bitcoins, the web-based digital currency, would be sold on its ticket machines by Switzerland's national railways firm SBB as the firm is branching out next month with the launch of a new service.
 
The state-owned company announced on Friday that in a two-year experiment that will test Switzerland's appetite for the cryptocurrency, customers will be able to trade Swiss francs for bitcoins using the ticket machines beginning Nov. 11.
 
"There have been few possibilities to obtain bitcoins in Switzerland until now. With its 1,000-plus ticket machines, SBB operates a dense, around-the-clock distribution network that's suited for more than just ticket sales," SBB said.
 
To allow customers to top up their digital 'bitcoin wallet' accounts by mobile phone, SBB is working with Zug-based digital payments firm SweePay. For every transactions, anywhere between 20 and 500 Swiss francs ($20-503), can be exchanged by customers.
 
Users would however be required to hold an account with a wallet service that allows storage of the digital currency and SBB will act as distributor while the exchange will be performed by SweePay.
 
SBB stressed customers will not be allowed to buy tickets with the e-money. Bitcoin "is not accepted as a payment method," the state-owned company said.

On the Swiss ticket machines, users won't be able to procure it without a trace: customers will need to identify themselves using a Swiss mobile phone, even as Bitcoin is known for allowing users to move money across the world quickly and relatively anonymously.
 
While bitcoins can be purchased, they won't be accepted as payment at the machines, meaning ticket revenues will be unaffected by changes in the bitcoin exchange rate.
 
The SBB said that it decided to launch a two-year pilot project beginning on November 11 after it had been testing customer demand for Bitcoin across the wealthy Alpine federation.
 
"Until now, there have only been limited opportunities to purchase Bitcoin in Switzerland," the rail service said in a statement.
 
Provided users give a mobile phone number for identification, it would use its network of 1,000 ticket machines to let customers swap other currencies for Bitcoin, SBB said.
 
A CFF spokesman said that customers "will be able to purchase fractions of Bitcoin" with the current value of the currency around 689 Swiss francs.
 
Secrecy surrounding the currency, including its creator, have led to some to questions on its stability and transparency even as Bitcoin has stirred interest as a way to move money around the world with no fees or bank involvement.
 
Earlier in May 2016, Zug in Switzerland had announced that by offering payment services in the digital currency, it wants to “set an example”. Zug is a centre for technology and finance in Switzerland and this announcement was made by the city council.
 
For some council services up to a value of 200 francs, residents of the central Swiss city will be able to make payments in bitcoin from July 1.

“We want to express our openness to new technologies,” the mayor of Zug Dolfi Müller said in a statement.
 
(Source:www.reuters.com & www.thelocal.ch)