Britain’s state-run postal service is allowing consumers to buy Bitcoin… kind of.
The Post Office has announced that its identity verification app can be used to connect to a decentralized exchange called Swarm Markets — and from here, vouchers can be purchased that are redeemable for crypto.
As a result of this arrangement, the Post Office isn’t going to receive a commission if crypto is purchased — it simply serves as a middleman when it comes to Know Your Customer checks.
Despite this, the move has attracted criticism. One financial planner told The Daily Telegraph that cryptocurrencies need to be sold with a “wealth warning” that their value can fall dramatically — and questioned why the Post Office is getting involved in this volatile asset class.
A number of MPs have also called for the Post Office to reconsider whether its EasyID app should be used this way.
Dame Angela Eagle, who sits on the Treasury Select Committee, told the newspaper:
“It’s extremely concerning ... The Post Office is running a huge risk of completely damaging a trusted brand. They’re risking their own brand for something which is unregulated, and giving it legitimacy and credibility. I think they should stop it right away.”
Swarm Markets describes itself as “the world’s first licensed, high-liquidity DeFi protocol” — and says it delivers “the convenience and transparency of DeFi with the confidence of financial market compliance.”
When it comes to its partnership with the Post Office, an executive said that it wants to ensure that Bitcoin and Ether can be bought easily and safely.
Regulators are more concerned that a lack of understanding among British consumers could cause them to invest more than they can afford to lose.