The Post Office will allow its app users to purchase cryptocurrency through its free-to-use app from this week, as it signs a ground-breaking deal with trading platform Swarm Markets.
Last month the Post Office signed a deal with Yoti to roll out its ‘Easy ID’ digital identity functionality to its app, enabling customers to collect parcels without using their physical passport or driving licence.
Now this same functionality will allow users to access regulated crypto exchange Swarm, enabling them to purchase cryptocurrency vouchers and redeem them for either Bitcoin or Ethereum.
According to The Telegraph, the Post Office will not receive a commission on the vouchers, but will be paid for use of the ID verification software.
The app, developed by Yoti, uses the same facial recognition technology utilised at airport barriers to confirm the identity of users by matching their biometric data to official forms of ID, like a passport.
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This creates a secure digital ID on their mobile device which is protected by both their biometric data and a PIN code.
More than 10,000 Post Offices across the UK will now accept EasyID, alongside 13,000 Payzone outlets at convenience stores across the UK and a further 12,000 retailers.
“By making it easy and safe to buy real Bitcoin and Ethereum, more people now have the option to get started in crypto,” Swarm’s Philipp Pieper said.
A Post Office spokesman said: “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.”
The unlikely move comes amid as the Post Office places a significant focus on digitalisation, reeling from the huge influx of traffic it received during the pandemic thanks to the shift online.
It is just the latest in a string of initiatives to modernise its operations, following news earlier this week that it will begin accepting parcels for ecommerce giant Amazon at 1500 of its locations.