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POST OFFICE to Consider using BITCOIN - Could BITCOIN Save the Post Office?
Amid a rise in popularity of cryptocurrency, the financially floundering US Postal Service is considering the possibility of adding a bitcoin exchange to its current roster of non-bank financial services.
The USPS Office of Inspector General (OIG) led a webinar last week on bitcoin and other digital currencies to "explore the possibilities" of setting up bitcoin and other digital-currency exchanges at post offices as a means of boosting revenue. The event included representatives of the Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago, Booz Allen Hamilton, and the World Bank, among others, MainStreet reported.
The OIG also discussed the possibility of creating a "postcoin" as a USPS-specific digital currency.
"There were suggestions like if someone made 'postcoin,' 'What would that be?' 'How could that help?' If we were to employ the technology to support post office operations around the world, internationally, how could crypto currency help post offices do their business?" Darrell Duane, a bitcoin consultant who was involved in the webinar, told online digital currency site CoinDesk.
In addition to the webinar, the USPS OIG released a report covering the possible benefits of providing other non-bank financial services, including replenishable prepaid debit cards, savings accounts, and payday loans.
"The Postal Service already provides non-bank financial services like money orders and international money transfers, and many American families could benefit if the Postal Service expanded its offerings," the OIG said in a statement.
Should the USPS decide on entering the cryptocurrency world, it has a built-in advantage considering it is already licensed to provide related services, like money transmitting.
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The search for alternate revenue streams for USPS in an era of relative austerity in the US comes as its core business has conceded much ground to internet based communications. The majority of bills are now paid online, and letter writing has gone down by 25 percent since 2010. The USPS costs the federal government $15.9 billion a year to operate.
Reddit, Virgin Galactic, and Overstock.com now accept Bitcoin.
So do dating site OKCupid and travel site CheapAir.com. Game giant Zynga is now in the testing phase.
Two big Las Vegas hotels accept Bitcoin.
Already, 21,000 merchants are using Coinbase to accept Bitcoin from customers.
(And you can use Bitcoin at Amazon, Barnes and Noble, Crate & Barrel, Target, Sears, CVS, Hyatt Hotels, Kohl's, Burger King, Applebees, Victoria's Secret, Land's End, Facebook, Groupon, Banana Republic, the Gap, AMC and Fandango movie theaters, Whole Foods, Wine.com, Wine Enthusiast, Papa John's, Nike, Adidas, Sephora, Sports Authority, Staples, Zales jewelry, Game Stop, FTD flowers, Zappos and hundreds of other stores if you use Bitcoin to buy gift cards at Gyft.)
Andy Haldane -- Executive Director for Financial Stability at the Bank of England -- believes that peer-to-peer internet technology will lead to the break up of the big banks.
So it sounds like Bitcoin is shaking up the status quo ...
JP Morgan Chase has filed a patent for a Bitcoin-like payment system. And Russia's largest bank is working on a Bitcoin alternative as well.
Ben Bernanke and the Department of Justice have both cautiously blessed Bitcoin.