NFT Stamps @ SwissPost
The interview was conducted by Christian Handtrack, Jan Heinemann, Tomal Kanti Ganguly and Wolfgang Krämer.
Postal stamps based on the blockchain technology are very advanced. You even decided to take it a step further and developed the 2.0 version of an already advanced stamp. Why did you decide on crypto stamps?
It is crucial to go with the current technology trends and incorporate innovations into business. When I first started my position in the stamps department two years ago, I was looking for processes to improve and optimize. I was searching for projects around the globe in this field. What caught my eye was the Austrian crypto stamp and its success, and other countries following that example. Then I asked myself: “Why are we not using it? Are we just satisfied with the status quo?” I wanted to know if something similar was in planning or in preparation. In the past a similar idea emerged but was not followed up afterwards. I realized the potential of its use for the public and thus tried to understand the technology behind it. The more I researched, the more I saw the benefits of connecting the digital world with the analogous world and reaching out to new target groups.
Certainly, there are more areas with enormous potential for digitalization, but we wanted to make the first step and draw more attention to this topic which could lead to multiple other ones. The success we had at first was just the beginning: we kept exploring and went on an extensive search for other possibilities and finally decided to go for version 2.0.
The blockchain technology is a complex and sophisticated technology and many people are struggling to understand it. How did you persuade the decision makers, and more importantly, your customers?
It certainly was not easy to explain something so innovative, complex, and intangible to the decision makers. It is also hard to explain it to customers and clients. However, they still want to know how it works. So, I decided to describe the whole process of Non Fungible Tokens (NFTs) with a simple example:
Imagine, you have the original portrait of Mona Lisa, and you have a 10 Euro note. If the portrait is handed to you, you know it is the original by certain criteria and with it you have the value of the portrait on hand. It is different with a 10 Euro note: there are many of them, and it usually makes no difference which piece of note is handed to you, the value always stays the same. This changes if we decide to change the 10 euro note and make it unique with a signature on it. This is how I tried to simplify this technology and make something intangible a bit more conceivable.
I still have a lot to learn, but the more I learn, the more I realize the potential of NFTs. By simplifying how the process works and how successful it was, I could convince decision makers and customers and inspire them to digitalize which led to synergies leading us to our success.
NFT stamps seem very promising from the technical side, indeed. But more interesting than the technology are the use cases for it, being a senior citizen or a customer. What is the benefit for the customer and end user and what are his or her capabilities with crypto stamps? You said there is a lot of potential.
The customers’ goal to keep stamps alive gets easier. We raise the awareness for the digitalization of stamps into the modern world. Furthermore, there are NFT standards we could use to digitalize or tokenize already existing stamps. The latter is a use case which we are currently examining, and which brings other dimensions of potential into this field.
For companies, this means that revenue can be created, and the shrinking market of letters and stamps can stay alive. Since the launch of the crypto stamps, it was a huge topic in Switzerland and stamps experienced a revival. After having that huge and unexpected success after issuing the first and second version, we could see that we were part of the new digital world and enabled our customers to be that as well.
Despite all the troubles that cryptocurrencies and NFTs might be facing right now, I believe that NFTs are going to revolutionize the market for art collectors. The originality of art pieces can be guaranteed, and this can also be used on stamps, also making the stamp collectors go digital.