World Stamps

Austria blazes new trail with digital Crypto stamp

Jun 17, 2019, 9 AM
Austria’s Crypto stamp issued June 11 commemorates cryptocurrency and includes what Austria Post calls “a virtual collector’s item.”

New Stamps of the World by Denise McCarty

Postage stamps often provide information about the past, but sometimes they feature more timely subjects.

For instance, Austrian Post has announced that it is breaking new ground with its digital Crypto stamp issued June 11.

The “crypto” in the stamp’s name refers to cryptocurrency, defined by Merriam Webster as “any form of currency that only exists digitally, that usually has no central issuing or regulating authority but instead uses a decentralized system to record transactions and manage the issuance of new units, and that relies on cryptography to prevent counterfeiting and fraudulent transactions.”

In announcing the stamp, Austrian Post said that it serves two purposes: The traditional postage part is on the left, and “a virtual collector’s item” is on the right.

Austrian Post explained the latter: “The digital counterpart is stored in the blockchain, a special kind of decentralized data storage. There it lies in a digital ‘purse,’ a so-called wallet, which is exclusively owned by the owner.”

The stamp is denominated €6.90. Designed by Julia Obermuller, it shows a multicolored unicorn, the symbol of the Ethereum blockchain, in the upper left corner.

According to Austrian Post, a total of 150,000 stamps were printed and are available at post office branches in Austria and through its online web shop.

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