Atupri, a Swiss health insurance provider, said Monday that its 200,000 customers will now be able to make payments using bitcoin and ethereum. The 110-year old firm claims it is the “first” insurer in Switzerland to accept cryptocurrencies.
In a statement, Atupri said payments will be made through local regulated crypto financial firm Bitcoin Suisse, with which it has partnered. The Bern-based health company will not hold any bitcoin (BTC) or ether (ETH), only the converted cash it receives from Bitcoin Suisse.
“As digital pioneers in the health sector, we anticipate social trends and offer insurance solutions with long-term prospects,” said Caroline Meli, Atupri head of marketing and sales.
“Blockchain technology and the associated use of cryptocurrencies will become increasingly important,” she added.
Founded in 1910 as a company health insurance fund for the Swiss Federal Railways, Atupri has grown into one of the biggest health insurers in the central European country. In 2019, the firm reported a premium income of $885 million.
Armin Schmid, head of Bitcoin Suisse crypto payments, said: “We are pleased about the partnership with Atupri and guarantee secure and uncomplicated payment options with cryptocurrencies.”
Among other things, Bitcoin Suisse handles the trading of digital assets for customers. It also offers crypto custody services.
In May, the company added gold, silver, and platinum to its platform, allowing users to trade the precious metals against both BTC and ETH, as well as five other major fiat currencies. The precious metal trades are available for 24/7 trading with immediate cash settlement, it said.
Switzerland, with its crypto tax haven of Zug, has taken a progressive stance toward crypto assets by legalizing its use and formalizing crypto transactions in a range of different contexts. The country sees virtual money and blockchain technology as strategic innovations in global finance.
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