Austria – Netherlands crypto stamp

On September 22, 2022, Austria and the Netherlands are issuing the first joint crypto stamps with digital twin in the blockchain as a twin issue [T1]. The stamp sheet is the size of a bank card and is made of extra strong reinforced paper. The physical stamp has been affixed to the front of the stamp sheet, in the center. The stamp can be detached along the perforated edges. The background of both the sheet and the stamp features the stripes of the Austrian or Dutch flag with an added crystal structure. Designs of stamps are similar, showing a head of a bull with small modification in the background. A pattern of edelweiss (Austria) or tulips (Netherlands) runs across the flag of each country and a ‘secret word list’ (QR code) for viewing, storing and selling the digital twin of the crypto stamp in the blockchain. The upper right-hand corner of the reverse features the unicorn logo, which has been used as a symbol for crypto stamps since the very first issue by Austria in 2019.

Now, it becomes a little more complicated when there is a need to describe the differences between the true physical stamp and stamp sheet compared to the virtual material.

Each physical postage stamp has a digital twin in the blockchain. Blockchain is a computer technology that uses distributed databases to secure the ownership of crypto money and other digital assets such as crypto art and crypto stamps. These digital items are also known as NFTs, non-fungible tokens. The digital twins can be viewed on a computer or smartphone at any time. It is also possible to store it in a digital collection or sell it using a digital wallet.

The digital twins are stored in the blockchain in five different colors. The likelihood of getting a particular color depends on the randomly generated color. For Austrian stamps, there are 1,000 red, 6,667 yellow, 13,333 blue, 26667 green and 52,333 black virtual stamps associated to the 100,000 printed physical stamps. For Dutch stamps, there are 1,400 red, 9,334 yellow, 18,666 blue, 37,334 green and 73,266 black virtual stamps for a total of 140,000 physical stamps. By scanning the QR code on the stamp with a smartphone, one will find out which color is linked to the crypto stamp.

In other words, and if we have understood the principle of this new collection, only one physical stamp per country became available, but each is linked to 5 possible different virtual stamps per country. As a consequence, the value of a physical stamp will differ depending upon the associated color of the virtual stamp. In theory, in your stamp binder, one physical stamp should be sufficient, but if you want to own the complete collection, you need to acquire the 5 color variations from each country. With a denomination above € 9.00 per stamp (more precisely € 9.90 for Austria and €9.05 for the Netherlands), this represents a minimum investment close to € 100, in the case you are very lucky. Of course, as you do not know what color you buy, the best way is to acquire the stamps from sellers who already know the associated color, but which have already adapted the sales price to the rarity. Older Austrian crypto stamps are commonly sold above € 200, and it should not be different with these stamps. In this case, a maximum of only 1,000 full combinations of 10 stamps will be possible, and said differently, it will almost be impossible, or very expensive, to reach the target of bringing together a full hand. It looks like a combination between philately and a lottery, and a new way to abuse collectors. Indeed, we cannot recommend trying to create the full combination, but up to you if you want to try. However, this pair of stamps, independently of the associated colors, will definitely be considered as a twin issue, in the form of a two physical stamp sheets.

The Dutch crypto stamp is the first crypto stamp to be issued by PostNL. This new Austrian crypto stamp is identified under the name ‘Crypto stamp 4.0’.