Postal Service: No plans for bitcoin

Top postal officials said Friday they had no plans to start dabbling in the bitcoin market.

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Joseph Corbett, the struggling agency’s top financial officer, told reporters that the virtual currency market was still too volatile, and not transparent enough for the U.S. Postal Service to take part.

“At the moment, we have no current plans to be involved in that market,” Corbett said, though he also noted the agency would “continue to look at it.”

Putting bitcoin ATMs in local post offices is one of the ideas being kicked around for getting the USPS into the virtual currency market. The agency's inspector general recently hosted a discussion on the Postal Service's potential role in the bitcoin market.

The USPS announced on Friday that it lost $354 million in the last three months of 2013, marking the 19th quarter of losses in the last 21.

Postal officials have said they’re examining a host of ways to firm up the agency’s finances, though many changes to the agency’s operations would have to be approved by Congress.

In addition to bitcoin, some liberals also are warming up to the idea of the post office offering more banking products, like prepaid cards or even small loans.

But Postmaster General Patrick Donahoe said his agency would be best served by sticking to what it knows best, calling the American banking system the best in the world.

“It’s an interesting area,” Donahoe said, specifically about bitcoin. “As we’ve stated publicly before, we feel that from a postal perspective our future lies in our core, and our core is delivery.”

Still, Donahoe didn’t totally shut the door on bitcoin, saying that there was still a lot to learn about the virtual currency market. According to Bloomberg, the USPS’s inspector general said any bitcoin plan for the agency would likely take years to develop.

“These are brand new ideas,” Donahoe said. “They’re interesting.”