Swiss city to adopt bitcoin as legal tender

Lugano will allow people to pay for goods and services using cryptocurrency

Anthony Cuthbertson
Monday 07 March 2022 16:33 GMT
Bitcoin will be legal tender in Lugano alongside the Swiss Franc
Bitcoin will be legal tender in Lugano alongside the Swiss Franc (Getty Images)

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A city in Switzerland is hoping to make bitcoin and two other cryptocurrencies “de facto” legal tender in an attempt to become Europe’s bitcoin capital.

Lugano, which has a population of just over 62,000, partnered with stablecoin issuer Tether to push the move through, making it possible to buy goods and services using bitcoin, Tether and Lugano’s own LVGA Points token.

It is already possible to pay for taxes using cryptocurrency in several municipalities in Switzerland.

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The initiative was announced at a “Plan B” event last week, hosted by Lugano Mayor Michele Foletti, who said it would also serve as a “beacon for green financing” by using environmentally-friendly methods to power bitcoin mining.

“Lugano is investing in its future. In recent years, the city has already implemented blockchain-based solutions including the MyLugano app and its LVGA Points payment token, the Lugano digital franc and the 3Achain blockchain infrastructure,” said Mayor Foletti.

“We strongly believe in this technology, the potential to scale the technology – and our integrated collaboration with Tether – will build a better and more open, transparent and smart city.”

Paolo Ardoino, who serves as Tether’s chief technology officer, added: “As the world’s largest stablecoin, we envision a future where businesses of all sizes and scale are able to leverage blockchain platforms to improve the quality of life of local citizens providing more sustainable, transparent, and reliable financial and day-to-day services. We look forward to Lugano becoming a model for global adoption.”

The introduction of bitcoin as a legal form of tender follows a similar move last year by El Salvador, which became the first – and still the only – country in the world to officially adopt bitcoin as a currency.

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