The Swiss town of Lugano has decided to accept bitcoin and some other cryptocurrencies as legal tender
According to the Mayor of Lugano Michele Foletti, Bitcoin (BTC), Tether (USDT), and the LVGA Points token will be recognized as de-facto currencies.
At a conference in Lugano, the news was revealed, where Lugano’s key personalities discussed the consequences of the progressive decision with Paolo Ardoino, Tether’s CTO.
Bitcoin and USDT are now legal tenders in Lugano, Switzerland
The decision to accept Bitcoin and Tether as legal tender has taken 18 months, according to Pietro Poretti, the city’s director. The city started experimenting with blockchain technology and cryptocurrency payments in late 2020 by launching a loyalty program called LVGA, which is based on its own points token.
Lugano launched its own Proof-of-Authority blockchain in 2018, which was used to conduct all transactions made with the LVGA token.
El Salvador’s decision to make Bitcoin a de-facto currency last September may have accelerated the country’s choice to accept it as legal tender, according to several of the panelists.
According to Poretti, the decision to make cryptocurrencies legal money was motivated by Lugano’s history of adopting cutting-edge technologies:
“Lugano is the economic capital of southern Switzerland and has always been a leader in the creation of new opportunities.”
The city invested in Tether and declared USDT, its proprietary stablecoin, to be legal currency alongside Bitcoin in order to expedite its trip to adopt blockchain:
“Collaborating with a company the caliber of Tether is a magnet that will attract more companies to come to Lugano.”
If the businesses do decide to come to Lugano, they will be eligible for a lucrative incentive package that the city was able to negotiate thanks to Tether’s assistance.
Tether announced a deal with the city of Lugano to establish a $100 million incentive fund for firms that relocate their offices and personnel to the region. Tether will also assist in the creation of a large startup center in Lugano’s downtown that will welcome companies from all around the world.
Ardoino said Polygon will support the stablecoin payments, as well as other enterprise needs, in Lugano, Switzerland. After Ethereum, Polygon is Tether’s second-largest network for issuing USDT stablecoins. The new deal will allow Polygon to offer low-cost, high-transaction settlements for all USDT transactions in the Swiss city.
This will be especially significant given the scale of crypto adoption Lugano is expecting to achieve.
According to Poretti, the public sector has already begun utilizing cryptocurrency payments. Citizens are able to pay virtually all public services in cryptocurrencies, including personal and municipal taxes, naturalization fees, access to public infrastructure, and document issuance costs.
— Paolo Ardoino (@paoloardoino) March 3, 2022
In addition, private organizations are anticipated to follow suit. Poretti stated that over 200 firms have already put in place the infrastructure needed to take payments in BTC, USDT, and LVGA. On a monthly basis, approximately 5,000 people of Lugano made payments to these firms using the city’s LVGA payment token.
Lugano, with a population of around 60,000 people, will face a significant labor shortage if it is able to attract even a fraction of the startups it expects to move there. Ardoino addressed this issue, stating that Tether and Bitfinex have started working with Lugano’s three major universities to increase blockchain and cryptocurrency-related education.
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The two firms are collaborating with academics to develop blockchain education programs that will enable universities to produce a well-informed workforce knowledgeable in blockchain technology. Ardoino also stated that the companies have set aside money for 500 scholarships, which will be given to students majoring in blockchain and cryptocurrency studies:
“This isn’t a marketing ploy, It’s a set of concrete steps to make Lugano the blockchain capital of the world.”