Lugano, Switzerland to make Bitcoin and Tether ‘de facto’ legal tender

    05 Mar 2022

    Aiming to become Europe’s Bitcoin capital, Lugano, Switzerland, has formed a partnership with stablecoin issuer Tether to establish Bitcoin, Tether, and Lugano’s own LVGA Points token as essentially legal tender in the city. Lugano will also ‘roll the red carpet’ for Bitcoin and blockchain businesses and enthusiasts to relocate to the city.

    The Swiss city of Lugano will make Bitcoin legal tender and allow citizens to pay for public service fees or taxes in Bitcoin, city director Pietro Poretti co-announced in an event livestreamed on Thursday alongside mayor Michele Foletti and CTO of Tether Paolo Ardoino. The city has already worked with over 200 merchants to propel the adoption of Bitcoin and Lightning payments.

    The move goes far beyond the actions of a number of other Swiss localities that for some time have been accepting crypto for tax payments. Somewhat similar to El Salvador, Lugano – in addition to allowing crypto for taxes – is aiming to have all of its businesses seamlessly use crypto for everyday transactions (in El Salvador, only Bitcoin qualifies).

    “This is probably the most important thing of this project,” Ardoino said, referring to “Plan ₿,” a city initiative being sketched and worked in collaboration with Tether to attract wealth, smart minds, and opportunities. Tether’s stablecoin USDT will also become a legal tender in the city.

    At Thursday’s “Plan ₿” event, which was hosted by Lugano’s mayor, Michele Foletti, the move was described as a “de facto” legalization, as the Swiss franc will surely remain the actual legal tender in Lugano and elsewhere in Switzerland.

    Poretti said the city would “roll the red carpet” for Bitcoin businesses and enthusiasts, welcoming visitors and prospect relocators with a business-friendly environment featuring minimized bureaucracy and the ideal conditions for a company to thrive.

    Also announced at Plan ₿ were plans for the Bitcoin World Forum to be held in Lugano on October 26-28.

    Switzerland’s ninth-largest city with a population of just over 62,000, Lugano is in the Italian-speaking southern part of the country.

    Last September, El Salvador became the first country to adopt Bitcoin as legal tender, despite the risks that this radical monetary experiment could pose to the emerging economy.

    Digital money is now recognized by a nation-state as lawful monetary tender in the country, being put in the same national status as the US dollar in El Salvador. Starting today, any Salvadoran will have the legal option to use Bitcoin instead of dollars.

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