The city of Lugano, Switzerland, 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.
“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.
Plan ₿ involves the creation of a physical venue in the heart of the city to function as a hub for Bitcoin and blockchain startups interested in making the city their new home, as well as the go-to place for networking events and hosting Bitcoin meetups and workshops.
“El Salvador’s GDP increased by 10% and its tourism by 30% after declaring bitcoin a legal tender,” Ardoino said. “Imagine what we can do in a city at the center of Europe.”
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.
Plan ₿ also provisions the creation of two investment funds. The first will allocate up to $3.26 million to foster the adoption of bitcoin, USDT, and LVGA, the city’s stablecoin worth one-hundredth of a Swiss franc which will also be legal tender in Lugano. The second represents the formation of a pool of funds of up to $108.6 million for Bitcoin and blockchain startups that wish to relocate and set up their headquarters in the city as well as bring personnel to the Switzerland town.
Another aspect of Lugano’s Plan B involves a close relationship with academia. It plans to create a specialized curriculum on Bitcoin and Lightning in a partnership with local universities to increase the skills of young students in these new technologies. Bitcoin and blockchain education efforts will also include the creation of 500 student grants to create a skillful and specialized workforce.
In late October, the city of Lugano will host the Bitcoin World Forum, a global event focused on the acceleration of bitcoin adoption and the advocacy for freedom of expression, Ardoino and Poretti announced in the event.
The speakers also announced the intention to have Lugano start mining bitcoin as Plan ₿ researches strategies the city could leverage to employ renewable energy sources to yield BTC.