The Swiss city of Lugano has announced plans to create the Blockchain capital of Europe.
The Swiss city will partner with Tether, the company behind the world’s largest stablecoin by market cap, to allow citizens and companies to pay for goods and services as well as their annual tax bill using Bitcoin and a handful of stablecoins. Today’s decision is the latest sign that Lugano, which has already established a native Franc-based stablecoin, is seeking to position itself as a crypto hub for Europe.
At a launch event today Michele Foletti, the mayor of Lugano described the move as a “de facto” legalisation of crypto.
“Lugano is investing in its future,” said Foletti in a statement. “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,” Foletti added.
The pilot scheme aims to illustrate a real-world use case for blockchain technologies with a view to expanding accessibility to global markets.
“Lugano is a vibrant city, filled with innovators and future-forward thinkers,” said Paolo Ardoino, the chief technology officer at Tether, who added that the company envisions a future where “businesses of all sizes and scale are able to leverage blockchain platforms.”
Tether has been at the centre of a controversy in recent months following questions over the location of its reserve funds. While each stablecoin issued by Tether is supposed to be backed by a dollar, the company has been accused of lending out reserve funds.
Tether, which releases details of its reserves on a quarterly basis and refutes the claims its stablecoin is unbacked, was fined $41m by the US financial regulator in October 2021.