The announcement was made by city director Pietro Poretti in a live-streamed event called “Lugano’s Plan ₿” on March 3. He was joined by Lugano Mayor Michele Foletti and CTO of Tether Paolo Ardoino.
The initiative is being backed by Tether Operations Limited, the firm behind the world’s largest stablecoin. In addition to Bitcoin and Tether (USDT), the LVGA points payment token will also be accepted as tender in the city.
A crypto future for Lugano
Following in the footsteps of El Salvador, the Swiss city plans to integrate crypto payments and allow citizens to pay for public service fees or taxes and tuition fees in BTC. Ardoino commented:
“El Salvador’s GDP increased by 10% and its tourism by 30% after declaring bitcoin a legal tender. Imagine what we can do in a city at the center of Europe.”
Part of the plan involves the development of a physical venue in the heart of the city to serve as a hub for crypto and blockchain startups. The Memorandum of Understanding between Lugano and Tether includes a number of initiatives in addition to the blockchain hub.
A multi-million dollar fund will be set up to help finance blockchain-based startups. Tether will also contribute its expertise and support to the city with a focus on education. Collaboration with local universities and research instituted will generate 500 scholarships for the immediate future, according to the announcement.
Green bitcoin mining
The venture will also focus on using environmentally friendly natural resources to power Bitcoin mining operations, allowing for the asset to become an accelerator for renewable energy development.
Michele Foletti, Mayor of Lugano, commented on previous innovative technology the city has implemented before adding:
“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.”
Lugano has already developed an EVM-compatible city blockchain called 3Achain, the MyLugano app, LVGA Points payment token, and the Lugano digital Franc. “We look forward to Lugano becoming a model for global adoption,” said Tether’s Ardoino.