Swiss city of Lugano announces a center of excellence for blockchain adoption in Europe.
The City of Lugano, Switzerland, and Tether Operations Limited Commit to Building a Center of Excellence for Blockchain Adoption in Europe. Collaboration Aims to Drive City-wide Blockchain Adoption and Allow Citizens to Pay Annual Taxes and City Services in Bitcoin, Tether and Selected CHF-Based stablecoins.
The goal of this collaboration is to demonstrate real-world use of blockchain technologies by applying it practically to local communities in Lugano.
To date, most blockchain projects have focused on foundational efforts that give little attention to local communities and deliver practical applications.
The city is home to several innovative initiatives, including the Lugano Living Lab, which implement projects in the innovation and digital fields through experimentation and prototyping on an urban scale. Lugano’s ecosystem allows Tether to stretch beyond most current blockchain implementations and work hand-in-hand with Lugano for the first full-scale urban practical use case. The application in Lugano will be exhibited through localized services with tailored use cases that can reduce infrastructure costs and expand accessibility to global markets.
In the near future, the city aims to scale its efforts to enable citizens and companies to fully pay their annual taxes and all goods and services in cryptocurrency.
Formal approvals were obtained for only Bitcoin, Tether, and select CHF-based stablecoins to be accepted for such payments, whereby funds will be converted in local FIAT currency via different service providers. This move makes Lugano one of the first in the world to implement a full cryptocurrency payment economy.
The City of Lugano will begin working with Tether and other service providers to help local businesses integrate their existing payment services with the permitted stablecoins to ensure the technological infrastructure is in place to support this.
Lightning Network will be one of the solutions that the City, with the support of Tether, will integrate into the services. Lightning Network has grown to become a prominent, highly scalable and robust payment system overcoming scalability obstacles associated with the blockchain without surrendering security, trustlessness, or privacy.
Lugano and Tether’s Memorandum of Understanding
Lugano and Tether signed a memorandum of understanding which launches a strategic collaboration through several initiatives, including a centrally located specialized hub hosting companies and startups and acting as catalyst for everything related to blockchain to facilitate their establishment and daily operations.
A group of prominent companies in the crypto industry led by Tether, will create a multi-million dollar fund to help finance blockchain based startup companies focused on building blockchain services in the region. Additionally, Tether will contribute its expertise, knowledge and support to the City focusing on the education of the new generations through collaborations with local universities and research institutes (500 scholarships will be made available in the immediate future).
The initiative will also serve as a beacon of green financing. The joint effort will focus on using natural resources and environmentally friendly alternatives to power bitcoin mining, allowing for bitcoin to act as a strong accelerator for renewable energy development. This will be another example of how a city, investing in Bitcoin, can use the proceeds of mining to re-invest in the growth of local infrastructure.
“Lugano is investing in its future,” said Michele Foletti, Mayor of Lugano. “In recent years, the city has already implemented blockchain-based solutions including the MyLugano app and its LVGA Points payment token, the Lugano digital franc and the 3Achain blockchain infrastructure. 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 is a vibrant city, filled with innovators and future-forward thinkers,” said Paolo Ardoino, CTO at Tether. “As the world’s largest stablecoin, we envision a future where businesses of all sizes and scale are able to leverage blockchain platforms to improve the quality of life of local citizens providing more sustainable, transparent, and reliable financial and day-to-day services. We look forward to Lugano becoming a model for global adoption.”
This is the latest development of a process started by Lugano over one year ago with concrete actions aimed at positioning itself as the destination of choice in a rapidly growing sector. In addition to the already mentioned LVGA Points local payment system, Lugano developed a city blockchain, 3Achain, EVM compatible, which already counts about thirty partners across the most important public and private companies in Switzerland, as well as a number of blockchain related events open to the public in the fall of 2021.
Bitcoin World Forum
The City also announced an October 2022 event, titled Bitcoin World Forum, which will promote deep conversation around freedom of communication and finance. This event will delve into topics such as disintermediation of finance, accessibility of financial services, unbanked persons, and regulation. Tether will support the conference by bringing the industry’s foremost thought leaders and creators from the world of digital finance together for collaboration and networking.