Swiss City of Lugano to Make Bitcoin and Tether 'De Facto' Legal Tender

The municipality wants businesses to accept crypto in everyday transactions.

Mar 3, 2022 at 5:43 p.m. UTC
Updated Mar 8, 2022 at 9:55 p.m. UTC

Stephen Alpher is CoinDesk's co-regional news chief, Americas. He holds BTC and ETH above CoinDesk’s disclosure threshold of $1,000.

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.

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).

At Thursday's "Plan B" 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.

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

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

UPDATE (March 3, 18:20 UTC): Added additional details of the event in third graph.

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Stephen Alpher is CoinDesk's co-regional news chief, Americas. He holds BTC and ETH above CoinDesk’s disclosure threshold of $1,000.

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Stephen Alpher is CoinDesk's co-regional news chief, Americas. He holds BTC and ETH above CoinDesk’s disclosure threshold of $1,000.

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