Plans to leverage bitcoin technology as the foundation to transform the city’s financial infrastructure, brings crypto to 150 businesses throughout Lugano
March 3, 2023 — Tether Operations Limited (Tether), the company operating the blockchain-enabled platform tether.to that powers the first and most widely used stablecoin, and the City of Lugano today celebrated the one year anniversary of Plan ₿, an initiative to accelerate the use of and leverage bitcoin technology as the foundation to transform the city’s financial infrastructure.
On 3 March 2022, Plan ₿ officially launched with the objective of scaling Lugano’s blockchain capabilities and promoting the city as a major hub for European blockchain adoption. Kicking off the initiative, they announced that Bitcoin, Tether, and the city’s own LVGA tokens would be accepted as payment for taxes, parking tickets, public services, and tuition fees. The participating parties, which included a consortium of companies, also announced a fund of 100 million Swiss francs to support crypto startups and a fund of 3 million Swiss francs to assist Lugano shops and businesses with crypto adoption.
One year later, over 150 Lugano shops and businesses, including McDonalds, now accept Bitcoin, Tether, and LVGA in addition to fiat currency as payment for their goods and services.
To mark the culmination of a successful first year, Tether and the City of Lugano have also announced the launch of the Plan ₿ Business Hub to explore the potential of blockchain technology as it pertains to business, adoption, and the long term use of cryptocurrency in the region. The Hub will house 300+ blockchain experts and enthusiasts. Serving as a global point of reference in Lugano, it is designed to attract talent, encourage networking and knowledge sharing. The hub will also host a recreational space for meetups and workshops to further foster education and development.
“The goal of this collaboration is to make Lugano a center of excellence for blockchain technologies. In the first 12 months we have seen growing interest and Lugano is now definitely on the world map, alongside a handful of other destinations,” said Michele Foletti, Mayor of Lugano. “The strength of Lugano’s Plan ₿ is that it has been able to demonstrate real-world use of blockchain technologies by applying it practically to local communities in Lugano. Businesses of all sizes and scale have begun to leverage blockchain platforms to improve their processes and we are watching before our very eyes as Lugano becomes a model for the global adoption of cryptocurrency.”
Lugano has hosted numerous educational, networking, and outreach events that have drawn people from around the world to learn about and discuss the opportunities presented by blockchain technology and cryptocurrency adoption. This past year alone saw 86 students from 29 countries welcomed to the city for the first-ever Plan ₿ summer school, an intensive 2-week program taught by world-class experts on the business, regulatory, and technological implications of blockchain and Bitcoin. 500 student grants were also announced and will be made available to those wishing to further their education on blockchain technology within the summer school program. Tether and the City of Lugano are working together to provide additional grants to university students in the coming months.
In the 365 days since the launch of Plan ₿, Tether and the City of Lugano have carried out many initiatives with considerable success. The inaugural Plan ₿ forum was held and hosted in Lugano, which drew over 1,500 attendees. During the forum, over 1,000 transactions via #Bitcoin Lightning Network, close to 130 USD₮ transactions, and 200 LVGA transactions were completed. On a grander scale, Lugano placed the first-ever native digital bond based on blockchain technology on the SIX Digital Exchange (SDX), worth 100 million Swiss francs. It also joined a partnership with the Università della Svizzera Italiana (USI), University of Applied Sciences and Arts of Southern Switzerland (SUPSI), and Franklin University Switzerland (FUS) to sign a framework agreement to coordinate on current and future activities relating to blockchain.
“The idea of Plan ₿ began with a dream. What if there was a city that could lead Europe, and someday, the world, towards total financial democratization and crypto adoption? Today, in the one year since Plan ₿’s launch in the wonderful and innovative city of Lugano, that dream is much closer to reality,” said Paolo Ardoino, CTO of Tether. We are so proud of all of the progress we have made for financial freedom, from our numerous public events to the first annual Plan ₿ Forum, and the best is yet to come!”
Included in the 2023 calendar is the recently announced 2023 Plan ₿ forum in Lugano slated to take place on October 20-21, 2023, the second-annual Bitcoin forum focused on crypto and blockchain adoption. Tether will also continue its Plan ₿ summer school program with two sessions for 2023 in the spring and summer. Ticketing details for the second Plan ₿ forum to be held in October 2023 and other future Plan ₿ events can be found at https://planb.lugano.ch/planb-forum.
About Plan ₿
Lugano’s Plan ₿ is a joint initiative between the City of Lugano and Tether to accelerate the use of and leverage bitcoin technology as the foundation to transform the city’s financial infrastructure.
The plan will scale blockchain and Bitcoin throughout the city to positively impact all facets of daily life for the residents of Lugano. From small transactions with local merchants to larger efforts – such as paying annual taxes – blockchain will serve as the foundation for the city’s financial exchanges.
Driving the Future of Money
Tether supports and empowers growing ventures and innovation throughout the blockchain as a digital token built on multiple blockchains.