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Zug, Switzerland Accepts Bitcoin For Public Services

Steve McCaskill is editor of TechWeekEurope and ChannelBiz. He joined as a reporter in 2011 and covers all areas of IT, with a particular interest in telecommunications, mobile and networking, along with sports technology.

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Swiss city trials Bitcoin payments of up to £143 as part of wider trial to see how digital currencies can stimulate finance sector

Citizens and businesses in the city of Zug, capital of the eponymous canton in central Switzerland, will be able to pay for public services up to the value of 200 Swiss Francs (£143) in Bitcoin as part of a trial to see how the use digital currencies can promote the region’s Fintech sector.

If the pilot is successful, the use of Bitcoin could be expanded in terms of the maximum transaction permitted and into other towns in the canton, which attracts many international businesses because of its low tax rate.

The city claims that the ‘Crypto Valley’ of Zug has more than 15 companies working in the digital financial sector and hopes to work with the industry going forward.

Bitcoin Zug

Zug Switzerland 3 © Steve McCaskillMany of the companies attracted to the favourable business climate work in the wider financial sector, such as banking and insurance. Switzerland’s banking industry as a whole is famous worldwide.

“We want to express our openness to new technologies,” said Mayor Dolfi Müller. “We will invite FinTech companies in Zug to meet with the City Council to exchange ideas. Our goal is to provide the best environment for their development.”

Bitcoin has become the world’s most commonly used virtual currency, and its underlying technologies have attracted interest in the worlds of finance, technology and government. The identity of its creator, the mysterious Satoshi Nakamoto, has remained a secret, with sceptics placing significant doubt on the claim of Australian Craig Wright.

The UK government has indicated that it could use Bitcoin going forward, signalling support for the underlying technology that underpins such transactions.

Cabinet Office Minister and paymaster general Matthew Hancock MP said Whitehall is looking in to how blockchain technology could be used to manage and keep track of the distribution of public money, such as grants and student loans.

This is despite the Bank of England raising its suspicions about Bitcoin last year, warning that the digital currency could pose a threat to financial stability in the UK should it see widespread adoption.

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