A panel at the PlanB conference in Lugano on Oct. 20 focused on efforts to drive Bitcoin (BTC) adoption in the city.
The panel included Mayor of Lugano Michele Foletti, Tether and Bitfinex CTO Paolo Ardoino and other leaders involved in PlanB — an initiative launched in September 2021 to make Lugano a hub for Bitcoin and blockchain innovation.
The panel highlighted the progress that has been made over the past two years in educating and onboarding both businesses and individuals in Lugano onto Bitcoin and blockchain technology. This includes educational summits, workshops, and a PlanB Summer School that brought together students from 30 countries to learn about Bitcoin.
The city has also launched a Bitcoin-pegged stablecoin called Lugano (LUGA) that can be used for payments at over 350 merchants around the city. Approximately 20 percent of Lugano’s population has an active Lugano wallet. The city government will also begin accepting tax payments in Bitcoin starting Dec. 1.
Looking ahead, the panel announced $50 million in dedicated startup funding that will be allocated across various cryptocurrency and blockchain focused areas. This includes pools for Bitcoin core development, Lightning Network development, and a Public Initiatives Fund for local public-oriented projects.
The panel also revealed plans for a 16-office blockchain hub and co-working space in central Lugano slated to open in March 2024. This will provide a centralized home for companies, developers, and entrepreneurs in the space.
In closing, leaders emphasized Lugano’s commitment to becoming a model city for cryptocurrency and blockchain innovation. The next PlanB conference marking the 3rd anniversary of the initiative’s launch will take place in October 2024.