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McDonald’s Accepting Bitcoin and Tether in Swiss City of Lugano

By Arthur Crowson10/24/2022

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One of the most crypto-friendly places in Western Europe continues to experiment with cryptocurrencies as legal tender.

The city of Lugano in Switzerland continues to push forward mainstream crypto adoption for its citizens, having already signed a memorandum of understanding with Tether earlier in the year. McDonald’s, along with a dozen other businesses such as art galleries in Lugano, are now able to accept Bitcoin, Tether, and LVGA, the official local payment token of the city. The move is through Plan B Foundation, a joint initiative between the Tether and the city of Lugano. It aims to enable more than 2,500 businesses within the city to accept the three aforementioned cryptocurrencies by the end of 2023.

“Earlier this year, Lugano and Tether signed a memorandum of understanding to launch a strategic collaboration through several initiatives, including to help local businesses integrate their existing payment services with the permitted stablecoins and Bitcoin,” – Paolo Ardoino, CTO of Tether.

Lugano Becoming European Crypto Haven

In collaboration with GoCrypto, a global crypto & card payment infrastructure company, the city of Lugano has set the stage for it to be a go-to crypto destination by the end of 2023. The city’s initial deal with Tether in March 2022 was just another step in the city’s crypto-friendly nature. In November 2021, the city hosted Lugano NFT Week, which included art galleries for NFT art, events, and dedicated workshops. The March 2022 agreement also allowed citizens to begin paying their taxes with Tether USD (USDT).

The newest step, adding Bitcoin acceptance through the Lightning Network, is just the first of many planned for the city. Bitcoin, along with LVGA and Tether, are now considered to be legal tender in Lugano, meaning citizens will be able to use any of the cryptocurrencies to do everything from buying goods to paying their taxes once all the infrastructure is in place. As it stands, there are over a dozen businesses in the city that can now accept USDT and BTC through GoCrypto, with taxes always being able to be paid in the 3 currencies.

LVGA – The Token of Lugano

Being able to use Bitcoin and Tether at McDonald’s is great, but Lugano has another experiment in place with their LVGA token. Found within the MyLugano app (which contains a digital wallet), LVGA is a token that is pegged at a fixed rate to the Swiss Franc (CHF), with 100 LVGA being equal to 1 CHF. 

LVGA is not sold through any exchanges, it can be bought within the MyLugano app, but its main incentive is as a rewards program. When residents use their MyLugano Card, which is essentially a membership card for residents, at businesses in Lugano, they potentially access promos and get discounts. The greater incentive however, is the 10% cashback in LVGA. The MyLugano Pass, for tourists, gives 5% back.

The token can only be used within the Lugano circuit and also has an expiry date, incentivizing holders to spend their LVGA and therefore stimulate the local economy. Lugano is not the only city in Switzerland that is accepting crypto, and it’s just the first of likely many places to take cryptocurrencies seriously.

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Arthur Crowson

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